You Asked for It, You Got It: More Pet Peeves
It’s pet peeve time! Here are more of mine; I’ll never run out of “ammunition.”
1. Impact and effect/affect. When making references to influence, “effect” (the noun) or “affect” (the verb) are more appropriate than “impact.” The latter should be reserved to describe forceful contact–something physical.
Right: The California vote isn’t likely to affect the presidential election.
Right: The effect of the California vote is rather limited.
Right: The impact of the hit resulted in a concussion.
2. It and they. A company should be referred to as an “it,” not a “they.”
Right: Apple will release its latest earnings report soon.
Wrong: Apple will release their latest earnings report soon.
3. Acronym misuse. Using acronyms, like MLB instead of Major League Baseball, is a way to shorten copy and make it easier to read. You must define acronyms the first time they’re used in a document–i.e., Major League Baseball (MLB)–but after that, the acronym alone suffices. Also, remember what acronyms stand for, so you don’t inadvertently “stutter” by repeating words contained within them.
Right: Once again, my Cubs didn’t even come close to participating in the MLB playoffs.
Wrong: Once again, my Cubs didn’t even come close to participating in the MLB baseball playoffs.
4. Unnecessary capitalization. This is an oldie but a goodie. Proper nouns require capitalization; “ordinary” words don’t. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had clients tell me they like to capitalize words to emphasize them. That’s just wrong.
Right: Do you wonder what our Founding Fathers would think of our country today?
Wrong: Do you wonder what our Founding Fathers would think of our Country today?
What are your pet peeves? Send them to me, and perhaps you’ll see them in a future issue of The Write Stuff.
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