Things you should know about and
You likely use this conjunction countless times in a day, since it’s a handy way to connect words or introduce an additional comment. But are you making mistakes when you use and? Here are a few things you may not be aware of.
And or as well as
The phrase as well as does have its place, but it’s often used in instances where and is the better choice.
Wrong: My usual pet store order includes treats, dental chews as well as dog food.
Better: My usual pet store order includes treats and dental chews as well as dog food.
Best: My usual pet store order includes treats, dental chews and dog food.
And or &
An ampersand (&) should never replace and in content.
Wrong: My nephew has traveled to Berlin, Brussels & Prague during his semester abroad in Copenhagen.
Right: My nephew has traveled to Berlin, Brussels and Prague during his semester abroad in Copenhagen.
It is appropriate to use an ampersand in company names, e.g., AT&T, and abbreviations like R&D.
Punctuation around and
You may choose to use the Oxford (or serial) comma or omit it, depending on your style preference. Just be consistent.
Right: My niece’s wardrobe is primarily white, black and gray.
Right: My niece’s wardrobe is primarily white, black, and gray.
When using and in the middle of a clause, however, the comma usually goes before it:
Wrong: Cubbie is usually by my side and, like most dogs, he doesn’t like to be alone.
Right: Cubbie is usually by my side, and like most dogs, he doesn’t like to be alone.
And although you might have been taught it’s wrong to begin a sentence with and—times have changed. It’s perfectly okay to begin sentences with and, but, or and so, despite what your middle school English teacher told you.
There—another Word miscue
Paying attention to the spell/grammar check when you work in Microsoft Word is a solid practice, but that doesn’t mean you should do everything it suggests. For example, when I recently wrote, “We don’t anticipate there being any issues,” I noticed the ol’ red dotted line under there. What was the suggestion? Use they’re or their instead. Oh my. Neither would be correct. All I can say is be careful out there.
Apostrophes 101: replacing letters
Which do you prefer—luck of the Irish or luck o’ the Irish? Seems like a good question to ask this week. In business writing, you’re seldom going to see apostrophes used in place of a letter, but it’s accepted in less formal content. Remember to always use a proper apostrophe to replace letters or numbers, not a single left quotation mark (which curves the opposite way when you use curly/smart quotes).