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Rule of thumb: When in doubt, spell it out. 1. Business firms: Abbreviate Bros., Co., Corp., Inc., Ltd. Do not place a coma before Inc. or Ltd. Warner Bros., Brown Implement Co., Leather Ltd., Smith & Co. Inc. 2. Christmas: Never use Xmas. 3. Colleges: When abbreviating the names of colleges and universities, do not use periods: PSU, UO, OSU, WSU, UCLA, PCC, MHCC, ND. Capitalize when part of a proper name: Dartmouth College, the University of Notre Dame. 4. College exams: When abbreviating the name of college exams, do not use periods: ACT, SAT. 5. Curriculum: physical education, not P.E. or phys. Ed.; home economics, not home ec. 6. Days of the week: Never abbreviate these. Monday, not Mon. 7. Huntley High School: HHS can be used for Huntley High School, but be careful of overuse in copy and headlines. 8. Measurements: Use figures and spell out words such as inches, feet, yards, etc. to indicate depth, height, length and width: He is 5 feet 6 inches tall. Hyphenate compound adjectives before nouns: the 5-foot-6-inch man; the 5-foot man; the car is 17 feet long, 6 feet wide, and 5 feet high; the storm left 5 inches of snow. 9. Money: Use the $ and decimal system for amounts larger than one dollar: $1.01, $2.50. Omit zeroes and decimal point when sums are whole: $1, $5, $200. Spell out the word cents, using numerals for amounts less than a dollar: 45 cents (not $.45, 45 cts., forty five cents). 10. Months: Months of the year should be abbreviated when used with specific dates: Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec. The date is always given in figures (Jan. 3) not other forms (Jan. 3rd, Jan. third). Do not, however, abbreviate the months of March, April, May, June, July. . .they're short already. 11. Ordinal numbers: Spell out and capitalize First through Ninth when used as street names; use figures with two letters for 10th and above: 2125 Second Ave., 102nd and Division. 12. Organizations: The proper name of an organization is always written out on first reference. The title of such an organization may be abbreviated - without periods - on second reference and thereafter if it will be clearly understood by readers. Do not follow an organization’s full name with an abbreviation or acronym in parentheses or set off by dashes. Abbreviate, without periods, if clearly understood: FFA, FTA, NAACP, ACLU, VICA, PTA, FBI, CIA, NISPA (Northern Illinois Scholastic Press Association), NSPA (National Scholastic Press Association), EIHSPA (Eastern Illinois High School Press Association), JEA (Journalism Education Association). 13. Percent: one word-45 percent, not 45 per cent. 14. Points of compass: Abbreviate when used with specific street number: 2103 E. Randolph Circle. Do not abbreviate if the number is omitted: East Randolph Circle. 15. States: Abbreviate when preceded by the name of a city, thus: Los Angeles, Calif., but spell out when used alone such as California, Colorado, Florida, etc. Do not use postal abbreviations to identify states. The state name is
NOTE II: How do you remember all of these rules? One rule of thumb is this: If something is specific. N. “I love home ec. Washington is not specific. Mass. N. Mich. Iowa.. Hawaii. But with straight up reporting/paraphrasing.. or U. Wash. or when referring to unfamiliar cities outside the home state.m. Gov.they are usually OK. Red Raiders. Air Force. just an s. lieutenant. NOTE IV: With acronyms (for example WMD for “weapons of mass destruction” or CD for “compact disc”) don’t use an apostrophe when you are using a plural.C. leave their words alone. etc. AP tests. “My father served in the Navy for 12 years.it is just a general street location. representative. editor. Vt.m. . Idaho. D. senator. is used. Athletic teams: Redskins.S. N. only when used with a numbered address. Lions. try to stay away from them. Main Street is not specific. advanced placement class (lowercase because it is not the official title). United States: Spell it out when used as a noun. Md.). Va. Time of day: 7 a. if Brenda Barton says. B. He lived on Sanchez Street. N. or Utah.m. La. abbreviate it. Kan. Ga. For example: Address abbreviations: 314 Main St. . it is not necessary to say in the morning or afternoon or evening. 13719 Harmony Road. Ore. Gen. is a specific city in a state. 2:10 a. Advanced Placement Program: AP. NOTE III: With all of these abbreviation rules. Miss. Capitalization Capitalize each of the following: 1.H. . governor. Nev. Del . Also in columns. you have a certain voice. St. Marine Corps should be capitalized. Blvd.S. Okla.. Advanced Placement English. Use these abbreviations: Ala. Street addresses: Abbreviate Ave.N. Use U. Terrace. – ret. Minn. . Gordon Smith. remember that if a person says something and you directly quote him/her. S. Lendon Smith. Wash.needed when the city has the same name as another city (such as Vancouver. Road. Conn. Dan Pitney. Mo.Y. Don’t change it to “home economics”. Dr. .M. U. Ky. N.m.S. principal. don’t. Rep. Va. Demons.. She picked up three CDs at the store. Ambassador.J.C. Fla. Do not abbreviate Alaska. 18.it’s a state. Omit zeros from even times and never used the word o’clock unless quoting someone. the Rev. John Kitzhaber. 19. For example.S. 2. . Carla Peragine. .. Do not abbreviate or capitalize titles which follow names: Ron Wyden. When a.A. Ill. Ind. NOTE: Do not use contractions (won’t. N. Dave Johnson.A. . General Assembly. Neb. doctor. Ark. Pa.m. Wis. Quotations are one exception to the rule. 17. and Vancouver. Navy. couldn’t.C. Calif. If it is general. Texas. 2 . is a specific address. shouldn’t) in most cases. 10 p. (They’re already short) 16. R.D. U. Colo. Wash. State abbreviations: Seattle. Mont.” said Smith. Tex. Elizabeth Furse. Titles: Abbreviate only the titles senator. 3. When you write a column. with periods when used as a modifier and as parts of military titles: U. 706 Sanchez St.it changes the nature of what she says.. Wyo. one that could lend itself to the use of contractions.I.no ‘s at the end. S. Ohio. Drive. Maine. Lane.C. Tenn.” leave her quotation alone. All similar words are always spelled out: Circle. and the reverend before a full name: Sen. W. .D. or p. Armed forces: Army. See. Thomas Jones. Ariz. .
The Prom was a huge success. Nationalities: Chinese. 20. Geographic regions: Capitalize these words (North. Colleges and universities: Capitalize formal names of schools and departments of colleges and universities. principal. spell it out: JV baseball. Hispanics. Dave Johnson. 21. Journalist of the Year. Ski Club. 27. Bill of Rights. Christian. Class of 2009. Holy Spirit. Junior Varsity: Capitalize and do not use periods when using as a modifier. But. Fine Arts Department. Science Department. and adjectives used to designate the Supreme Being in any monotheistic religion: God. JV football. 25. Instead use the Jewish man went to the synagogue. Roman and Norse mythology and deities of polytheistic religions. 31. 5.S. Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints. Regions: The names of specific regions are capitalized: Pacific Northwest. National Honor Society. He. Holidays: Christmas. Titles: Capitalize specific titles preceding and attached to a name. Dances: Capitalize dance titles. Indian. “The show took place in the auditorium. She is a junior. Judaism. Buildings: Florida Theater. French Club. Allah. Him (denoting the deity). Mary's Church. Alex Albanese. 32. Turnbull Building. Pep Club. but use lowercase when used to identify individuals. especially Homecoming and Prom. Asian-American. Clubs and organizations: Capitalize the names of clubs and organizations: Speech Team. Islam. Declaration of Independence. the school board. Thanksgiving Day. Northeast. George Bush. etc.) and the nouns referring to their believers (Roman Catholic. National Merit Scholar Finalist. personal typing. Committees: Capitalize official titles of school committees: Handbook Committee. Kinnick Stadium. 22. or cee-dee. Business Expo: This weekend. 18. Huntley School Board (but "school board"). I am from the South. 17. House. Course titles: Capitalize only the proper name for a class. Jewish person. Legislature (even thought not preceded by a state name). pronouns. U. district and school governing bodies: Senate. Fox Valley Conference 15. Magazines: Life. 16. algebra class. JV volleyball. Geometry. specific courts. identify a person's origin by geopolitical area and/or nationality: African-American. Do not capitalize when used as compass directions. Otherwise. The Roman Catholic Church. Classes: Capitalize official class names. 13. Internet: Always uppercase. governmental agencies. but use lowercase when informal names are used: School of Music (but "music school"). sophomore English. Deity: Capitalize nouns. but.” 7. Assistant 3 . Board of education: Capitalize as part of a formal name: the District 158 Board of Education. Newsweek. Constitution and State Constitution). Newspapers: article “the” may be capitalized if it is in the name – The Voice. Snow fell on the Northeast. Church: Capitalize as part of the formal name of a building. His. English IVH. Passover. 28. use “district” when not with the specific district’s name. When it is relevant. Huntley Public Schools. Native-American. Race: Do not refer to race unless it is relevant to the story. 30. Lowercase in other uses: The pope says the church opposes abortion. Most Valuable Player. It was important to the district. 23. 19. South) when they designate regions: Pacific Northwest.S. not cd. but lowercase a title if it follows a name or stands by itself: President George Bush. president. Midwest. If in doubt. Mormon. Prom Committee. Mexican-American. Principal Dave Johnson. titles: Teacher of the Year. Southwest. hundreds of businesses participated in the Huntley Business Expo. Conferences: Capitalize the name of conferences. 26. Religions: Capitalize the names of specific churches (Roman Catholic Church. Muslim. Departments of high schools: Capitalize formal names of high school departments (do not abbreviate the word "department"): English Department. Time. 24. etc. Awards. Grievance Committee. Government bodies: Capitalize congressional committees.4. consult the course catalogue: Computer Applications. Supreme Court. 14. Compact Disc: CD. Lowercase gods and goddesses in references to Greek. Graduation Committee. a congregation or a denomination: St. District name: Huntley High School is a part of District 158.) NOTE: Avoid using the word Jew as a singular noun. 6. as in JV team. Department of Zoology (but "zoology department"). Quill and Scroll. Lowercase school board unless it is the proper name: the District 158 School Board. Irish. Spanish Club (but "the club"). 11. 12. cabinet positions. 8. I traveled south. 9. 10. European-American. 29. She is a member of the Junior Class. Documents: Constitution (referring to the U. but the board of education. Illinois State Scholars.
Do not capitalize: 1. red. senate. custodian Trace Good. unless you are quoting someone who said it (“I love Mr.spring break isn't really a formal event. yellow. or Mr. Coach Steve Raethz. Jake Sanches. 18. 33. student council. John Burkey. . varsity soccer team. High school or middle school. white. so don't capitalize it). Race: Do not refer to race unless it is relevant to the story. Superintendent John Burkey. .” 10. Sports teams: basketball team. Senior Class.. Varsity: Do not capitalize varsity unless it is part of a proper name: It was an exciting moment for Varsity Rally. 9. Graduation: She attended her graduation. junior varsity soccer team. Titles: when they are preceded by a person’s name – David Johnson.Principal Sharon Hartman.” said Jones). NOTE: Do not capitalize false titles or occupational titles: day laborer James Delaney. such as in quotes. not AM or PM. When the votes were counted. Board of Education: As mentioned above. a course in speech. unless it is used with District 158. . capitalize it: The baseball team finished first in the Deerfield Regional Tournament. and the junior varsity football team. Regionals/sectionals: The baseball team placed first in their regional. lower case in all instances except when the title precedes the name. Smith. Otherwise. when used with individual names as identification. unless they are specific course titles: algebra. Time: a. Mrs. the varsity basketball team. superintendent of District 158 (name of the district is capitalized). southpaw Pete Gomez. Huntley High School Student Council. 5. “They came to the high school later. Subjects. Identification 1. teacher Rochelle Hewlett. attorney John Smith. 12. “The president left for Israel. 15. Spring Fling. Classes: senior. the East. Salutatorian: Marcia Jones was named Valedictorian of the class. . Trade names: brand names – Scotch tape. 16. use the person’s full name followed by his/her job 4 . If the name of the tournament is used. except when referring to specific geographical regions such as Southwestern United States. coach. American and Spanish should be spelled out though because they are nationalities as well as courses. In general.” 19. Lowercase colors when they refer to race. Editor Cassie Myers. Steve Raethz. Degrees when spelled out: bachelor of arts degree. and in the case of the President of the United States. 6. such as Winter Ball.” but “President Bush signed the bill. baseball team. Ms. master's degree. but Speech I (it’s the name of a specific class). however. unless with the name of the school.” said Smith. English. etc. District office: She has worked in the district office for five years. Governmental bodies: when not used specifically-student body. 3.. west. Points on a compass: east. 11. but Phoenix City Council. 14. counselor Pat Olsen-McGee. Coca-Cola. do not use Miss.m. junior Joe Bright. Valedictorian. Seasons: spring. Directions: Seattle is north of Portland. 13. but prefer geopolitical area of nationality: black. 8. editor. principal. “I hope to add accountability to the board of education. the referendum had passed. junior. winter (unless part of a formal name.m. or p. don’t cap this. Adviser Dennis Brown. Referendum. 4. but Junior Class. 34. Dr Pepper.he’s such a good teacher. 17. Editorial Board: She has served on the editorial board for three years. 2. city council. 7.
except for casual references. Auxiliary adjectives: 10-pound. the Red Raiders defeated the Hawks 6-5. afternoon or evening. Winds of 7 to 9 knots are expected. not 9. Today it was 50 degrees. 10. Weights and measures: The baby weighed 8 pounds. figures and decimals as necessary. not March 9th or ninth of March.m. Measurements: Use figures. it is unnecessary to refer to morning. 2. and spell out the words inches.or title. Dad please give me a dollar. She is worth exactly $2. Addresses: Use figures in numbered addresses. Spell out and capitalize First through Ninth as street names. one man in a thousand. 45 cars..0 percent. use figures for 10th and above. Linda Jones. . . Expressions: A committee of one hundred. such as their class. 4 cents. refer to that person using his/her last name. 12. “Laura Devlin. 4 ounces. the 6-foot-4 woman. 5. but write in full when a number precedes an event such as sixth anniversary. 9-year-old girl. coat size 42 regular. English teacher. or a. Sizes: Use figures exclusively: size 6 shoe. two days. use the dollar sign. 14. The day's high was minus 10. After that. dress size 5. feet. Scores: Leon 56. John Smith. 486 23rd St. is used. to indicate depth. Ages: always use figures in reference to age. .” 2. Avoid extensive hyphenation such as 5-mile-per-hour winds: The posted speed was 55 mph. 6. When money is in the millions. use figures for 10 and above: nine houses. an apostrophe in place of numerals that are left out. superintendent. Timothy is 6 years old. 7. Time: 6 a. . 15. Tomorrow's high is expected to be 32. 486 Third St. Mary Smith. (when p. Also. 2.5 million. the 6-foot-4 -inch woman. In the West. the mid-1970s. 365 days a year. administrative secretary. the current year is never included in a date: The game was Oct 2. Devlin said. Addresses: Spell out and capitalize First through Ninth as street names: 486 Third St. 10 inches tall.000" but not just "$15. length and width. and add the letter s to form a plural: the 1980s. He made $30.m.. 4-ounce boy. spell out whole numbers below 10. $6. 15. The Roaring '20s. Numerals • Except for the rules below. Speeds: Use figures exclusively. Money: Figures are used for sums of money. the '20s. March 9. 9. Omit zeroes and decimal point when sums are even: $4. 3-inch. the basketball team signed a 7-footer. 15 percent. temperatures were expected to be in the 40s. Superintendent John Platts. She had an 8-pound. spelling out the word million. 11.000." 5 . Decades: Use Arabic figures to indicate a decade. etc. 4.m. the 6-foot woman. 3.4 million. Hyphenate compound adjectives when they come directly before a noun: She is 5 feet. $39. not 6:00 a. senior. positions in organizations. 14. 635 Ruskin Drive. 79-year-old. Avoid use of o’clock). 3. John Platts. etc. If a title comes before the name and is used like a courtesy title.000. Temperature: Use figures for all Fahrenheit temperatures except zero. which is spelled out. Sentence or headline beginnings: supply initial word or spell out figures: "Fifteen thousand dollars" or "A total of $15. president of the student council. She is worth $2. Pages: Page 65. capitalize the title. 3. Identify students as listed in official sources. half a million.85. 13. Use the word minus to indicate temperatures below zero: The low today was 20 below zero.434. 8.When asked her response.839. Do not use figures: 1. the motorcycle slowed to 5 mph. Use figures for: 1. Dates: Oct. Percent: 9 percent. John Smith. ninety-nine out of a hundred. height.m. Florida 54. yards.
movies.) Punctuation: • Boys/Girls sports teams: For this. English teacher. NOTE: A simple way of keeping the different titles in order is this: there are big things (books. magazines. . speeches. it will be that person who is wrong. short stories. (“I love teaching. identification the first time. plays.) 7. not you. 200 new students were added this year.always use “said” for attribution.” 6.” should be: According to Hartmann. the little things get quotation marks. .” said junior Sally Williams. be different. . (NO: Johnson said. short stories. always be sure to identify the student by class with the entire name the first time you quote them. speeches. CD titles: I love Beyonce’s new CD Unbelievablfabuliciousness. The big things get italics. . poems.full name. Don’t get fancy. songs). . • Did you read the article “We Need Better Parents”? (The entire sentence is a question and the title is not a question: outside) • I read the article called “Why Don’t Our Parents Care?” (part of the title. when typing "except" it often comes out "expect. Use italics for the following kinds of titles: books. just look at those two cozy "Cs" snuggling up together. If you are going to directly quote someone. Depending on how the question or exclamation mark is used. After that. 5. not other fancy words (“stated” “shouted” “articulated”). Thus. Enclose in quotation marks the following kinds of titles: poems. 2. television programs. . Paraphrase for facts.” said X. magazines.) 3." 6 . . . It’s a fact. (We listened to the song “Stairway to Heaven. . magazine articles. Commas or periods which follow quoted materials are always included inside of the quotation marks.“I’d definitely go again. 2. Direct quotations are for thoughts and opinions. . In general.” said Johnson. (“I think we will definitely do better next year. “Huntley added 200 new students this year.” said Williams. CDs. the form for quotations (punctuation especially) is the following: “Quotations. television shows. . But be sure to tell the reader where it came from. Very accepting. just the last name after that. “He was a member of the boys tennis team. “It was priceless. Be careful with exclamation and question marks with quotation marks. . chapter titles. movies.”) Semicolons or colons always go outside the quotation marks unless they are part of the title. do not use an apostrophe.not for facts. goes inside the quotation marks) Quotations: 1.” said John Doherty. yearbook titles.you don’t need a direct quotation. (“I really enjoyed the trip.Titles 1.) and little things (articles. single songs.” Common English Errors: • ACCEPT/EXCEPT: If you offer me Godiva chocolates I will gladly accept them--except for the candied violet ones. newspaper titles. not the beginning. plays. Just remember that the "X" in "except" excludes things--they tend to stand out.” said Doherty. Same goes for faculty.” said Smith. .” said Johnson. 3. Break up quotations that are more than one sentence with an attribution after the first sentence: “I could not believe the look on my mother’s face. 4. In contrast. With students. “They come up with new things every day. And be careful. put the attribution at the end.” YES: “I really loved it.) 4. “I really loved it. it may go outside or inside the quotation marks. . just use his/her last name. If your source is wrong. newspapers.” said Hartmann.
but it is not the only correct usage. The correct form. ALL RIGHT: The correct form of this phrase has become so rare in the popular press that many readers have probably never noticed that it is actually two words." but its original meaning had to do with worrying." In this case the word is used mostly by psychiatrists and social scientists-. Saying "the pie smells well" would imply that the pastry in question had a nose." Traditionalists frown on anxiety-free anxiousness." Despite the arguments of nigglers." In the second place.people who normally know how to spell it.). just remind yourself that just as you wouldn't write "alittle" you shouldn't write "alot. they'll feel that your speech is vaguely clunky and awkward. this is standard usage. Now you won't make that mistake any more. "I feel well" is also generally acceptable. it is a verb meaning "have an influence on": "The million-dollar donation from the industrialist did not affect my vote against the Clean Air Act. with "a" and "lot" separated by a space is perhaps not often encountered in print because formal writers usually use other expressions such as "a great deal. Hey. The real problem arises when people confuse the first spelling with the second: "effect." In certain dialects of English it is common to utter phrases like "anymore you have to grow your own if you want really ripe tomatoes. "awhile" could be used in this way: "Lend me your monkey wrench awhile. Similarly. but you give someone something good. The more common one is a noun: "When I left the stove on." GOOD/WELL: "Good" is the adjective. Say instead you are eager for or looking forward to a happy event. it's two words: "any more" as in "We do not sell bananas any more. If you can't remember the rule." etc. • • • • • • • 7 ." It should be "I take a shower every day. will you? A WHILE/AWHILE: When "awhile" is spelled as a single word. as in "I'm most comfortable in my everyday clothes." but this is guaranteed to jolt listeners who aren't used to it. nobody ever said English was logical: just memorize it and get on with your life.• AFFECT/EFFECT: There are four distinct words here. you have an effect on it. "Any more" always needs to be used as part of an expression of negation." or "I feel good. ALOT. You do something well." A much rarer meaning is indicated when the word is accented on the first syllable (AFF-etc. being full of anxiety.") EVERYDAY: "Everyday" is a perfectly good adjective. the effect was that the house was filled with smoke." "often. it is an adverb meaning "for a time" ("stay awhile")." No wonder people are confused." This too can be two different words. A LOT: Perhaps this common spelling error began because there does exist in English a word spelled "allot" which is a verb meaning to apportion or grant. The exception is verbs of sensation in phrases such as "the pie smells good." ANXIOUS/EAGER: Most people use "anxious" interchangeably with "eager. ANYMORE. but when "while" is the object of a prepositional phrase. But if you want to avoid irritating traditionalists you'd better tell them that you feel "all right" rather than "alright. ANY MORE: In the first place. "well" is the adverb. Perfectly correct phrases like "anxious to please" obscure the nervous tension implicit in this word and lead people to say less correct things like "I'm anxious for Christmas morning to come so I can open my presents. meaning "emotion. like "Lend me your monkey wrench for a while" the "while" must be separated from the "a. When "affect" is accented on the final syllable (aFECT). The less common is a verb meaning "to create": "I'm trying to effect a change in the way we purchase widgets. it should not be used at the beginning of a sentence as a synonym for "nowadays." The problem comes when people turn the adverbial phrase "every day" into a single word. It is incorrect to say "I take a shower everyday." When you affect a situation." (But if the preposition "for" were lacking in this sentence. Even if they can't quite figure out what's wrong." ALRIGHT.
” 2.” LESS/FEWER: The difference between less and fewer is that one is used in reference to “number” – things you can count. but he then pushes her off a cliff. and the other in reference to “amount” – things measured in bulk.” The bullet proof car – intended to protect the president. . nearly caused his death by deflecting the bullet. The tax department gave refunds to Jim and me. 8 . The same rules apply for “herself” and “himself. . ask myself”. then hit the President in the chest. To see how obviously wrong it is. Situational Irony: Situational irony is when there is a difference between the expected result and the actual result. “The badger came out of its den.” Take this sentence: “If you have any questions. • IRONIC/IRONY: I have a thing about the words “irony” or “ironic”.” This is the only time it is ever used.” Its is possessive.” it is “The use of words to convey the opposite of their literal meaning. people might think you have eaten too much dessert.so many people use it and yet many don’t seem to understand what it means. we know that Eliza is a prostitute. “I” is the “doer” and “me” is the “done to”. this type of irony is when the spectator is given a piece of information that one or more of the characters are unaware of. It can also be an incongruity between what is expected and what actually occurs. THAT’S NOT IRONIC!! That’s just a bummer. we say “we need fewer eggs in that hole”. but the Higgins family don’t. ask Jane or myself”. If the hero leans in to kiss the damsel. you can’t count sand. so if we want to empty a hole filled with sand. For example: “He is as funny as cancer. Take for example this account of the attempted assassination of Ronald Regan: “As aides rushed to push Reagan into his car. just take Jane out: “If you have any questions. a statement or situation where the meaning is contradicted by the appearance or presentation of the idea. The tax department paid me. For example: “I washed myself” or “I put half of the cake away for myself. When something is “ironic. Dramatic Irony: In drama.” There are three different forms of irony: 1. but the rule is exactly the same: Jim and I paid our taxes. NOTE: If you get an invitation to a friend’s birthday and it’s on the same day as your birthday party. It seems that many people think that “myself” is like an intensified version of “me. Verbal irony: This is when the speaker says one thing but means another (often contrary) thing. “It’s a nice day.” So how do we use “myself” correctly? “Myself” is only used when “I” has already been used. that’s dramatic irony. There are other words that follow the same rule: “A great quantity of sand” – “A great number of eggs” “We should remove a little sand” – “We should remove a few eggs” “There is too much sand” – “There are too many eggs” If you eat too many ice-creams. 3. grazed a rib and lodged in his lung. we say “we need less sand in that hole” – but if we want to empty a hole filled with eggs.• I/ME/MYSELF: The most common problem here is the use of “myself. For example. For example: I paid the tax department. This is wrong. Things get a bit more confusing when you add a second person. For example: in Pygmalion. the bullet ricocheted off the [bullet-proof] car. The most well known type of verbal irony is sarcasm.” The difference between “I” and “me” is the same as that shown in who/whom below. • • ITS/IT'S: It’s = it is. just inches from his heart.
" If it doesn't work." Everything else is "there." Your writing will improve if you're careful about this. Here is an example of correct usage: Who is going to kill Bob? (I am going to kill Bob) Bob is going to be killed by whom? (Bob is going to be killed by me) • YOUR/YOU'RE: "You're" is always a contraction of "you are. not "then I." THAT/WHICH: If you are defining something by distinguishing it from a larger class of which it is a member. Lay needs a direct object to act upon – in the example here the object is “your head. "Than" is the word you want when doing comparisons. and whom has the action “done” to them. lie down”." try substituting "you are. Lie does not need a direct object to act upon – therefore it would be wrong to say “if you are tired. “New Zealand lies in the Pacific Ocean”." When the general class is not being limited or defined in some way. The reason for this is that so many people have no idea what the difference is. . and has to do with law or doctrine: "The workers fought hard for the principle of collective bargaining." If you've written "you're." "There goes the ball. “who” is the equivalent of “I”. We use this difference in other words – “I” and “me” for example. PRINCIPAL/PRINCIPLE: The principal is your pal. then "which" is appropriate: "He made an iceberg Caesar salad. It’s a person in charge of the school. and “whom” is the equivalent of “me”. But if you are talking about time. .right? “Principal Dave Johnson” is the correct usage for this. . Measurements of time and money ignore this rule." USE TO. many writers are unaware that the D is even present and omit it in writing. you've made a mistake. choose "then": "First you separate the eggs." THAN/THEN: When comparing one thing with another you may find that one is more appealing "than" another. "Principle" is only a noun. "Their" is a possessive pronoun like "her" or "our": "They eat their hotdogs with sauerkraut.We commonly see this error crop up with regards to people: “We need less people on this team” – this should actually be “we need fewer people on this team”. and “whom” is the accusative." If not. Correct form? Used to. lie yourself down”. then you beat the whites." Alexis is smarter than I. The difference is a simple one: who “does” the action." If you've written "they're.” • LIE/LAY: Lay : To put something or someone down: “lay your head on the pillow”. .” Lie: To rest in a horizontal position or to be located somewhere: “If you are tired. out of the park! See it? Right there! There aren't very many home runs like that. WHO/WHOM: This particular error has become so common that it is beginning to look like the word “whom” may vanish entirely from the English language. the word you want is "your.COPY EDITING SYMBOLS!!! 9 . which didn't taste quite right." THEY'RE/THEIR/THERE: They’re = "they are. • • • • • • SEE THE NEXT PAGE." ask yourself whether you can substitute "they are. USED TO: Because the D and the T are blended into a single consonant when this phrase is pronounced. The technical term for this difference is noun case – “who” is the nominative case. therefore we say: “I have less than 5 dollars” and “It takes less than 2 hours to get to Paris. use "that": "I chose the lettuce that had the fewest wilted leaves.
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