Get Your Arms Around Topnotch Writing, Part IVAugust 29, 2019
Down Memory Lane, PHS StyleMarch 14, 2020
- Don’t split infinitives. An infinitive is the word “to” with a verb. If you stick something in between the “to” and the verb, you have split an infinitive. Incorrect: He wants to loudly sing. Correct: He wants to sing loudly. Incorrect: The drill team colonel tried to quickly finish the routine. Correct: The drill team colonel tried to finish the routine quickly.
- Watch those colons. You can use a colon after a complete sentence to explain the sentence. You are introducing a list, phrase, or quotation. Incorrect: People talk for: the satisfaction of hearing themselves and the joy of chattering. Correct: People love California for three main reasons: great weather, beautiful beaches, and unlimited entertainment.
- Avoid the comma slice and run-on sentences. This mistake is so common in texts and emails that it seems some people have forgotten that run-ons are not acceptable. Incorrect: The sisters went shopping, they always had fun. Correct: The sisters went shopping. They always had fun. Incorrect: Ethan meant to study for finals, however he got caught up in gaming. Correct: Ethan meant to study for finals; however, he got caught up in gaming.
- Put the comma in the right place in a quotation. When you quote someone, the comma goes inside, not outside. Example: “Yes, I’m rambunctious,” said Miley Cyrus. Wrong: “Yes, I’m rambunctious”, said Miley Cyrus. (YES, this is done incorrectly in the answers on “Jeopardy” all the time!)
- Proofread carefully. Have someone do a second proofing. Make sure your message is clean and crisp and mistake-free. Your credibility is at stake!