Re: Punctuation Tips

Subject: Re: Punctuation Tips
From: Douglas Max <dmax -at- BELLATLANTIC -dot- NET>
Date: Wed, 2 Jun 1999 13:29:04 -0400

Sonja wrote, "My intention is to call to the industry to standardize
word usage and punctuation.

Conceptually, I think you're right. Practically, though, I think you'll
have a hard time making that "call"!

Where every style book agrees, there shouldn't be an issue. But, one of
the reasons why I guess there are different style books, is that there
are different styles that are acceptable.

Certainly one way to avoid trouble is to use the same style book for the
same document (at least). So many of our students fail to pass the
consistency test. Since they're not sure of spelling, or punctuation,
etc., they'll try every which way, hoping they'll get it right
once...failing to realize that they've made two mistakes...the mistake
of (probably) having it wrong in one case, and the mistake of being

I always liked Will Strunk's admonition, "If you don't know how to
pronounce a word, say it loud!" Or, as E.B. White commented on this
comment, "Why compound ignorance with inaudibility?"

I'd add to this "dialogue" that if you don't know how to spell or
punctuate, look it up! The secret is to feel comfortable enough with
your ignorance to admit it! Although I'm an "expert" supposedly, I
freely admit that I don't know how to spell all 600,000 words in the
English language, nor can I quote all 250 rules for comma usage provided
by Gregg!

For those business writers who aren't in the editing business, we think
our six rules for comma usage will save them most of their need for
further reference.

Good luck with your call, Sonja! It could be a calling! By the way,
where do you stand on the use of the last comma in a series?



Douglas M. Max
Managing Director
LR Communication Systems, Inc.

E-text(TM) on writing and speaking now available for purchase or

Training in business writing and presentation skills. Seminars,
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Online options. Editing services. Founded in 1969.

E-mail: DMax -at- LRcom -dot- com voice (908) 464-1231 fax (908) 464-1350

139 Dogwood Lane * Berkeley Heights, NJ * 07922-0264 * USA

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