OK, Here's the Deal
OK—not okay, says AP. The APA crew does not have a firm ruling on this word, and a quick peek at the APA Style blog reveals that bloggers use both okay and OK. I’m guessing, then, that if you are writing an APA-Style paper, you’d be fine with either version just be consistent with your use by picking one spelling and sticking with it throughout your masterpiece. As a fan of AP-Style...
Birthday-Inspired Numbers Lesson
Today, my No. 2 baby is 9 years old. My 9-year-old boy was born on May 30, 2003. He weighed 10 pounds, 2 ounces, and he was 22 inches long. A few teaching points: With numerals, use the abbreviation No. for number; use figures for all numbers, even those less than 10—No. 2 baby. Use figures for ages—9, not nine. Use hyphens for ages used as adjectives—9-year-old boy. Capitalize the names of...
When referring to a general degree, use bachelor’s degree and master’s degree. Examples: I received my bachelor’s degree yesterday. Now, I want to get my master’s degree. When referring to a specific degree, use Bachelor of and Master of. Examples: I have a Bachelor of Arts degree. I plan to get a Master of Education degree. An associate degree is just associate...
Plural Possessive—Bankers' Boxes
I was asked this question today: If John states in a report that he reviewed 3 “bankers boxes” of records, is the correct grammar “banker’s boxes,” “bankers’ boxes,” or “bankers boxes”? Should the “b” of bankers be capitalized? How about the “b” of boxes? Is it a proper name? What do you think? Here is my...
Its—A Perfect-Use Example
Here is its, in all of its properly used glory. That’s all I’ve got. Well, except for a sincere thank you to Motivate Hope Strength for sharing this lovely quote.
Over, Under, More Than, Less Than
The words over and under refer to spatial relationships. Examples: The bird flew over the house. I drove my car under the bridge. The words more than and less than refer to numerals. Examples: I have been a mom for more than 11 years. I made less than a dozen cupcakes for the party. One more thing—for ages, try using the words older than and younger than instead of over and under. ...
Words With Hyphens
Perhaps you’d like a handy-dandy list of words with hyphens. Maybe not. Regardless, here are some AP-Style words that use the little joiner. ad-lib A-frame boo-boo bull’s-eye cure-all D-Day daughter-in-law (son-in-law, mother-in-law, etc.) F-word (ha!) high-tech hip-hop Jell-O (a trademark name) K-9 merry-go-round point-blank T-bone 3-D (preferred over three-D) T-shirt V-8 Be advised...
FCAT Writing Scores Tank
Last year, 81 percent of fourth-graders earned a passing grade on the writing portion of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). This year—27 percent. What? Apparently, Florida educators made writing exam scoring tougher this year, and students were expected to use correct spelling and grammar and present logical arguments backed up with relevant details. Seems fair—if 10-year-old...
Grammar Gone Wrong—Mothersday
Want to avoid all confusion about where to place the apostrophe in Mother’s Day? Just get rid of the punctuation altogether and go with one word—Mothersday. No, don’t do that. Despite the grammatical stylings of this sign, spotted at a Mexican restaurant in the state of Washington, Mother’s Day is two words. Promise. And $1 Off Bottle Beer. It’s a nice offer and all,...
Period Outside Closing Quotation Marks—What?
I am starting to read “Eats, Shoots & Leaves” (again), and I feel compelled to issue you a warning in the event you read this book—which you should if you want to learn about the proper use of commas and apostrophes and you like a side of humor with your grammar lessons. Warning: Author Lynne Truss puts periods outside her closing quotation marks, which I tell you not to...
Locker Room—Two Words, Not One
Locker room—two words. I checked. AP Style uses two words, the dictionary preferred by AP-Style folks lists it as two words, and the dictionary used by APA-Style professionals shows it as two words. Locker room. Two words. That’s all.
LaShonna asked over at the Just Edits Facebook page about when to spell out numbers and when to use figures. I answered. Here is what I shared: According to AP Style, spell out numbers less than 10. Use figures for 10 and above. If you are starting a sentence with a number, though, spell it out (“Twenty-four students were in the classroom.”). And with ages, always use figures...
I vs. Me
Just Edits Facebook fan Allison suggested a post on the proper use of I and me. It’s not that she doesn’t know how to use the words—she just recognizes that so many people commonly misuse them, and it’s kinda driving her crazy. So, here’s the deal—you can determine which word to use without even understanding any I and me rules. All it takes is a simple little test. ...
Random Word Wisdom—Mother's Day
Technically, we’re talking two words, not just one. Mother’s and Day. So, why is there an apostrophe s in Mother’s Day but not in Veterans Day? Rumor has it that Mother is intended to be singular—each family honors its own mom, you see—and the word Mother’s is used in possessive form. The day belongs to each mother, not a bunch of mothers. The word Veterans, however,...