How to Use Ellipses, Part 1

Ellipses, which are also called ellipsis points and ellipsis dots, represent omissions in quotations and interruptions in dialogue. That seems simple enough, doesn’t it? But, that’s where the simplicity ends because several of our most well-respected style and usage guides disagree on how ellipses should be formatted. To add to this punctuating drama, there’s even […]

Five Tips for Using Writing Contractions

Here are five tips for using contractions effectively in your business writing and other semi-formal material. If you’re unsure if contractions are appropriate for your content, please review “Are Contractions Okay in Business Writing?” before utilizing these tips. 1. Aim for natural-sounding contraction usage rather than consistency. Unlike most writing usage issues, contractions don’t have […]

Are Contractions Okay in Business Writing?

Contractions are unavoidable. They appear in everything from songs and articles to product packaging. (Even the tiger on my box of breakfast flakes is telling me that “They’re great!”) But should you use contractions in business writing? Maybe. Maybe not. That’s frustrating, I know! Here are three questions to ponder as you decide if you […]

When Should You Use a Custom Writing Style Instead of a Style Guide?

“What Is a Writing Style Guide” defined style guides and explained their purpose. Today’s post offers suggestions to help you decide when you should—and shouldn’t—create a custom style instead of following your primary style guide when dealing with an atypical writing issue. In this case, an atypical issue can be anything from the capitalization of […]

What Is a Writing Style Guide?

At the end of my last post, “Block Quotations, Part 3—Block Quotation Issues and Concerns,” I mentioned that my next post would outline valid reasons to (gasp!) ignore your style guide. However, I have decided to put that topic on hold until next week in order to offer a brief primer on the definition and […]

Block Quotations, Part 3—Block Quotation Issues and Concerns

All good things must end—even this exciting block quotation series, which I’m going to close by discussing copyright concerns, reader expectations, and alternative options to block quotations. (What’s that? Block quotations aren’t exciting? How about relatively riveting? Mildly motivating? Slightly stirring?) Here is a brief summary for those who missed the first two parts of […]

Block Quotations, Part 2—How to Format a Block Quotation

My last post, “Block Quotations, Part 1—How to Introduce a Block Quotation,” discussed the purpose of block quotations, how long they should be, and how to introduce them in your content. Today’s follow-up covers structural issues related to block quotations: How much should they be indented? How should you handle quotations within block quotations? Does […]

Block Quotations, Part 1—How to Introduce a Block Quotation

Block quotations, also called block quotes, are long quotations that are indented from the surrounding text. In the first part of this three-part series, I’ll take a look at the purpose of block quotations, how long they should be, and how to introduce them in your content. The Purpose of Block Quotations Although block quotations […]

How to Introduce a Run-in Quotation

Whether you are writing an article, a blog post, or a report, quotations can add depth and authenticity to your content. (And, you can quote me on that!) Here is a quick overview on how to introduce complete and partial run-in quotations, which are short quotations integrated into sentences. Please note that the information below […]

Should You Capitalize the First Word of a Sentence Following a Colon?

My previous post titled “How to Use a Colon” explains how colons can be used to preface run-in and vertical lists, introduce quotations, conclude salutations, and link titles with subtitles. Colons can also connect tightly coupled sentences, such as those with a cause-and-effect or problem–solution relationship. Today’s post tackles the question of whether you should […]