How to Use a Slash in General Writing

The slash (/), also called a forward slash, appears in everything from number fractions and calendar dates to poetry and URLs.* Despite this multifunctional usage, the slash is frequently mishandled when used as a shortcut for joining words and creating and–or situations. Here is a short primer to help you avoid slash missteps: Reserve the […]

How to Use Microsoft Word’s Footnote and Endnote Tool

Manually inserting individual footnotes and endnotes in Word is relatively straightforward: type a superscript number at the end of the sentence related to the note and then scroll to the bottom of the page, section, or document to type your note’s text. But manually inserting notes can get tricky if your document is more than […]

The Difference between Reference Pages and Bibliographies

In a recent post, I explained that footnotes provide supplementary information such as commentary, quotations, and suggestions for further research. Footnotes can also document the sources cited in your text; however, that job frequently falls to bibliographies and reference pages rather than footnotes. While bibliographies and reference pages are very similar, they do serve slightly […]

How to Change the Language, Spelling, and Grammar Settings in Microsoft Word Comments

When you use Microsoft Word’s review tools to edit someone else’s document, the comment tool automatically inherits the original author’s preset proofing language along with spelling and grammar check settings. Normally this inheritance isn’t a problem. However, if the author wrote the text in another language and then translated it to English without updating the […]

Footnotes: What They Are and How to Use Them

If the word footnote ignites memories of coffee-fueled all-night writing sessions in cramped dorm rooms, never fear, I’m not going to talk about college term papers. Instead, I’m going to explore different types of footnotes and how they can be used in other forms of nonfiction writing, including business communication. What are footnotes? Footnotes are […]

Four Tips for Capitalizing Product Names

Nearly every business wants to promote its products with bold, exciting copywriting. And that’s a good thing! However, that exuberance sometimes leads to inconsistent or unnecessary capitalization of general product nouns. (“Our new Sandwich is the best!”) Here are four tips to help you avoid questionable product capitalization in your own copywriting. (Please note that […]

Three Ways to Add Currency Symbols in Microsoft Word

Last week’s post covered basic guidelines for formatting money in general business writing. This week, we’ll look at three different ways to insert currency symbols into Microsoft Word documents: the Insert tab, Alt codes, and shortcut keys. To keep things simple, we’ll concentrate on the euro, pound, and cent signs in these examples. Please note […]

How to Format Money in General Business Writing

Everyone handles money differently: Some people budget it down to the last cent. Some people spend it as if they’ve never seen a rainy day. And, some people bury it in the backyard. Just as everyone handles money differently, you can format money differently depending on the amount and the nature of your text. Here […]

Tips for Handling Unwanted Editing and Writing Advice

As a business and nonfiction copy editor, I provide unvarnished (but still polite) editing and writing advice for my clients. But another part of my job is less direct: I talk with people about their relationship with writing so I can customize my approach to their professional or personal needs. Unsurprisingly, many people have negative […]

My Top Five Posts from 2014

At the dawn of the new year, each day unfolds before us like crisp, blank pages in a fresh notebook! And as we begin to write the next chapters of our personal and professional lives on those clean sheets, we should also take stock of our past writing and editing accomplishments. As I look back […]