‘Usage’ Category

  1. That is, for example

    August 31, 2011 by edotgdot

    i.e. versus e.g.

    i.e. and e.g. are both Latin abbreviations that are used ubiquitously in English, however, these common abbreviations are often misused in writing. So what is the difference between e.g. and i.e. anyway? e.g. stands for the phrase exempli gratia which roughly translates into “for example.”(Silly memorization tip: e.g. as in egg-sample).

    Jerry likes traveling to big cities, e.g., Chicago, Rome, and Paris.

    i.e. is Latin for id est or “that is.” When using i.e., it is like writing “in other words” or providing further clarification.

    I like visiting big cities, i.e., I rarely travel to the country.

    If this is still confusing, try using plugging in the phrases “for example” or “in other words” to see which phrase fits best. For even greater detail on punctuation and usage of i.e. and e.g., visit Grammar Girl.

    Sources: Grammar Girl; Daily Writing Tips

  2. The Facts

    August 23, 2011 by edotgdot

    The fact and the fact that…

     

    While editing academic papers, many writers use the phrase the fact or the fact that. Does this phrase drive the point home or make the writing seem stronger? The locution the fact or the fact that can be omitted more often than not. Furthermore, The Careful Writer explains that it can be a loaded phrase: the author may not be stating a fact, but is simply offering her opinion or making an assertion. Here is an example of when this phrase is unnecessary:

    The author argued the fact that The Great Chicago Fire was a catalyst to the city’s economic development.

    The phrase, however, can not be completely excluded from your work:

    Jim Hendry did not relish the fact that he was fired by the Chicago Cubs.

    The fact is that Eliminating nonessential words or phrases will ultimately make your writing more powerful.

    Sources: The Careful Writer

  3. American, British, Globish, or English

    July 25, 2011 by edotgdot

    Speackin’ English?

     

    Matthew Engel of the BBC wrote an op-ed piece this month about the English language and how Americanisms are infiltrating British English. Engel explored the issue of why Americanisms irritate people. Engel writes:

    “The Americans imported English wholesale, forged it to meet their own needs, then exported their own words back across the Atlantic to be incorporated in the way we speak over here. Those seemingly innocuous words caused fury at the time. The poet Coleridge denounced “talented” as a barbarous word in 1832, though a few years later it was being used by William Gladstone. A letter-writer to the Times, in 1857, described “reliable” as vile.”

    It seems strange (and a bit funny to me) that the words “talented” and “reliable” could cause such an uproar. With the ubiquitousness of American business and entertainment in the UK, Americanisms are coming in droves. Apparently American English is still a point of contention: when the BBC asked readers about their least “favourite” Americanism, they received thousands of responses. The report posted fifty of the top responses to the blog.

    Some of the peeves are justifiable, while others may seemingly be unfounded as noted in The Economist’s Johnson blog post entitled “Anti-Americanisms.” American English isn’t necessarily bad, it is just different. For example, Johnson responds with comments about the BBC’s most notable Americanisms (highlighted in bold):

    “I’m good” for “I’m well.” That’ll do for a start.

    Johnson responds: “That’ll do what?  Linking verbs including “am” take adjectives, not adverbs. “I’m healthy,” not “I’m healthily.” There’s nothing wrong with “I’m well,” since “well” is also an adjective, but nothing wrong with “I’m good” either.”

    British English or American English. Whatever! Or rather, Bloody Hell! The point is that unlike French, for example, Engel explains that English is far more flexible so it is the likely choice for global communication. Not British English, or American English, but Globish.

    As an American, I am all for dumping some annoying *isms* like “my bad” or “24/7.” Nor would I be opposed to British terminology seeping its way into American usage. British English has a way of seeming more sophisticated.Though when I hear “flat” coming from an American, it seems pretentious. Either way, we should embrace the changes and malleability of our language. Moreover, we should feel blessed that our language is spoken throughout the world.

     

    Sources:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-14201796http://www.economist.com/blogs/johnson

     

  4. An Ampersand & The Serial Comma

    April 2, 2011 by edotgdot

     

    The ampersand (&) is a ligature, which is a character consisting of two or more letters, that symbolizes the Latin conjunction “et” meaning “and.” This slick symbol is rarely used within paragraph writing, but is commonly used in titles, headlines, and business names. Not only is the ampersand an eye-catching logogram, but it is a fun word to say aloud (try it). The ampersand has recently reemerged thanks to text messaging, Facebook, and Twitter. Being a longtime fan of the ampersand, I wanted to incorporate it into our business title, but it was brought to my attention that the ampersand cannot be used with the serial comma (thanks Dad and master typographer).

     

    For example, when searching for an editing and writing firm the LLC is called:

     

    Write & Writer

     

    But when you add three or more names, it would be:

     

    Smart, Smarter & Smartest (no comma before the ampersand)

     

    What if you need to separate Smart and Smartest? Then include:

     

    Smart, Smarter, and Smartest (using the word “and”)

     

    When determining the title of our business services, we wanted to distinguish between the “editing” and “design” services and so we developed the title:

     

    e.g. PROFESSIONAL EDITING, WRITING, and DESIGN SERVICES

     

    References: The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition; smithwriting.com; Wikipedia

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