Tips – grammar, punctuation, spelling
‘That’ vs ‘which’
Traditionally, we use “that” with restrictive clauses and “which” with non-restrictive clauses. A restrictive clause ‘restricts’ the identity of the subject in some way. A non-restrictive clause does not restrict, or define, the subject but might tell us something incidental about the subject.
For a detailed explanation go to: That versus which
Go to: Misplaced modifiers
Hyphens, en and em dashes
Opinions and rules of usage about en and em dashes differ in different countries. The below rules apply to Australian usage.
- ‘Hyphen’ is a very short dash. It is used to link compound words and separate syllables of a single word. To create a hyphen between two words, type : hyphen (no spaces).
- ‘En’ dash is slightly longer than a hyphen. It is used to represent a span or range of numbers, dates or time; or to link a compound to another word (e.g. New Zealand-based businesses). Australian Style manual: the ‘en’ is unspaced if linking one word or figure, but spaced if linking more than word on either or both sides. Create an ‘autocorrect’ en dash, using a symbol of your choice; or create an en dash between two words with: space, hyphen, space.
- ‘Em’ dash is longer than an en dash (i.e. the length of an ‘m’, not an ‘n’). An em dash (—) is usually used to indicate a break in thought, although it can also be used in place of a comma (to create emphasis). In Australia, the em dash is usually unspaced. Create an ‘autocorrect’ em dash, using a symbol of your choice; or create an em dash between two words with: ‘hyphen, hyphen’ (no spaces).
- More information about when to use hyphens, en and ems and different ways to create them in Word: Dashes and hyphens.
Punctuation of dialogue
Go to: How to punctuate dialogue
Colons, semicolons, commas
Go to: How to use a semicolon
Go to: Common spelling mistakes.
Grammar, spelling and punctuation when editing poetry
About grammar, punctuation and spelling in general
Go to Mary Norris’s blog about grammar and punctuation (noting her articles pertain to American usage): The Comma Queen – blog
Quirky comedy for people who love grammar, punctuation and spelling
- Jake corrects Amy’s Grammar (from Brooklyn 99) – video
- Having dinner with your editor – image
- How ironic – image
- Beware grammar police – image
- Last person to use two spaces after a fullstop dies – article
For tips to help you with various formatting issues (e.g. creating a table of contents), go to: Tips for formatting in Word.
Note: this is a work-in-progress article comprising tips and links to helpful articles about punctuation, grammar and spelling which I continually update as I come across new items of interest. As I include more information, I’ll create new headings and subheadings so it’s easy to look up information.
Image: Pixabay Creative Commons Licence (no attribution required)
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