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

Go to: Editing poetry vs editing prose

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


Other information

Formatting tips

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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