EditNATION.com Punctuation and Grammar Quiz #9

EditNATION.com Punctuation and Grammar Quiz #9

Kind of a grab bag this week, with content from all over the map, from eBay to HuffPo to “professional” writers. Most of my material, however, came from one cluster of sites that were written by a “content marketer.” I’ll tell you what: if you don’t know the rules, you can’t write good content for yourself, much less anyone else.

Note: Quite a few of these mistakes could have been found by simply putting the content through Word.

1) Televerde will be a Titanium Sponsor at this years summit.

2) Our customized onsite business writing course is based on this simple principle: give staff the tools they need to write user-friendly and readable documents more efficiently and with less hassle.

3) Lead management is is all about creating “one funnel” for marketing and sales and aligning the teams around a shared process.

4) For the entire first year of your life, Cody, I kept wondering when the wonderment of being your mother would wear off.

5) Please pay by Feb-25-15, so the seller can ship the item to you, otherwise, the seller can cancel this order.

6) We have also experienced many of the challenges most CEO’s and business owners face with their outbound marketing, client relationship management and retention, and prospect follow up processes along with systems development and the solutions needed to achieve scale.

7) If you’re running a successful and productive company it’s highly likely you don’t have time to manage your facebook and twitter accounts, that’s where I come in.

8) A Floridian, she hails from a small town in north east Florida.

9) “Closing the Gap” to help small businesses have ‘large budget’ impacts with minimal spending.

10) Click the ‘Schedule a Meeting’ button below to view my schedule availability.

11) People want to see the person they are connecting with, they want to make sure you are the right connection they are searching for, why not make it easy for them.

12) If you met someone at a networking function, remind them how nice it was to meet them at that event and you’d like to be connected on LinkedIn. The worst thing you can do when reaching out to someone new is to send a connection request stating “Since you’re a person I trust, I’d like to add you as a connection on LinkedIn”.

13) If you have a target market, speak to them.

14) No, this is not endorsing. Which is the most overrated thing someone can do on LinkedIn. Its too easy to endorse someone. I’m referring to giving someone a recommendation. You should reach out and recommend at least 10 professionals you’ve done business with or can vouch for before you ask for a recommendation. Be specific in your recommendation as well. Don’t just use words like ‘awesome’, ‘hard-worker’, etc.

EditNATION.com Punctuation and Grammar Quiz #8 Questions and Answers

1) Our team of globally-renowned writers are hand-picked for each project because of their focus and experience on that particular vertical.
Rule: “Team” is a collective noun, which means it is always treated as a singular noun, which means it takes a singular verb, which means that “are” is incorrect; the verb should be “is.”

Rule: never, ever hyphenate an —ly adverb: globally-renowned is so wrong.

Two mistakes in one sentence about “globally renowned writers”! Methinks somebody doth exaggerate just a smidge. Well, it was good for a laugh, anyway.
2) We believe that, while SEO is of preeminent importance in today’s search-centric world, high-end journalistic excellence remains the core of our being; the focus of our every move.
Why is that semicolon there? The material that follows a semicolon needs to be a complete sentence, and this isn’t. A comma was what was needed. (So much for “journalistic excellence”!)
3) Build strong brand affinity by creating relevant content that touches on every passion of your core audience—and converts them into your biggest fans.
Rule: “Audience” is a collective noun, and needs a singular verb and singular pronoun. You can’t say “them” with “audience”—sorry. It’s got to be “audience” plus “it” or “audience members” plus “them,” but it can’t be “audience” plus “them.”
4) Launching in January 2013, Discover saw over 1 million UMV’s within the first month of launch.
Rule: The plural of an acronym that is displayed without periods is always formed by adding a lower case “s.” No apostrophe.
5) Our writers interviewed various Olympic athletes and wrote 500 originally-reported stories to be showcased on the Olympic Pulse Page daily.
Yikes! Never hyphenate an –ly adverb, no matter how correct it sounds. (And you wrote for the Olympics?)
6) We then built the custom content to support the brand, their mobile and desktop platforms, and marketing initiatives.
Rule: You cannot use a plural pronoun with a singular noun.
Corrected: We then built the custom content to support the brand, its mobile and desktop platforms, and marketing initiatives.
7) We helped Lasso create a go-to-market strategy by doing a high-visibility guerilla-style launch at SXSW in Austin, TX.
Question: Should there be a comma between “high-visibility” and “guerilla-style”?
The coordinate adjective rule has two parts:
a) Can you flip the order of the adjectives and still have the sentence make sense?
Answer: Yes.
b) Can you put “and” in between the adjectives and still have the sentence make sense?
Answer: Yes.
Because both of the criteria for the coordinate adjective rule are met, this sentence should have had a comma between the two adjectives that precede “launch.”
8) We produced all of the product copy for the Patagonia’s women’s snow/winter clothing for Patagonia’s 40th Anniversary edition of their catalog for Fall 2013.
Two mistakes here.
First, “Patagonia” is a company, and a company is an “it.”
Second, you could have said “the Fall 2013 catalog,” but you can’t say what was said. (You could also have said “its catalog for the fall of 2013,” but you shouldn’t capitalize the name of a season unless it is part of a title.
Those were all from the same site. Here’s some more from Thomson Reuters.
Oops! Here’s a mistake that I hope you caught. The sentence above should have read: “Here are some more from Thomson Reuters.”

9) Join us in January as a newly re-imagined Marketing Partner Forum returns to Terranea for a three day summit on collaborative strategies in business development.
“Three day” is a compound adjective preceding the noun it modifies, and so should have been hyphenated.

10) Take advantage of Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute sponsorship opportunities- events, live and on demand webcasts, newsletters, blogs or professional publications, and you gain immediate access to the best quality audience in law.
Gee, why is that hyphen there after “opportunities”? Ouch! You need a dash. Another possibility would have been a colon, but NOT a hyphen, especially a hyphen with no space between the first word and a single space between the second word. Very sloppy.
Plus, why aren’t there hyphens between the compound adjectives “on-demand” and “best-quality”?
11) BLOG AND E-NEWSLETTER SPONSORSHIP – Tell your organization’s story with an in-depth blog posting or article to decision makers’ actively seeking new information.
Why, pray, is that apostrophe there with “makers”?
To round things out, here are a few more “problem” sentences from more people who should know better.
12) We’re your locally-owned, independently-minded neighborhood bookstore with three locations in South Florida – Coral Gables, Miami Beach and Bal Harbour Shops – and affiliate stores in Grand Cayman, Westhampton Beach, and the Miami International Airport.
Wow, someone doesn’t know the “never hyphenate an –ly adverb” rule!
13) She is a regular speaker at conferences and events including the Singapore Writer’s Festival.
I would have put a comma after “events,” since I’d consider what follows to be parenthetical, but the really wrong part is “Singapore Writer’s Festival,” which is the Singapore Writers Festival. Here’s a tip, folks: When you go somewhere but can’t spell the name of that place/event correctly, it really does make people wonder if you were there at all….
14) Some of her advice is not that new—active vs. passive voice—but remind us what the tenets are of good writing.
One of the “tenets of good writing” is definitely that the subject agrees with the verb.
Rule: When material is put inside parentheses or between dashes, that material is not part of the subject. So the subject in this sentence is not “active vs. passive voice,” it is “advice” (some of it is not that new…). Which means, of course, that “remind” is incorrect; it should read “reminds.”
15) I created the 10-tips list below for small and midsize companies because these organizations often don’t have a full-time marketing or communications staffer; blogging is left to an editorially gifted CEO or leader who can clearly express themselves.
Two problems.
First, you should say “small- and midsized companies” (suspended hyphen rule).
Second, when you use “or” as your conjunction, it separates the nouns. Keeping them separate keeps them, in this case, singular. (Using “and” would have made them a plural unit.) Which means that you have to say “him- or herself” instead of “themselves.”
I wouldn’t have used a semicolon either, but it’s not incorrect.
My take: I created the 10-tips list below for small- and midsized companies because these organizations often don’t have a full-time marketing or communications staffer, so blogging is left to editorially gifted CEOs or other leaders who can clearly express themselves.

EditNATION.com Punctuation and Grammar Quiz #8

A couple of weeks ago I joined a LinkedIn group of marketers, thinking I was going to read some brilliant prose. Oh, boy, shock of my life! These people get on and post some of the most poorly punctuated material I’ve ever read. Even though they don’t seem to be embarrassed, I am embarrassed for them.

Here’s an example:

both are good. but internal resources end up knowing your product / service so intimately that they’re writing can be much more profound and interesting.

They break their arms patting themselves on the back because they are all such “thought leaders,” but when I go to their websites, I find this…

1) Our team of globally-renowned writers are hand-picked for each project because of their focus and experience on that particular vertical.

2) We believe that, while SEO is of preeminent importance in today’s search-centric world, high-end journalistic excellence remains the core of our being; the focus of our every move.

3) Build strong brand affinity by creating relevant content that touches on every passion of your core audience—and converts them into your biggest fans.

4) Launching in January 2013, Discover saw over 1 million UMV’s within the first month of launch.

5) Our writers interviewed various Olympic athletes and wrote 500 originally-reported stories to be showcased on the Olympic Pulse Page daily.

6) We then built the custom content to support the brand, their mobile and desktop platforms, and marketing initiatives.

7) We helped Lasso create a go-to-market strategy by doing a high-visibility guerilla-style launch at SXSW in Austin, TX.

8) We produced all of the product copy for the Patagonia’s women’s snow/winter clothing for Patagonia’s 40th Anniversary edition of their catalog for Fall 2013.

Those were all from the same site. Here’s some more from Thomson Reuters.

9) Join us in January as a newly re-imagined Marketing Partner Forum returns to Terranea for a three day summit on collaborative strategies in business development.

10) Take advantage of Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute sponsorship opportunities- events, live and on demand webcasts, newsletters, blogs or professional publications, and you gain immediate access to the best quality audience in law.

11) BLOG AND E-NEWSLETTER SPONSORSHIP – Tell your organization’s story with an in-depth blog posting or article to decision makers’ actively seeking new information.

To round things out, here are a few more “problem” sentences from more people who should know better.

12) We’re your locally-owned, independently-minded neighborhood bookstore with three locations in South Florida – Coral Gables, Miami Beach and Bal Harbour Shops – and affiliate stores in Grand Cayman, Westhampton Beach, and the Miami International Airport.

13) She is a regular speaker at conferences and events including the Singapore Writer’s Festival.

14) Some of her advice is not that new—active vs. passive voice—but remind us what the tenets are of good writing.

15) I created the 10-tips list below for small and midsize companies because these organizations often don’t have a full-time marketing or communications staffer; blogging is left to an editorially gifted CEO or leader who can clearly express themselves.

 

EditNATION.com Punctuation and Grammar Quiz, #7 Questions and Answers

Another week, another “professional” website to take a look at. These sentences are from a publisher. Yikes!

1) We often receive Manuscripts that require formatting corrections before we can start the editorial and layout processes.

What’s “manuscripts” doing as a proper noun? No, no, no capital M.

2) Find reputable ones and study them! And by the way, keep a grammar reference nearby at all times!

Look at those exclamation points! What are those two exclamation points doing with those sentences? It’s so juvenile!

Rule: Exclamation points are used to represent the highest pitch of emotion, in a paragraph, on a page, in a chapter. They are not to be used lightly, carelessly, or wantonly, but carefully, soberly, and with discretion.

Here are three mistakes in a brief article about (wait for it) proofreading.

3) If you publish your book across multiple formats (hardcover, paperback, or e-book.) make sure that internal page references are correct in each version.

What’s that period doing inside the parenthesis?

Rule: When you start a sentence off with “If,” you are likely going to need a comma somewhere. This sentence needs a comma after the parenthetical information. Corrected, it reads

If you publish your book across multiple formats (hardcover, paperback, or e-book), make sure that internal page references are correct in each version.

4) Don’t just indicate every error you find; also indicate each page on which an error occurs (perhaps by circling the page number.)

The material inside the parenthesis is not a complete sentence and so needs no punctuation. The period should be placed outside the sentence.

5) Have a second person go over your manuscript (preferably someone who is good at spelling and grammar.)

Yeah, not like YOU! Well, at least they were consistently wrong! Another thing to notice is this: Watch for repetitive use of words and sentence structure. Parenthetical asides have their place, but should be used sparingly. Three times in a short article is two times too many.

These lovely sentences are from Grammarly.com. It really jerks my chain to see  such SLOPPY writing on Grammarly.com, and to watch as it spews forth information that is wrong, wrong, wrong is OUTRAGEOUS.

6) Conjunctive adverbs are adverbs which join two clauses; some examples of are also, besides, accordingly, finally, subsequently, therefore, thus, meanwhile, moreover, nonetheless, instead, however, indeed, hence, consequently, similarly and still.

Hey, look at that big fat missing word! And why can’t you alphabetize your list?

7) Conjunctive adverbs frequently (but not necessarily) have a semi-colon before them.

It’s semicolon, not semi-colon.

8) As they’re conjunctions (i.e. words that join two thoughts or ideas), it’s best not to use them at the beginning of a sentence.

I.E. is always followed by a comma. Always. Plus, never start a sentence with “as.”  It makes you look like an as s.

9) If we replace the Marks with I, and a couple of the potatoes with them, things sound much more natural.

Take a look at “the” in “the potatoes.” That “t” isn’t in italics. This is why you are careful with your writing and read over what you’ve written….

10) When reading aloud, the reader will naturally lower their voice and tilt their head a little, showing that this parenthetical information is a comment being made to the side.

“The reader” is singular: one reader. This is so wrong. You cannot use a plural pronoun with a singular noun. In this case, it’s either “his or her” voice and tilt “his or her” head, or you can say “readers” with “their” and “their,” but the way it’s written, it’s wrong.

12) The trick with hyphens is to use them sparingly. If you find yourself creating words every sentence or two, your reader might find that a little much to deal with as hyphens slow the reader down a little and make them pay attention to the new word.

Same mistake, different paragraph. You get no points for being consistently wrong! This mistake is compounded by the fact that “hyphens” are referred to as “them,” as is “the reader.” Very bad writing all around.

13) When you’re quoting someone and you need to put in some sort of explanation (e.g. clarify a pronoun or use sic to show an error), you put it in square brackets.

What? Did someone say “clarify a pronoun”? Be still my heart! Well, at a minimum, there needs to be a comma after i.e.

14) According to all the music magazines, “it’s the new up-and-coming band”.

Two things. First, periods and commas are ALWAYS placed INSIDE quotation marks. Second, I believe we have an example of the coordinate adjective rule here, which means I believe we need a comma between “new” and “up-and-coming.” Let’s see! There’s a two-step process to decide if you need a comma between two adjectives. First, can you switch the order and have the sentence make sense? Second, can you add “and” in between the adjectives and have the phrase make sense? Let’s see. The up-and-coming new band. Okay, maybe not as nice, but it works. The new and up-and-coming band. You bet, that works.

So, I’d want to see a comma: the new, up-and-coming band.

15) Double and single quotation marks are pretty much interchangeable; check the conventions for any specific format you might be using.

This is such crap. Double and single quotation marks ARE NOT “pretty much” interchangeable. I’d like to meet whoever wrote that at dawn, with dueling pistols, or maybe swords. Or maybe a dull pencil. At any rate, it’s crap.

Rule: When quoting someone word-for-word, use double quotation marks.

“I’d love to drive a Porsche 918, but my knees would never recover,” said Liz.

Rule: When quoting someone who quotes someone else, the “someone else quote” is enclosed by single quotation marks.

“Oh, hell no! He told me he thought you were ‘absolutely wonderful.'”

16) Quotation marks always come in pairs; we say the first set “opens” the quote, and the second set “closes” the quote.

This is another bit of crap. It’s so not true it turns my stomach.

Rule: When someone is speaking and his or her words continue into a new paragraph, double quotation marks kick off the beginning of the first paragraph, are left off at the end of the first paragraph, and then are used again at the beginning of the second paragraph. So, if you have a long quote or a wordy character, you will only use “end” quotes at the very end of that person’s words.

17) These are commonly used in British English, but they’re interchangeable with double quotation marks.

That is such crap! “These” refer to single quotation marks. The Brits do things differently, it’s true, but, hey, last time I looked, we’re all in AMERICA, and we should be using AMERICAN ENGLISH.

18) If you are using double quotation marks for the “outside quote”, then use single quotation marks for the “inside quote”; if you’re using single quotes on the outside, use doubles on the inside.

This is total, well, forgive me, mom, but this is BULL! First off, that “outside quote” part is WRONG: the quotation marks should have been placed OUTSIDE the comma. Second, you use double quotation marks first in American English, and then, if there’s a quote inside that quote, you move to single quotation marks. What’s all this business about “using single quotes on the outside”? Do they just make this stuff up as they go along???

19) Annie said, I’ve gone through this whole essay, and I can’t find what your professor means by that other issue”’.

This is okay if you are writing British English, but it’s WRONG if you are writing American English.

American English: Annie said, “I’ve gone through this whole essay, and I can’t find what your professor means by that other issue.'”

20) My favourite song is Free To Be You And Me.

Two British-isms from an American website. Brother! The American spelling is “favorite,” and that period should be INSIDE the quotation marks.

21) If you end a sentence with a quote that contains end-of-sentence punctuation (period, exclamation mark or question mark), there’s no need for anymore punctuation at the end of the sentence: just let the quote’s punctuation do all the work.

Besides the serial comma (yay!) that’s needed in the parenthetical information, the use of “anymore” is incorrect. “Anymore” (one word) is an adverb that means from now on, still, any longer, or nowadays. “Any more” (as two words) would have been fine; I myself would have gone with “additional.”

22) They said that the British were coming.

Same thing. Do you hear me, Grammarly? You are an AMERICAN website. Learn AMERICAN rules! Put your commas and your periods inside quotation marks.

Oh, just one more! Grammarly.com has so many!

23) The neighbour popped in to say hi.

Duh. Same thing. “Neighbor” is the preferred spelling here in the States. Quotation marks OUTSIDE periods and commas.