Posted by: episystechpubs | April 26, 2013

Editor’s Corner: Rules Do Change

The following excerpts are from the article “Rules Do Change” on www.grammarbook.com. I know we’ve covered not using double spaces after periods, but this takes the rule a bit further. Use the other tidbits to start a scintillating conversation at your next dinner party. 🙂

Spacing after Periods, Colons, Question Marks, and Exclamation Marks

Originally, typewriters had monospaced fonts, so two spaces after ending punctuation marks were used to make the text more legible. However, most computer fonts present no difficulty with proportion or legibility, so use just one space after a period, colon, question mark, or exclamation point at the end of a sentence. You will not be struck by lightning, I promise!

Plurals and Conjunctions

As time has gone on, we have shortened some words and dropped the former plural form.

Example: The words memo and memos used to be memorandum and memoranda.

With the word data, we no longer see the singular datum used at all. Data is now normally used in both the singular and plural form.

Example: The data are being tabulated. The data is useful to the scientists.

Yet other words still retain their original spelling and plural form.

Example: curriculum (singular) and curricula (plural).

In “the old days,” you may have been scolded for starting a sentence with but, and, or because. But you wouldn’t have deserved that scolding. Just make sure that if you start sentences with these words, you follow them with independent clauses.

Good Examples:
But she would never say such a thing!
Because of this bee sting, my arm is swollen.

Bad Examples:
And washed the car.
Because she asked.

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