Posted by: Jack Henry | August 24, 2017

Editor’s Corner: Clear Writing, Part 2

Last week, I gave you the first five tips from Mark Nichols’s article called, “10 Tips for Clean, Clear Writing.” As promised, here are the last five tips with a little saucy commentary. Enjoy!

6. When in doubt, don’t capitalize. If you’re not certain that a word or phrase should be capitalized, look the term up in authoritative sources. Writers often Capitalize Important Concepts that don’t deserve such emphasis, but careful writers don’t. [dbb – This is an issue the editors deal with daily. The rule is that we capitalize
only proper nouns. Proper nouns are names used for a specific person, place, product, organization, etc., like
Donna, San Diego, Episys, Symitar.]

7. Refrain from using all-caps. Employ italics to emphasize a word or phrase. Reserve use of all capital letters for humorous indication of shouting or panic, and avoid in formal writing. [dbb – A hearty “Here, here!” from the editors on this one. WE HATE IT WHEN YOU USE ALL CAPS!]

8. Be consistent in formatting treatment. If a caption is boldfaced or italicized or appears in a different font, all captions should be formatted that way. If top-level headings are capitalized headline style (Capitalized Like This) rather than sentence style (Capitalized like this), treat subheadings the same way. [dbb – Good news! All the formatting work is done
for you in the Symitar template, which you can find on the “Symitar Documentation Services

9. Vary sentence length. A healthy mix of sentence length and syntactical forms (simple declarative statements, sentences with lists, sentences with subordinate clauses and parenthetical phrases, and so on) keeps the reader engaged.

10. Manage paragraph length. The traditional five-sentence paragraph form is fatiguing.

Enjoy today and the rest of the week!

Donna Bradley Burcher | Senior Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Extension: 765432

Symitar Technical Publications Writing and Editing Requests

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