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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Category: Abbreviations

What Have We Learned This Year?

Posted on Tuesday, December 16, 2014, at 7:40 pm

To close out 2014, we have put together a comprehensive pop quiz based on the year’s GrammarBook.com grammar tips. The quiz comprises twenty-five sentences that may need fixing. Think you can fix them? Our answers follow the quiz. Each answer includes, for your convenience, the title and date of the article that raised the topic. …

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All About etc.

Posted on Wednesday, October 15, 2014, at 1:53 pm

The abbreviation etc. is from the Latin et cetera, which means “and other things.” It appears at the end of a list when there is no point in giving more examples. Writers use it to say, “And so on” or “I could go on” or “You get the idea.” In American English, etc. ends in a period, even midsentence. …

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Apostrophes: Not Always Possessive

Posted on Tuesday, June 3, 2014, at 3:29 pm

Apostrophes’ chief purpose is to show possession, but these marks have other functions, too. They alert readers when, and where, one or more letters are missing from a word, such as the no that is dropped when cannot becomes can’t. Or they create separation to avoid confusion when two elements are combined for special reasons. …

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Sic for Sick Sentences

Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014, at 2:01 pm

We have noticed a dismal new trend: not capitalizing words that need it. Flouting the rules of capitalization is yet another indignity visited upon our beleaguered language by self-appointed visionaries who seem hellbent on transforming standard English, even though many of them can barely read, write, or speak it. From a recent magazine article: “ ‘i …

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Unusual Plurals of Abbreviations

Posted on Tuesday, February 16, 2010, at 9:14 am

Thanks to Lawrence K., who responded to my tip on forming plurals of symbols by pointing out that the plurals of some abbreviations are formed in ways other than by adding an s. Example: pp. = pages Example: sp. = species (singular); spp. = species (plural) Example: cc., c.c., C.C., Cc, or cc = copy/copies …

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Abbreviations vs. Acronyms vs. Initialisms

Posted on Monday, March 17, 2008, at 10:06 pm

Dictionaries don’t all agree on the definitions of these words and neither do style manuals. So we will attempt to shed more light on the distinctions. Abbreviations According to Dictionary.com, an abbreviation is a shortened or contracted form of a word or phrase, used to represent the whole, as Dr. for Doctor, U.S. for United …

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