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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Category: Capitalization

In the Zone: It’s About Time

Posted on Tuesday, August 7, 2018, at 11:00 pm

We’re all aware of how vital marked and measured time is to guiding and structuring our days. How then do we treat it in precise and careful writing? We offered some guidelines in our updated April 2017 article Writing Dates and Times. We’ll expand on those here by delving deeper into the most recent editions of …

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Giving Special Days Their Grammatical Due

Posted on Tuesday, June 26, 2018, at 11:00 pm

America prizes its holidays and other days of distinction. Whether for federal, state, civic, or religious observance, we have a slew of causes for commemoration. In the grammatical world, designated days have stature and so receive proper-noun treatment. At the same time, confusion can still seep in over style. For example, do we write Thanksgiving …

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Capitalization of Academic Degrees

Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2018, at 6:16 pm

Perhaps you've wondered if and when academic degrees (bachelor's, master's, etc.) should be capitalized. If you read through our Capitalization rules, you will notice that capitalization is sometimes a thorny area. We do not always have hard-and-fast rules to rely on; some areas are open to interpretation. This is evident in the area of capitalization of academic …

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Hitting the Right Notes with Salutations and Closings

Posted on Wednesday, December 6, 2017, at 4:28 pm

We live in an age of constant communication through multiple channels. Written correspondence can be as full of effort and care as a handwritten letter or as abridged and impulsive as a tweet or a text. We also exist in a time when the line between professional vs. personal and formal vs. informal addressing of …

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Writing Dates and Times

Posted on Wednesday, April 19, 2017, at 8:54 am

Rule: The following examples apply when using dates: The meeting is scheduled for June 30. The meeting is scheduled for the 30th of June. We have had tricks played on us on April 1. The 1st of April puts some people on edge. (Some prefer to write it out: The first of April) Rule: There …

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Pop Gets It Wrong

Posted on Monday, October 3, 2016, at 8:15 pm

Misinformation spreads like bedbugs. For centuries, humans have clung to articles of faith gleaned from parents and grandparents, brothers and sisters, authority figures, community leaders, and other notoriously unreliable sources. These rumors, superstitions, misinterpretations, urban legends, and baseless theories are often nothing more than quaint, harmless nonsense. Then again, try telling that to those who …

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No Question About It

Posted on Tuesday, March 8, 2016, at 3:59 pm

Let’s see if you can spot what is wrong with this sentence? On closer inspection, most of you will see that the sentence should end in a period rather than a question mark. Question marks are used only with direct questions. The sentence above certainly contains a direct question: what is wrong with this sentence? …

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Year-End Quiz 2015

Posted on Tuesday, December 15, 2015, at 2:31 pm

To close out 2015 we have put together a comprehensive pop quiz based on the year’s GrammarBook.com grammar posts. The quiz comprises twenty-five sentences that may—or may not—need fixing. Think you can fix the ones that need help? You’ll find our answers directly below the quiz. Each answer includes, for your convenience, the title and …

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Colons and Capitals

Posted on Tuesday, August 25, 2015, at 1:20 pm

Why can’t all punctuation be as easy to understand as periods are? Periods end a sentence. The first word in the next sentence is capitalized. That’s about it. But when it comes to capitalization, the colon—one period floating ominously above the other—makes fledgling writers jumpy about the word that follows it. There are conflicting policies …

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Capitalizing Composition Titles, Part II

Posted on Tuesday, March 10, 2015, at 9:53 am

Some may question the need for a two-part series on this esoteric topic. But even those who consider themselves top-notch at identifying parts of speech in a word grouping will find composition-title capitalization a skill worth mastering. Any title of more than two words can be a challenge. How would you capitalize a title such …

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