In and of Itself

Posted on Friday, January 19, 2007, at 3:16 pm

To many people, the phrase in and of itself sounds clunky and old-fashioned. However, when used sparingly—and correctly—it serves a purpose. Example: The weather was not, in and of itself, the cause of the traffic delays. vs. The weather was not the cause of the traffic delays. In both sentences, we understand not to blame …

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Commas Before and in a Series

Posted on Wednesday, January 17, 2007, at 8:58 pm

In American English usage, many writers and editors feel that a comma should precede and with three or more items in a series. Example: I would like to order a salad, a sandwich, and dessert. Newspapers and magazines do not generally use this rule as print space is too valuable to use on what might …

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Writing Addresses

Posted on Wednesday, January 17, 2007, at 6:42 pm

If you are writing an address, whether typed or handwritten, on an envelope to be mailed via the post office, do not use any punctuation. Use all CAPS. Center the address on the envelope and use a flush left margin. Put room, suite, and apartment numbers on the same line as the street address. Example: …

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Use of Brackets

Posted on Tuesday, January 16, 2007, at 5:54 pm

Brackets are used for a number of purposes: Use #1: Sometimes, you may wish to clarify or add to an original quote. Put words that are being added to an original quote within brackets. Always put the changes in brackets, not parentheses. This tells your readers exactly how you have altered the original. Example: Original: …

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Effect vs. Affect

Posted on Wednesday, January 10, 2007, at 3:57 pm

Knowing whether to use effect or affect may not qualify you as a genius, but you will be demonstrating an understanding about a grammar issue most people find perplexing. I trust that the strategies offered here will clear up any confusion you have had. Rule: Use the verb effect when you mean bring about or …

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