Category: Abbreviations

i.e. vs. e.g.

Posted on Tuesday, October 7, 2014, at 3:25 pm

Be honest now: do you know the difference between i.e.and e.g.? A lot of people think the two are virtually the same, but if they were, we’d only need one of them. So let’s break it down, once and for all. Writers use i.e. to restate the subject at hand: A good Samaritan (i.e., my neighbor Blake Smith) drove my …

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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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Capitalization of Academic Degrees

Posted on Sunday, March 29, 2009, at 6:16 pm

[Please note: This original post from March 2009 has been updated and replaced by a new version of Capitalization of Academic Degrees, published on January 31, 2018.]  Perhaps you've wondered if and when academic degrees (bachelor's, master's, etc.) should be capitalized. The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) recommends writing academic degrees in lower case except when …

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