I’ve stumbled into the perfect job for someone for an inclination to fault finding – proof reading and QA for e-learning.
I find the process of seeking a definitive answer fascinating and there are some terrific free e–learning guides online for just about everything. Last week it was ‘who’s or whose’, though often it’s more mundane – killing the excess of commas (the trick is to read it out). Some paranoid corporate writers now put ‘it is’ all the time rather than risk using ‘it’s’ and getting it wrong. It is thankfully rareto see ”s’ in plurals or attached to acronyms (unless it is a possessive).
A knowledge of the development of written language helps, afterall, punctuation, paragraphs and spacing all developed to aid communication. (I keep writing about it here; great reads on the development of english include Hitchins and Bill Bryson) THIS is what decides it for me – does it help or hinder?
If it is unnecessary, don’t put it in.
I dislike an excess commas – others put them in, while (most of the time) I take them out. Then there are bulleted lists – commas, or full stops, and if so where?
And the semi-colon?
Fine in literature and handwritten letters, but not in corporate communications.
What’s your take on split infinitives? ‘To boldly go’ or ‘to go boldly’.
I guess it can only be the former, in this instance. Split infinitives are overly present in corparatese where perfectly good verbs constantly have to be qualified – they don’t! There is always a better word.
Do offer examples – I’ll dig out mine.