Commas can be confusing, especially when it comes to their locations in an address.
Have you ever tried to write out someone's address and had no idea where to place the commas, so you ended up either randomly adding them in or forgoing them entirely? For those of you who still use snail mail, the commas are pretty self-explanatory since you really only need them between the city and state (the separate lines serve as comma breaks themselves):
First Line - House Number & Street Name
Second Line - City, State, & Zip Code
Third Line - Optional Zip Code (if you do not put it on the second line)
123 Main Street
Anytown, Michigan 12345
However, when you are writing out your address - say, in a message to a friend - then the commas become pretty important. Here's the rule: Commas should follow the house number/street name grouping, and separate the city/state.
That's it. It's exactly the same as writing it on an envelope except that you add a comma after the street name since there isn't a line break between that and the city/state. There should also never be a comma before a zip code (this is the same whether you are writing it on an envelope or within a sentence).
Let's take the address from above and translate it to how it would look within a sentence:
123 Main Street, Anytown, Michigan 12345.
See how it's exactly the same as above, except that the first comma has been added to designate between the house/street and the city/state? Make sense?
Et, voila. You'll be the address champ in no time.
We've all been in a situation where we've spent hours and hours writing a paper, and finally, when we come to the end of it, we're tempted to hit "submit" and hope for the best. It's easy to want to throw in the towel when you've already devoted so much time and want more than anything to be just done with the whole thing. You know as well as I do, though, that if you take the time to revise, your grade will be much better. Why let yourself fall short of success when you've already spent all that time working towards your goal?
Because I've edited my own and others' papers over the years, I'm often asked what my top tips are for revision. While everyone has their own methods, these are the tried and true steps I always take, regardless of my clients' writing levels.
TOP THREE TIPS WHEN EDITING A PAPER
1. Read out loud. This will be 100% weird at first. You will feel like a complete idiot sitting by yourself and reading your work out loud, but I promise that over time, it will get easier. Why read aloud? Most people don't catch their mistakes when they glance over their writing, but when they hear their writing out loud, certain issues bubble up to the surface. Even if you don't know the specific grammar or mechanics rule behind the mistake, most of the time you'll be able to know that it's just off somehow, and you can change it on the spot.
2. Check your organization and transitions. You can have the most important information in the world in your paper, but if your ideas are splattered all over the place and don't have any cohesiveness, your readers will be completely lost. Organization is huge. Sometimes, a paragraph is absolutely perfect, but it's in the wrong spot; if you move it to a different page, it makes much more sense. Or, sometimes you need to add transitions to connect two seemingly opposing ideas; with transitions, you can be sure that your reader is following along with your thought process and your meaning and connections are crystal clear. The bottom line is that if the content is not rock solid, there is absolutely no point in attacking your grammar/mechanics issues, because even if your semicolons and quotation marks were all in the correct places, your reader still won't understand you if your message is jumbled.
3. Focus on major grammar and mechanics errors. Unless you are a copy editor for the New York Times, you are probably going to miss most nuanced grammar and mechanics rules. And, you know what? That's okay (and that's why you hire Crafty Copy). What you want to focus on when editing your paper is the major grammar/mechanics mistakes. Are your verb tenses switching back and forth from present to past every other sentence? That's a big problem because it's going to affect whether or not your content is being understood by your readers. Did you completely forget to add punctuation? That's also a problem because you've just essentially written a five-page, run-on sentence. So, be sure to look out for major issues (hint: if you follow step #1, you should be able to catch most of them).
Have more questions on what to focus on when revising your papers? Interested in learning more about the editing process for your professional work? Hit us up on our contact page and let's discuss your project needs. Until then, be sure to follow these three tips and I think you'll find that the outcome will be above and beyond what you anticipated. You might even knock your professors' expectations out of the park.
We recently told you how and when to correctly use a semicolon (click here for that post), so today we're going to dig into the proper uses of a colon.
WHEN TO USE A COLON
1. To introduce a list, an appositive, or a quotation (must be after an independent clause, or a clause that can stand on its own)
WHEN NOT TO USE A COLON (Remember, in order to use a colon, you must first have an independent clause!)
1. After a verb that is introducing its object/complement
This list might seem overwhelming at first, but the most important thing to remember is that you can only use a colon if the preceding clause is independent and can stand on its own as a sentence. If you've got that, the rest will usually fall into place.
Of course, if you're looking at this list and thinking that there is just no way you'll get this memorized in time to revise your proposal, you can always ask Crafty Copy for a little assistance. We offer competitive rates and work with projects from all industries, no matter the content. Give us a shout out on our contact page, and let's chat about how we can make grammar and mechanics work for you.
Do you ever See a title that Is Capitalized in all The Wrong places? Ever wondered which words are supposed to be capitalized? Have you asked yourself if you're you supposed to use upper case letters on all the words, or just some of them?
It's a common error, my friends. The upside? It's really quite easy to fix.
Here's the quick and dirty set of rules:
CAPITALIZE - major words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.) & the first word in a title (even if the title begins with a word that is normally not capitalized)
DO NOT CAPITALIZE - minor words
Coordinating Conjunctions - words that connect other words/phrases (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so)
Articles - (the, a, an)
Prepositions - words that indicate location (the list is extensive, but some examples include: to, under, in, about, for, onto, with, into)
So, let's take a look at the title of this blog post. Because this website design automatically capitalizes all of the letters in each blog post, it's difficult to see which words are actually capitalized. Here is how it should look: When to Use Capital Letters in a Title. See how only the major words (when, use, capital, letters, title) are capitalized? "To" and "in" are prepositions, so they are lower case, and "a" is an article, so that is also lower case. Make sense?
That's about it! As long as you've got those rules down pat, you'll be whipping out titles correctly in no time. Of course, you can always give us a call to help you out; having a professional double check your work is a must if you want to make absolute sure that your capitalization is solid.
I have seen an apostrophe followed by the letter "s" incorrectly more times than I can count. I see it on bloggers' Instagram accounts, on Christmas cards, on adorable front door signs with the family name scrawled across it, and more. However, there are dos and don'ts when it comes to that little punctuation/letter combination, and if they aren't followed - especially in a professional setting - your ability to meet your company's high expectations might be called into question.
When You SHOULD Use an Apostrophe with the Letter "S"
Woof, that was a lot of ground to cover, am I right? So, let's break it down a little bit with some examples of apostrophe + "s" combinations gone wrong that I see frequently from friends, family, and professionals:
Still overwhelmed? No worries. It's a lot to take in, especially if you are just now realizing that you've been using the wrong "its/it's" for years! The good news is that Crafty Copy can help you out with this; we provide professional editing services and can turn around your writing project in a snap (and ensure you've got all of your apostrophe + "s" combinations in the correct spots)! Give us a shout - we'd love to help you out on your next paper or presentation.
Have you ever been typing an email and wondered if and when you should use a semicolon? Do you sometimes just stick it in the middle of a sentence and hope for the best? You're not alone. Semicolons are probably one of the most misused forms of punctuation on the planet.
A sort of hybrid between a comma and a colon, the semicolon is a magical little device that is actually quite useful, but usually not used correctly. So, what is it?
Essentially, the semicolon functions in two main ways:
A comma is tiny. A period is even tinier. So, what's the big deal if they get missed?
Answer: it's a big deal.
Leaving off a small bit of punctuation may seem harmless, and for 90% of the people reading your content, it probably is. However, for some, that missing punctuation can change your message's meaning or just flat out make you look unprofessional.
Imagine this: you've just created a beautiful flyer to hand out to your potential customers who could potentially be paying you $70/month for a membership at your business. $70/month! That's a pretty high potential, wouldn't you say?
Now imagine that you've been staring at that flyer for days on end and to you, it looks just fine. So, you hit "print" and head out to pick up your glossy, colorful materials (for which you spent $1,000 of your marketing budget). Except you forgot one little thing: a period.
This isn't just any period. It's a period at the end of a powerful string of statements all ending with their own punctuation marks. So here you are, giving your potential customers some motivation for dropping their hard-earned cash into your business, and you missed the mark (ha...get it?). It's small, yes, but it could make you lose that one customer who was this close to signing on the dotted line, then thought better of your ability to get the job done because, quite frankly, you didn't finish the job. It may just be a period, but what do you think it says about your business that you forgot it? What if that mistake just cost you an $840 contract, and you have to pay another $1,000 to reprint it?
Now, you've just lost $1,800. For a fraction of that price, you could have had it professionally edited to avoid this mistake, and as a result, had ten times the return on your investment.
Details are key, people. Punctuation is no small thing.
Hire a pro to review your work before you hit "send" or "print." It will save you time and money, and it could make an important difference in you either getting business or losing it.