Style Chapter 16: Avoid Adverb Sentences
vandanagoyal
There is an annoying new trend in Indian writing in English to make prolific use of sentence adverbs which modify a sentence as a whole rather than just the verb.
Curiouslythe minister did not show up till one hour after the conference was scheduled.
Or
Interestinglyno one knew the whereabouts of the the new mother.

These adverbs do nothing for the sentences except making them irritating for the reader. It is best left to the reader to decide if the circumstances are curious or interesting. In an otherwise well researched and written book on Km. Mayawati, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Ajoy Bose uses Interestingly in nearly every third paragraph. By the third chapter it only evokes laughter in what is otherwise  a serious and authoritative work.

Adverbs like actually, apparently, basically, certainly, clearly, evidently, fortunately, hopefully, incidentally, ironically, naturally, predictably, presumably, regrettably, strangely, surprisingly, thankfully, truthfully, ultimately, wisely lend themselves very well to making sentence adverbs. They are definitely not incorrect, just a style liability. Hence the need is not to banish them altogether but to look for alternatives.

Reader sees sentence adverbs as blatant attempts by the writers to force him to have the same opinion as them . Instead of advancing convincing arguments and converting the reader gradually, writer nudges him to his point of view telling him that now he should be 'thankful' or 'clear'. It is a crutch used by the writer when his arguments are not powerful enough.Words like 'unquestionably' and 'undeniably' render the writing weak and limp.

Sentence adverbs can serve a sometime useful function as they do have the benefit of compactness. Instead of saying ,'it was now clear that',you can say it more succinctly as 'clearly'. It is good to question the purpose of using the sentence adverb. Is it to express your emotions or is it to arm twist the readers to feel what you want them to feel? 

Sometimes writers try to dodge the criticism associated with adverb by depriving it of 'ly' as in 'More important, we were fed up' or the admonition 'Think different'.

Sentence adverbs can be used in their disembodied form while answering questions to make the reply more emphatic as with 'obviously', 'naturally', 'definitely', 'positively'.

Some adverbs used in adverb sentences are particularly annoying and have come under lot of criticism from writers and readers alike. Here is a compilation of some common ones that go on the rubbish heap.
  •  'Hopefully' is a favourite one that eveyone loves to hate. Besides being too colloquial, it has been called a "slack-jawed, common, sleazy," and a specimen of "popular jargon at its most illiterate level." In The Elements of Style, Strunk and White say , "This once-useful adverb meaning "with hope" has been distorted and is now widely used to mean "I hope" or "it is to be hoped." Such use is not merely wrong, it is silly". The Associated Press Stylebook also advises "Do not use [hopefully] to mean it is hoped, let us or we hope." and The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage says : "Writers and editors unwilling to irritate readers would be wise to write they hope or with luck." 
  • Ben Yagoda, in If You See an Adjective, Kill It, Broadway Books, 2007 says "The single most abused and annoying sentence adverb is actually. . . . The degeneration of actually is signaled by a Doonesbury cartoon in which a Hollywood mogul, Mr. Kibbitz, instructs his young associate: 'Listen, Jason, if you're going to make it in this town, you have to start using the word "actually." A Hollywood assistant always says, "Actually, he's in a meeting," or "He's actually at lunch." "Actually" means "I'm not lying to you."'
  • "Ironically" mostly gets thrown out of the window because of its incorrect usage . What a writer calls "ironic" is usually just an interesting, an unexpected or an odd development.
  •  Adverbs like 'Arguably' are disliked as they are an attempt to shirk responsibility and unwillingness to take blame.
  •  Some like "Basically" are just too common and thus tiring.


©2008 VisionIndia2047

Style Chapter 15: Numbers
vandanagoyal

 
It is inevitable that certain numbers - dates, age, measurements etc,  will be part of your writing.

Some guidelines to follow when writing numbers:
  • Any number less than nine should be spelt out.55 bags, four pens, eight men.
  • When numbers appear together, combine numerals and words to avoid confusion.5 seventh-floor flats,  Eight 60-Watt bulbs.
  • Prefer million and billion to lakhs and crores. In the global media age, audience can be gloal and we should follow international standards.
  • Approximate numbers above a million should be written as numeral and word. About 1 million not about 1000000.
  • Fraction figures should be written as words. One quarter of the pie, a sixth of the students, a half of the bottle. They should also be hyphenated when appearing like this: six-seventh.
  • Use hyphen for 'to' when it appears between figures, not between words. 20-25 people but not six - eight cars.
  • Ages should be in numerals. The minister, 48, is survived by his wife ,35 and a son, 7.
  • Do not begin a sentence with a numeral. Number should either be written in words as in Fifty two people attended the wedding or the sentence should be rewritten. Instead of saying 5000 copies were sold of the first edition, it can be rephrased as The first edition sold 5000 copies.
  • All modifying numbers maybe written in numerals. 120kmph, 20 percent, page 67.
  • Unit of measurement when qualifying a noun should be in numerals and be separated with a hyphen.50-foot barge, 30-cm ruler, 10-minute delay.
  • When many numbers are involved, use all numerals. The Fibonacci sequence 0,1,1,2,3,5,8....forms the basis of many mathematical formulae.
  • For decimals use numerals.1.68, 2.05.
  • Dates should be written in numerals and without ordinals. February 14, 2009. Not February 14th.
  • For money write in numerals. Rs. 35.50 apiece. Also write  Rs.180 or Rs. 180.25 but not Rs.180.00.
  • While comparing do not mix fractions and percentages. It is wrong to say that There were 62.5 % men  and only 30½ % boys under nine.
  • For a ratio qualifying a noun, figures and hyphens should be used. 60-40 proportion.
©2008 VisionIndia2047

Style Chapter 14: Statistics
vandanagoyal

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Benjamin Disraeli (1804 - 1881) 
 
Using statistics in your writing is  very tricky. When writing an opinion, their use should be minimal. Limited and selected use of statistics could benefit your writing but an injudicious overuse could kill it.
 
Here is an article destroyed by statistics. A taste of the Russian pie at Live Mint.com by Poonam Madan is an example of how an article peppered with statistics which reader cannot relate to, impresses no one. It only exposes the writer's lack of first hand knowledge of the subject.
 
Good writing should have very few numerals. Words work better because passion is best expressed in words. A writer without knowledge of a subject uses overdose of statistics to impress. The effect usually is the exact opposite. Writing with statistics needs to find the crucial balance between presenting facts to a casual reader unfamiliar with the subject and stuffing an article with them.
 
Opinions based on statistics do not need to detail them. They just need to be cited so that the reader can make his own interpretation. Statistics are used to support a persuasive argument and enable the reader to reconstruct your argument . If the article gives a point of view that readers may see with skepticism, it may then be supported with evidence.
 
Statistics cannot replace facts and logic. Statistics are considered manipulation of truth. You can't persuade anyone if they are convinced that you are manipulating them.
 
Readers relate better to empty numbers if they are given a comparison. For example this article from National Geographic gives daunting numbers, 'The human heart beats 100,000 times a day propelling six quarts of blood through 60,000 miles of vessels- 20 times the distance across the US from coast to coast.' But it goes down well even with readers not familiar with the intricacies of human body because the converted distance gives it a perspective. 

Similarly in this headline from the Daily Mail, '£2trillion - the terrifying total of our national debt... that's £33,000 for every man, woman and child in Britain.' the comparison makes an empty grand amount of 2 trillion into a  frightening reality that strikes a chord.

Be especially wary of using  numbers that are not from a known source. Such numbers maybe poorly researched or completely wrong. It also gives a better credibility to the article if you can name the source. For eg.' Interleague games averaged 34,900 fans per game, 15% more than intraleague contests, according to Forbes.'


©2008 VisionIndia2047

Style Chapter 13: Cliches
vandanagoyal
Good stimulating writing demands you omit cliches. They have outlived their usefulness through excessive use and over familiarity.

Cliches are antiquated expressions and do nothing to clarify or inspire. There is no surer way to put the reader off than to use dead expressions like 'thin as a rake', 'raining cats and dogs', 'all and sundry', 'pretty as a picture' , 'quiet as a mouse', 'cool as a cucumber', 'cry over spilt milk', 'nipped in the bud', 'stick out like a sore thumb, 'selling like hot cakes'. 

Reader must never get the impression that the writer was too lazy to think of a phrase to express himself. Even worse that the writer was not bothered. He did not mind serving an unappetizing, flat and boring piece with  tired cliches.

Besides staleness cliches are one-size-fits all expressions, rather than descriptions perfectly crafted for the circumstances. If the writing is original, it must avoid cliches.

Best writing provides a connection between the writer's mind and the reader's. Tired, worn out expressions will not rouse the reader to make that interaction.A reader who has read the same expression over and over again has become numb to them and will not take the time to make the connection between the idea and the cliche.

Writing must be scanned for phrases, metaphors, similes and images that appear too familiar and replaced. Ideas can seldom be too new, so freshness  and originality is in presentation. If you have heard or seen it before it is probably a cliche or on the way there.

There are any number of websites that will give you a list of cliches to avoid;
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/7733264.stm
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/debates/3394545/Oxford-compiles-list-of-top-ten-irritating-phrases.html
A very useful one is cliche finder where you can paste your prose and it will give you all the cliches that have slipped in. It's based on the Associated Press Guide to News Writing: 
http://cliche.theinfo.org/

But the list of cliches is ever evolving. What were discarded as cliches sometime ago, may seem fresh and novel now as they are not used so extensively any more. Similarly the expressions which were considered original and forceful till now, may not be so any more as they have become overused.
There have been stories of people who didn't like Shakespeare's 'Hamlet' because it  had too many cliches, little realising that the master piece is so brilliant that its originality has been cliched over the past few hundred years through overuse.

Getting rid of cliches from writing is not easy and needs lot of original creative thinking. They crept into our writing and have been used so extensively because they describe the idea so well.
To create a fresh, forceful image, one must use all the senses and look for new comparisons. There are multiple ways to describe a thing; choose to rephrase and restate with imagination.

Sometimes, though, readers' familiarity with cliches can be turned in your favour very effectively to lend novelty, humor and  fresh imagery to the writing. Like this one

Never put off to tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely.

©2008 VisionIndia2047

Style Chapter 12: Hyperbole
vandanagoyal
Hyperbole, an expression so exaggerated that it could not possibly be taken literally,lends itself beautifully to dramatic.You can get away with making ludicrous overstatements.

For example,'The blast was so loud it could be heard five kilometers away' is not exaggerated enough and could be true.
But 'The blast was so loud it could be heard on Mars', is undoubtedly a hyperbole.
 
Most  writers are guilty of exaggeration but honest writers would not leave readers in any doubt that they are exaggerating. Hyperbole is also an ironical exaggeration. Referring to aging Indian film star Amitabh Bachchan's god like status with the masses, Ajay Goyal says, "In a thousand years from now when Hindu mythology decides it is time to make next round of celestial appointments, he (Bachchan) will be the top candidate and still acting."
 
Like everything else, hyperbole should be used selectively, judiciously and in moderation. It loses its effect when reader thinks you get worked up about everything.The parts to emphasize should be identified and then hyperbole used to highlight the thrust of the argument. 
 
Avoid hyperbole when the writing is already emotionally charged, otherwise it will make the writer appear too bitter, sarcastic, sentimental and generally not worthy of being taken seriously.
 
Hyperbole is  best used to create humor. With a bit of imagination, it can be used to create very vibrant images and to drive the point home when commenting on something or someone.Like:
I circumnavigated the world in the time it took her to finish her make-up.

Better still is this excerpt from article , Taste of India ,by Vir Sanghvi at Hindustantimes.com

The Gujaratis are as agitated about Hindu non-vegetarians as they are about Muslims or Christians. (And no doubt, if they came across a non-vegetarian Gujarati like myself, they would probably club me to death with rolled-up share certificates.)
Brilliant hyperbole. It creates humor and a powerful image which stays with you long after you have read the article.

©2008 VisionIndia2047

Style Chapter 11: Proofreading
vandanagoyal
"First draft of everything is shit."
Ernest Hemingway

Famous author Mark Twain says, "..when you think you are reading proof, whereas you are merely reading your own mind; your statement of the thing is full of holes & vacancies but you don't know it, because you are filling them from your mind as you go along. Sometimes--but not often enough--the printer's proof-reader saves you--& offends you--with this cold sign in the margin: (?) & you search the passage & find that the insulter is right--it doesn't say what you thought it did: the gas-fixtures are there, but you didn't light the jets.

Writers are often lazy about the quality of grammar when they publish on web. But it is unacceptable to write something with misspellings and typos. You need to make sure that there are no syntax, spelling or grammar errors in your writing. All weight of your ideas can be lost if there are mistakes in the prose.

It is also important to make sure that the presentation is immaculate. The margins should be right and the formatting done properly.

Proof reading must be done slowly as mind tends to fill the gaps and overlook the errors if it is done in haste. It is good to learn to proof read properly. Leave wide margins on the right hand side when you take a printout for proofreading so you can make clear marks. Here is one guide to proofreading: http://www.espressographics.com/text/proofreader.html

You will know that your document is proof read and ready for submission when:

  • the punctuation is correct
  • words are spelled correctly
  • words are used correctly
  • all modifying words refer clearly to the words they intend to modify
  • all verb forms are correct and consistent
  • all verbs agree with the subject
  • there are no inconsistencies in dates, names, times and numbers
  • margins, headers/footers, spacing, indentations in the document are done properly
Proofreading is as hard and time consuming as the initial manuscript and hence demands the same effort and attention. Tools like Spell check do make the job easier but they are not enough.  Spell check can choose a word but it cannot choose the right word.You need to check for correct uses of homonyms like sea/see, to/too/two as it cannot identify suitable ones.You also need to solve eternal riddles like whether  'who' or ' whom' will make the sentence correct.

There are some handy tips, though, to make proofreading easier and more thorough:

  • Read the document with one objective at a time. It is better to read once for content issues, a second time for grammar problems, a third time for formatting and so on.
  • Reading the document in reverse helps. Typographical errors and duplicated words are particularly easy to catch as there is no logic or sense in what you are reading. For detecting other errors of content, punctuation,grammar and syntax read the final sentence first and work your way towards the beginning.
  • Re read the text after correcting the errors.
  • Make smaller blocks of text from a large one so you can concentrate better.
  • Make the font size bigger so that it is easier to mark.
©2008 VisionIndia2047

Style Chapter 10: Editing
vandanagoyal
  • All work should undergo thorough editing. No matter how perfect the first draft is, it will always be tighter after good editing.
  • Do not fall in love with all the information you have sweated for. Do not be tempted to cram some more where it is not needed. Reader does not have time to indulge you.
  • You can have the heart of a poet while writing but you should have the heart of a butcher when editing. Go at your work with a hacking knife, not a scalpel. You should be prepared to cut out paragraphs not just words.The fewer words you are able to use to deliver the message, the better chance you have of drawing the reader in and keeping him there.
  •      Some tips to edit your work:  
    • Make sure the writing does not keep the reader waiting too long to tell what you will talk about.
    • That the writing does not make him angry by preaching to him.
    • Make sure it does not give irrelevant details to make him turn around and say 'so what?'
    • Check each paragraph if  (a) it has a topic sentence to say what it is about, (b) it has clear and specific details (c) all other sentences in the paragraph relate to the topic sentence.
    • Put yourself in place of your audience reading the document for the first time. Then judge whether the writing makes sense and if it is interesting from start to finish.
    • Edit after some time has lapsed. You will have a better perspective. Ajay Goyal says "No matter how much I love what I have written today I have come to understand I will dislike it tomorrow and probably hate it next week. I edit articles with next week's perspective."
    • Edit with your ears.  It is easier to detect the flab when you are reading aloud.  To check sentence length, a good test is to see if you can say it in one breath.
    • Do it in print. Only few professional editors can edit on screen. Its best to print a copy and edit with pen.
    • Nothing daunts readers like dense blocks of text. Break the text into as many paragraphs as you can to give space.
    • Confirm that all the names are spelt correctly.
    • It is also good to let someone else read for you. Such editing is an act of humility. It is hard to accept critique of your work. But it can help to detect flaws that you cannot see and bring your thoughts closer to the readers.
    • Edit only after you have finished writing. Editing and writing do not go hand in hand.
  • Writing a good piece is not luck. It takes painstaking editing to nurture the seeds in first drafts. It needs trimming and polishing to create a great final piece. First drafts are often like diamonds in the rough. They need to be cut and polished for them to shine and glitter.
  •  
  • Example: This is an article Manglore Mistakes by Trisha Gupta on op-ed page at indianexpress.com
  •  
  • It is a good example of how good content can be buried in long sentences, blocks of text and confusing punctuation. This is one article that could definitely have done with good editing.  The whole article is three solid pieces of text with run on sentences and numerous quotations.It is so annoying that it takes all your will power to stay with the article even though the writer has a fresh point of view.
©2008 VisionIndia2047

Style Chapter 9: Slang
vandanagoyal
Slang is casual spoken language which should not be used in formal writing unless the writer is attempting to achieve a deliberate effect.

 

 It is best to avoid using too much slang. It should only be used if appropriate to the writing because of its style or the subject and only as much as necessary.
 

Use of slang is the most unpleasant when writer is pretending to be youthful and modern . If it does not fit in with the writer's style in general, it is ugly.

 

Slang words like 'ok' are acceptable English words now. Shakespeare is credited with coining thousands of words and phrases which were new at the time but have since enriched the language. Some examples:
to be or not be, bated breath, break the ice, cold comfort, dead as a doornail, a dish fit for the gods, full circle. But compare these with hubby which is commonly used in tabloid and broadsheet newspapers for husband and you can see that it is a rather unpleasant word.

 

Slang can make the writing humorous and playful. But  graphic and obscene slang words are unnecessary and unacceptable unless you are known to have a rebellious streak. In American Gonzo journalism slang and obscenities are commonly used and accepted. But this journalism is a very special brand and mainstream writers should not attempt to imitate it.

 

Slang is best avoided in formal writing as then the writing appears frivolous. Reader will not be receptive to serious ideas if they are presented casually. 

 

If the writing warrants it, selective use of slang can give it a feeling of trendiness. It can give color since slang is often unique, unusual, and startling. It can set the mood and make reader relate to the writer or the character. A case in point is  the brilliant use of colloquial style in J. D. Salinger's classic novel 'Catcher in the Rye'.

 

“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.” 

 

 

The  important thing to keep in mind is to use it in moderation and make sure reader understands what is being said.

 

Consider Love to Love you Bollywood by Khalid Mohamed on Hindustantimes.com. This is how it starts...


Wink wink, a star daughter adores Gapuchi gum-gum doggy toys in pink. Blink. Now by some quirk of fate, a Delhi boy lands the plum pudding role of the hero opposite Pouting Pink in one of those love lollipop-a-loolahs. Now the producer’s a funnier fig that his hurly-curly wig, the director’s forever breaking into a jolly jig but don’t you dare throw a fit. The nitwit movie’s a freak-out hit. Yippee?

There is good word to describe this kind of writing - crap.

 

Film journalism almost pioneered the extensive use of slang and it is expected in all film writing to some extent. But in the above article, it descends into madness. There are hardly any recognisable words that you would find in a dictionary. It is difficult to understand what the writer is trying to say most of the time. Rather than taking the reader with him, the writer goes on an ego trip of over used alliteration and pointless slang words.

 

A final piece of advice,

"If you use a colloquialism or a slang word or phrase, simply use it; do not draw attention to it by enclosing it in quotation marks. To do so is to put on airs, as though you were inviting the reader to join you in a select society of those who know better."

(William Strunk, Jr., and E.B. White, The Elements of Style)

©2008 VisionIndia2047


Style Chapter 8: Short Sentences
vandanagoyal
 long sentences are irritating for the reader. They are confusing and make for faltering text rather than a free flowing one. 


If the reader needs to read a sentence more than once to understand it properly,  you have lost him. Readers cannot be taken for granted.  If too much has been piled on a sentence and the mind is struggling to keep track of it, it is easy to give up.

 

The human mind chunks the information to remember. Just like a nine digit number is best remembered as  three units of three digits, information in a sentence also is processed by the brain in the same way. If there are too many chunks in a  sentence, average reader  will forget the beginning by the time he reaches the end of the sentence.

Long sentences are not proof of academic excellence. Sometimes the sentence is long just because writer is unable to find a suitable single word.

 

For example: All around people were losing jobs as a result of companies going bust as they could not honor their debts, lost investor confidence, customer loyalty and market strength and as a result had to lock their doors and cause mass unemployment in the area which in turn resulted in social problems like alcoholism and crime.. 

A revised less verbose sentence would be:  Economy was in recession and companies were going bankrupt.  Bankruptcies in the area caused massive unemployment that lead to many social problems.

 

Scrub your writing well to make the text more trim, smooth and powerful. Also avoid clause-heavy sentences and dangling modifiers.

 

Write the way you speak. Most of us converse in short, comprehensible sentences.

 

Writing should not be single tone. It should have modulations, pitch and rhythm just like in a speech. So the sentence length should be varied. Not all sentences need to be short. But most should be. Some sentences will have to be long, but  the risk of writing poor and unclear sentences rises with the length. You can eliminate many of the grammatical problems in writing by making sentences short.

 

Divide clauses and phrases into separate sentences. Check for conjunctions that may contribute to run-on sentences.

 

She was warned about the danger but in her youthfulness and the blindness afforded by her love, she plodded on.

Revised:  She was warned about the danger. But she was young and love blind. She plodded on.

 

Allow the reader to breathe. Use periods.

 

Sometimes a good piece of writing can be ruined by overburdened sentences

 

Consider the following writing in The New york Times Act of Faith By Jim Atkinson.  

It is a very honest peice of writing with trim  language and  almost conversational in style.  In the beginning, sentences make for a poetic prose with good  varied length.  But towards the end, the sentences become long, labored and complicated. Some examples from this article: 

 

 

...In my experience, there are three reasons for this: First, the process of becoming addicted to alcohol involves a kind of twisted leap of faith in itself—coming to believe that all answers and all happiness lay in one more drink—so it only stands to reason that to escape alcohol’s clutches, one must take a similar size leap in the other direction.


...It’s just that I’d never had occasion to apply my faith in this specific a way—that is to say, expecting a favorable resolution (losing the compulsion to drink) just for the asking of a favor from some unseen force.


...So I did what I was told: I put blinders on, invested my faith in a higher power and set about the grunt work of recovery—the self examination and soul searching, the forming of a clean and sober and ethical self—with the hope that sooner or later, my compulsion to drink would disappear.

©2008 VisionIndia2047

Style Chapter 7: Abbreviations
vandanagoyal
 Spell out the names of government bureaus and agencies, well-known organizations, companies, etc. on first reference. In later references, use short forms like the agency or , the government or the company .

General tendency should be to not use abbreviations.They can be confusing. You may use them selectively if you are sure the readers will understand them. The problem often is where to draw the line. For a person familiar with the subject, it is sometimes easy to assume that the abbreviation is widely used and readers will know it. But it is better to be cautious and assume nothing and give full name of the agency in each article.

Some general guidelines for use of abbreviations are:

  • If certain names or expressions are well known like FBI, NATO, DNA, BBC, KGB, BJP they can be used. For other organisations it is better to give the full name and initials in bracket on the first reference and later to mention either the abbreviation or just the company or the agency. For eg. The EU just as The Union . If the name does not appear in the text again, there is no need to give the initials in bracket.
  • Units of measurement should be abbreviated as in g, cm, or mph. Units of temperature should be  written as °F and °C ,year as AD and BC and time as am and pm.
  • Article the should be used with names of companies as in the BBC. For a and an, you should go by the sound; an NBC report, a CNN reporter.
  • For the names of companies and organisations, write them like they do themselves. When referring to the company later in text, do not say co. but company.
  • People also should be written as they prefer themselves. Generally write them with stops after initials as in O.J. Simpson or A.B.Vajpayee.
  • Do not  abbreviate expressions like One day international (ODI )  or National security guard (NSG) .
  • It is permissible to write MP for member of parliament and MLA for member of legislative assembly.
  • Do not precede a name with a title of a degree and then follow it with the abbreviation for that degree. It should be Dr. Priya Sen  and not Dr. Priya Sen Ph.D.  It is common in India to refer to a Ph.D. as Doctor. This can be misleading. Dr. Amitabh Bachchan or Dr. B.K.Modi can be mistaken for brain surgeons. It is necessary that they be referred as Mr. B.K.Modi, Ph.D. Finance or Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, Honorary Ph.D.
  • For academic degreesuse upper case and lower case where needed like in MPhil, PhD. Others should use  period after each letter as in M.D., C.A., M.A.
  • Very commonly used abbreviations which are pronounced as words should be  written without the stops in between like Unesco and Scuba. Infact these abbreviations are so popular that most people do not even know Scuba stands for 'Self contained underwater breathing apparatus'.
  • The character '&' should be used in names of companies where it is part of the name as in L&T or D&G.
  • Names of countries should  preferably be spelt out as in United Kingdom. It is acceptable to say England but only use one or the other in the whole text.
  • Titles should be written in full as in Professor, Colonel.
  • Do not use phonic abbreviations like thru (for through) and tho (for though). It gives the impression of careless work.
  • Colloquial abbreviations like ASAP (as soon as possible) and BTW (by the way) are also not acceptable.
©2008 VisionIndia2047

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