Monday’s Mistake for July 12, 2021: How People Get Periods and Parentheses Wrong

Monday’s Mistake for July 12, 2021: How People Get Periods and Parentheses Wrong

Here’s yet another mistake from real life. Do you see the error? “It is true that if you are farming on the moon or in the desert, then hydroponics might make sense (If you have to grow in such a parched landscape.)” It’s a common punctuation error. And it’s about the period inside the parentheses. When you use parentheses, the period goes either inside or outside. How do you know which? If the words inside the parentheses are not a complete sentence, then don’t treat it as such and the period goes outside. If the words inside the...
Oh, Comma, You Little Trickster You, Leading Us Astray…

Oh, Comma, You Little Trickster You, Leading Us Astray…

(Originally published August 2017) Why do people struggle so with commas? It seems we either tend to over-do it or under-do it, and using commas correctly eludes us. Maybe that’s because the comma is so easy to use and so easy to leave out. It’s just a little bit of punctuation, lacking the hardness or a period after all, right? What harm can it do to guess? Well, in my opinion, it can do plenty of harm if it: Gets in the way of clarity Makes you look dumb Or does both 1 and 2 So let’s talk about an easy way to know whether or not...
Monday’s Mistake for July 12, 2021: How People Get Periods and Parentheses Wrong

Monday’s Mistake for June 7, 2021: Comma Craziness + Clutter

I had an attack of acute gastritis a while back, although I didn’t know it at first. I thought I had a severely upset stomach, that’s all, although I was in a lot of pain and sleeping a lot. On the evening of the second day, I finally Googled my symptoms to learn it was acute gastritis. As much as I appreciated finding the information I needed so I could treat the ailment, I was distressed to see this crazy use of commas on a medical website: “There are several different types of acute gastritis. This is due to the fact that the...
Monday’s Mistake for July 12, 2021: How People Get Periods and Parentheses Wrong

Monday’s Mistake for May 10, 2021: More Apostrophe Abuse!

Do you see the punctuation error in this sentence? (And yes, the word punctuation is a hint.) “This historical fiction series accurately depicts the time of London during the 1920’s and 1930’s.” Those apostrophes don’t belong. It’s not the 1920’s and 1930’s. It’s the 1920s and 1930s. We don’t use apostrophes to make words plural, as I’ve said elsewhere. But I’ll say it again: Don’t use apostrophes to make words plural. Don’t use apostrophes to make words plural. Don’t use apostrophes to make words plural. No, this...
Monday’s Mistake for July 12, 2021: How People Get Periods and Parentheses Wrong

Monday’s Mistake for May 3, 2021: Parentheses Gone Wild!!

This Monday’s Mistake relates to our new Guide to Punctuation, but also to the ever-important rule to choose clarity! Here’s the sentence: “The digital front-end (website, app, store, etc.) and the back-end (like customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resources planning (ERP) and billing systems) need to sync with each other.” Do you see a problem with it? I do: confusion. Technically, the writer used parentheses correctly, but they lost the clarity. The poor reader has to work to get through this forest of...