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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Periods for Clarity

This is another copyediting/grammar issue that has come up of late. Periods.

If you are familiar with the 16CMS, you know that this US reference manual puts an emphasis on adding clarity, whether through commas (particularly via the "clarity comma" portion of the 16CMS 6.18 rule, which I've discussed recently in prior posts) or periods (see 16CMS 10.20).

Here's one example alone that should convince you of the importance of periods: "LA" versus "L.A."

Of course "LA" stands for the US postal code for the state of Louisiana.

And also equally apparent is how "L.A." stands for the city of Los Angeles in California.

However, like any misused homonyms, it doesn't hurt to make sure you have noted the proper term.

Need more? Well, how about "DJ" standing for "disc jockey" (see Web11) versus "D.J." as a person's given name, whether Danielle Josephine [Smith] or Daniel Joseph [Smith] (per 16CMS 10.12).

Another example is "AC" which initials stand in for "air-conditioning" (see Web11). Yet again it could be someone's initials, when used with periods, like how the given name Asher Clay [Smith] becomes "A.C."

Surely usage helps clarify these elements as well as the presence or absence of periods. But you'd be surprised how many people (readers and authors alike) scan sentences instead of paying adequate attention. So, to make doubly sure that your reader gets your intended message with his/her first read-through of your line of text, I'd suggest checking (1) your context as well as (2) your clarity.

Signing off for now and sending up prayers today for the people of Florida plus possibly another seven states in the projected path of Tropical Storm Hermine (which may be upgraded to hurricane status at landfall). Take care, everyone.

"If your vocation isn’t a vacation, then quit, leap, change careers."

Denise Barker, Author, Blogger, Copy Editor
Books that Build Character(s)

What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you. Ralph Waldo Emerson
When you give someone a book, you don’t give him just paper, ink, and glue.  You give him the possibility of a whole new life. Christopher Morley
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