Grammar

Following the rules of grammar help you to be clear, consistent and credible with your users. Perfection comes in the details. Keep a consistent writing style and choose to write for all readers. Use the Readibility Score tool to check the grade level of your content. Lead with the main point, support that point in the body and finish by summarizing the main point.

Nouns and Pronouns

Nouns and Pronouns should agree in number and gender. Be consistent with plural and singular nouns.

Agree in number:

Yes: “The school (singular noun) educates students. It (singular pronoun) also feed the students.”

No: “The school (singular noun) educates students. They (plural pronoun) also feed the students.”

Agree in gender:

Yes: “Sam taught Samantha (feminine) her (feminine) abc's.”

No: “Sam taught Samantha (feminine) his (masculine) abc's.”

Active Verb Tense

Use active verb tense. Be concise and specific. Avoid the fluff.

Yes: “The ball was kicked (passive) by the boy.”

No: “The boy kicked (active) the ball.”

Title Case

Use Title Case for titles, headlines and sub-headers. Title Case capitalizes the first word in a sentence, as well as nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs and subordinating conjunctions. Title Case does not capitalize articles (the, an, a), coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, for) and prepositions unless beginning the sentence.

Punctuation
Apostrophes

Use an apostrophe to show letters that have been omitted in words.

Yes: don't = do not

No: y'all = you all

Use an apostrophe 's' to make a singular noun possessive.

Yes: The boy's toy is very colorful.

No: The boys toy is very colorful.

If a plural noun ends with an 's', use an apostrophe to show possessiveness.

Yes: The three boys' toys were very colorful.

No: The three boys toys were very colorful.

Commas

Commas should appear between items listed in a series but not before the word and.

Yes: She has a pencil, paper and cup of coffee.

No: She has a pencil paper and cup of coffee.

Use a comma before introductions or quoted sentence.

Yes: He said, “I had a dream.”

No: He said “I had a dream.”

Use a comma between locations.

Yes: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

No: Harrisburg Pennsylvania

Use a comma to separate phrases that follow the main sentence.

Yes: After the boy jumped over the puddle, he slipped and fell.

No: After the boy jumped over the puddle he slipped and fell.

Dates, Time and Numbers
Dates

Calendar dates should be written in month-day-year (mm/dd/yyyy) format. Use 'to', 'and' or a hyphen to indicate a range of consecutive dates.

Yes: Monday, November 23, 2015

No: November 23, Monday, 2015

Yes: November 2015

No: November Monday

Years

Years should be written as YYYY or ' YY and decades should be written YYYYs or 'YYs.

Times

Use a 12-hour clock and include am or pm when indicating time.

Yes: 9:30am

No: 9.30am

Yes: 9pm

No: 9PM

Money

When writing about money, use the dollar sign before the number. Use decimal and cents when necessary

Yes: $100

No: 100

Yes: $99.99

No: $99.9999

Phone Numbers

Use brackets, hyphens or periods without spaces between phone numbers.

Yes: (999)999-9999

No: ( 999 ) 999 - 9999

Yes: 999.999.9999

No: 999 . 999 . 9999

Percentage

When referring to percentage, include the percent symbol after the number.

Yes: 100%

No: 100

To see more grammar best practices refer to the University of Uregina