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 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.”
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.”
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.
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 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.
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 should be written as YYYY or ' YY and decades should be written YYYYs or 'YYs.
Use a 12-hour clock and include am or pm when indicating time.
When writing about money, use the dollar sign before the number. Use decimal and cents when necessary