Language Rules

Definately Fixing Alot Of Americas Grammar 1 Word At A Thyme

Ten Common Typographic Mistakes

with 5 comments

Really nice post up at Receding Hairline regarding the finer points of symbols that everyone tries to use correctly but almost never succeeds. For instance,

A hyphen – the kind of short dash you see above – should really only be used when linking words such as ready-made. It shouldn’t even be used mathematically to represent a minus, as there’s a dedicated character for that, too. Most other uses mandate an en dash – as here, for example – or when planning meetings from 1–2. Changing fashions mean the the long dash—this one, called an em dash—is rarely seen, but where it is, it’s usual to render it without the spaces on either side or with special hairline spaces instead.

There are other entries on, among other things, the proper use of ellipses (contrary to common belief, the ellipsis is so much more than just three periods…); the differences between primes, opening and closing apostrophes and quotes, and straight apostrophes and quotes; and when to use parentheses, brackets, angle brackets, and guillemets. All of these are accompanied by helpful keyboard shortcuts and, when that fails, character palette tips. Time to study up on some keyboard combinations!

(Lifehacker via 43folders)

Written by benferguson

2008 Apr 18 at 12:07

5 Responses

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  1. If everyone makes these mistakes, then I don’t see how they can possibly be mistakes.


    2008 Apr 24 at 10:25

  2. That’s a good point. I suppose these are mistakes insofar as they are errant according to the prescriptive view of grammatical rules, or in other words rules governing how grammar should be used rather than observations governing how grammar actually is used. This gets discussed all the time, but language obviously changes based on popular new usages. However, clearly there’s no black-and-white point at which something that had been considered wrong suddenly becomes right simply based on popular demand.

    On the other hand, these seem like pretty clear-cut usage rules to me. For instance, most of us would consider using a comma at the ends of sentences to be incorrect because, duh, periods go at the ends of sentences. Same thing with degree symbols, which have different prescribed uses than ordinals, which have different prescribed uses than rings above accents.


    2008 Apr 24 at 16:41

  3. Why have you stopped writing?


    2011 Feb 2 at 14:33

  4. hey mike, I just tried to add my blog to the aggregator and it is not showing up. What did you fill for your RSS feed URL? Im not sure if I filled Click


    2016 Apr 9 at 02:11

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