Grammar Giggles – Surgery??

Here is the first page of a court document floating around on Twitter. I’m pretty sure it should say “back” surgery, but I suppose the other detail fits so I could be wrong. This is another example of just how important it is to actually read something before it is filed.

Surgery

Grammar Giggles – Some States Should NOT Allow Mexican Food Restaurants

A friend visiting Ohio sent me a picture of the menu at a Mexican restaurant there. Living in Arizona, Mexican food is a staple and I’ve read lots of Mexican food menus in my lifetime. I’ve never seen anything like this and as much as I love jalapeno poppers, I don’t think I’d try them at a place that calls them “jalapeno pooppers.”

Ohio Mexican Food

Grammar Giggles – Memorial Day!

Today I’ll start with thanks and undying gratitude for all those who serve our country so we can be free. I cherish my freedom and am thankful to all members of the armed services who make that available to me, including my dad, who served in Korea.

Now, since it’s Monday, here is another Grammar Giggle from a Twitter post. Enjoy your Memorial Day celebrations–just don’t do anything e-leagle!

e-leagle

Accurate AND Pretty!

Pretty

Proofreading isn’t only about grammar, it’s also about how your document looks. Granted, grammar is most important because if someone tries to read your document and it is full of mistakes, they will either quit reading, get their red pen out and make corrections to send back to you, hang it on the company bulletin board with errors circled, email it to their friends, make it a Grammar Giggle, or just think that you must not be very smart or you don’t care very much. None of those options are good. If your document is grammatically perfect but has other issues in the way it looks, it will still be a problem. Here are some things to look for to make sure your accurate document is also pretty:

  • Is the document evenly spaced throughout or does it go from double to exactly 24 in different paragraphs?
  • Does the size of your font change? This is harder to see when it is only one point off, but if you highlight the paragraph and look in your toolbar, if it doesn’t match, the font size will be blank.
  • Are footnotes all the same font size and same line spacing (including any spacing before and after the footnote)?
  • In numbered paragraphs, are numbers consecutive? Check both paragraph numbers and numbered items or lists inside paragraphs.
  • Are margins the same throughout the document?
  • Are paragraphs justified or not? Whatever the preference is is fine, just make sure all paragraphs are the same.
  • Are headings actually centered? Check to make sure your indentation is flush with the left and right margins.
  • Are headings all the same style? If your first headings are in all caps, make sure all headings at the same level are in all caps.
  • Are the caption, signature, and service list all correct? In our office, we have a “caption” file set up on the system that, theoretically, a drafter would use to start a document so all of that information is correct. Realistically, attorneys often grab another document from the system and start there, so if things have changed, it may not be reflected.
  • In a letter, is the date correct? Again, with authors grabbing another letter on the system as a base, the date could be days, months, or even years old.
  • Does the salutation match the inside address?

It isn’t difficult to make sure your document is accurate and looks good. That is the impression you want to give the reader, isn’t it? What specific areas do you have to watch to make sure good work product goes out the door? Leave a comment so others can learn from you too!

 

Grammar Giggles – Elementary School Yearbook’s

My granddaughter brought her yearbook over to show me this weekend. I started thumbing through it and was unbelievably discouraged at the multiple (as in more than one, more than two, I stopped counting) errors. Even if the school itself didn’t put the yearbook together, it has their name all over it and represents their school, so SOMEONE should have at least looked at it to make sure it was correct. Maybe the sixth graders should have proofread it. My son asked me not to post a link on the PTO’s Facebook page, so I will just use it for Grammar Giggles (or perhaps Grammar Groan is more appropriate). But I couldn’t resist using the page that had my beautiful granddaughter’s picture on it (since I had my choice of every page of sixth graders) even though it showcases my number one grammar pet peeve–apostrophes for plurals!

School yearbook

Grammar Giggles – Pleadings and Headings

I found this on Twitter and have removed the details to protect the . . . ridiculously stupid. This proves my point that proofreading headings and captions is just as important as proofreading the guts of a document. Apparently, there were many grammar errors throughout this document, but I couldn’t get past the first heading. And just think about what the judge who gets this document thinks. Actually, I believe they think this document is not worth wasting time reading.

Pleading header

Quick Tips

quick-tips-for-flyers

Time for some quick tips:

  • Cannot or can not? While Grammar Girl says either is correct, the Gregg Reference Manual only uses cannot.  The only time to use can not is where can means “to be able” and is used with not only
    • I can not only see the movie, but the sound is so loud, I can hear nothing else.
  • Capitalization of city and state.
    • Capitalize city only when it is actually part of the name of the city or part of an imaginative name
      • Kansas City
      • the Windy City (Chicago)
      • the city of Phoenix
    • Capitalize state only when it follows the name of the state or is part of an imaginative name
      • Washington State
      • the Grand Canyon State
      • state of Arizona
    • Do not capitalize state when used in place of the state name
      • She works for the state.
  • None is/are. None is a singular pronoun in formal usage, but in general usage can be either singular or plural, depending on the number of the noun.
    • None of the job positions were filled.
    • None of the programming was working correctly.
  • Two, to, and too. For some reason, people seem to struggle with which of these is correct in their sentence.
    • Two – represents a number.
      • She ate two bowls of cereal.
    • To – toward
      • He went to the doctor’s offce
    • Too – more than enough, also
      • He wanted to take his cousins to the zoo too.
  • Last, but not least, proofreading isn’t just about typos. When you are proofreading, proof the details, but make sure to read the text to make sure it makes sense and conveys the story correctly. Don’t make edits because you think a word is wrong without making sure that your suggested replacement makes sense.