Grammar Giggles – Buses and Misspelled Signs

On a trip to San Francisco this past weekend, I had the opportunity to ride the bus. I love to read the signs on buses because I find a lot of “material” there. I was lucky this time as well. It took me a minute or two because I looked at the sign and finally figured out why it looked weird to me–“disabilities” is misspelled. On the plus side, they are consistent. I rode more than one bus that had the same sign with the same error. Shame on you #SFMTA!

Periods–More Than a Dot

One would think periods are simple. Their function is to end a sentence. However, there are other uses for the period that we need to be aware of in order to use it correctly.

  • Use a period after a number in an outline or a list unless the number is in parentheses, i.e., (1). In an outline, you should tab after the period to give a visual break. Using Word’s auto numbering feature makes this step easier as it will automatically tab after the period.
  • When you have separate lines in a list that are independent clauses, dependent clauses, or long phrases, you should use periods. you should also use periods after short phrases that complete the statement that introduces the list:
    • Please provide your drafts by Friday for the:
      • Motion to Dismiss.
      • Motion to Exceed Page Limits.
      • Proposed Order.
  • Where items are listed in a sentence, use commas or semicolons to separate them:
    • Please provide your drafts by Friday for the (1) Motion to Dismiss, (2) Motion to Exceed Page Limits, and (3) Proposed Order.
  • You don’t need periods for short phrases if the introductory statement is already grammatically correct or if the list is more of an inventory or shopping list:
    • The training topics for the new secretary should include the following:
      • E-filing
      • Proofreading
      • Ethics
    • When you next go to Costco, please get:
      • Gum
      • Keurig coffee
      • Paper napkins
  • Note that in these lists, a colon is used to introduce the list, the first word of each item on the list is capitalized, and you can use numbers to begin the listed items (see my post about starting sentences with numbers here).
  • In headings, use a period after a run-in heading where the paragraph continues immediately following the heading. Do not use a period if the heading is freestanding. You can use appropriate punctuation such as an exclamation point or question mark if necessary in a freestanding heading.
    • Proper jurisdiction. It is agreed that Arizona is the proper jurisdiction for this matter.
    • Proper Jurisdiction

It is agreed that Arizona is the proper jurisdiction for this matter.

  • Don’t use a period after letters used to replace the name of a person or thing unless it ends a sentence.
    • Mr. X is the mystery brand spokesperson for the car I like.
  • However, do use a period if the single letter is used as the initial for a last name.
    • Mr. B. (for Mr. Bailey) was my favorite teacher.
  • Don’t use a period after a contraction like won’t or cont’d unless it ends a sentence.
  • Don’t use a period after ordinal numbers (2d, 3d).
  • Don’t use a period after roman numerals except in an outline (Volume III, page 29).

So periods aren’t quite as easy as they seem. Send your grammar and proofreading issues to [email protected] so we can answer them in a future blog post.


Grammar Giggle – Gas Pumps and Every Possible Grammar Error

There are so many errors in this one sign I don’t think I could even get through them all. There are apostrophes used to make words plural, not enough periods, words that should be a single word divided into two words, capital letters where there doesn’t need to be or a small letter (if you want to be consistent) where a capital letter should be, misspellings . . . and my brain has now exploded.

My Résumé Is Attacked

We all know that of all the writing you do, one of the most important is your résumé. It is a potential employer’s first impression of you and if there are errors, that isn’t a very good impression. I found this article at with some interesting résumé and cover letter errors.

20. “I have a known track record and excellent experience with accurancy and fixing erors

19. “Strong Work Ethic, Attention to Detail, Team Player,  Attention to Detail

18. “My experience include filing, billing, printing and coping

17. “Demonstrated ability in multi-tasting.”

16. “My work ethics are impeachable.”

15. “I have nervous of steel.”

14. “I consistently tanked as top sales producer for new accounts.”

13. “I am a perfectionist and rarely if if ever forget details.”

12. “Dear Sir or Madman,”

11. “I can type without looking at thekeyboard.”

10. “Instrumental in ruining entire operation for a Midwest chain store.”

9. “I am anxious to use my exiting skills”

8. “Speak English and Spinach

7. “I am a Notary Republic

6. “I attended collage courses for minor public relations

5. “Following is a grief overview of my skills.”

4. “I’m attacking my resume for you to review.”

3. “I am experienced in all faucets of accounting.”

2. “Hope to hear from you, shorty.”

And the most embarrassing one to finish off our list:

1.  “Directed $25 million anal shipping and receiving operations.”

While we may laugh (or, more likely, groan) about these errors, the fact that HR people took note and then passed the errors on is proof positive that people are actually reading things when they are determining whether or not to bring you in the door. Please make sure your résumé and cover letter are completely error free. Ask for help if you need it, but then remember that learning proper grammar is up to you and you should make an effort to continue to learn as the rules continue to change. It is easier than ever in this technology age to follow a blog or two or take an online course to keep your skills sharp. Do it!

Grammar Giggle – Take a Peak At This

This was on a recent local news station. There is a difference between peak, peek, and pique. Peak is the top, peek is to look slyly at, and pique is resentment or to offend. Obviously, they did not mean that the top is inside the Phoenix Amazon Fulfillment Center, they meant to look inside the Phoenix Amazon Fulfillment Center.



Grammar Giggle – Capitalization is Apparently Fun!

This Giggle was sent to me by a friend. Note the “Use and Care” section. There is a time and place for capitalization and I’ve posted about that before here and here, but random capitals are not appropriate. I can’t even tell why they decided to capitalize these words.