Myriad of complexity

Written English is filled with complex grammar and constructs which must be checked by your proofreader.

Use of hyphens
Evidence-based needs a hyphen, but grant making does not. The list of hyphenated and unhyphenated words is endless.

Use of composites
Proofreading and filmmaker are individual words but scale up and short term are two words. This list is endless too. (The German language uses some huge composites such as Geschwindigkeitsbeschrankung for speed limit.)

The numbers game
1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or one, two, three, four, five? There is a convention to spell out one to ten and then use 11, 12, 13, 14 etc but twenty, twenty-first century, thirty, forty and one hundred also work well. See how the newspapers treat numbers.

Use of symbols
Per cent or %?

Use of upper or lowercase letters
Uppercase for Vice President but not for executive director. You may have to decide on the convention you prefer.

Use of acronyms
“To spell out or not spell out, that is the question.” For example, NTDs is neglected tropical diseases or Neglected Tropical Diseases. Acronyms are a minefield all of their own. A glossary at the start of your annual report or brochure can be invaluable.

Neglected Tropical Diseases

Cross cutting approaches to tackle NTDs sustainably extracted from the APPG Malaria and NTDs 2019 annual review

Use of American English
Materialize, industrialize, garbage, trunk, infants, specialty, organization, etc. Spell-checkers (also an American English word) favor the use of “Z.”

Use of British English
Materialise, industrialise, rubbish, boot, children, speciality, organisation, etc. British English favours the use of “S.”

Please do not mix American English and British English. Please stick to one.

Use of nouns and verbs
Q: What are: licence, license, practice, practise, affect, effect?
A: noun, noun or verb, noun, verb, verb, noun.

Use of older language
Thus, whereby, wherefore, notwithstanding, verily. It is up to your personal taste but you don’t want to give your age away to the Millennials.

Split infinitives
To boldly go or, to go boldly is the question. In the evolution of the English language, some of us are losing this battle.

Marie said, “punctuation is, surprisingly, an evolving part of our language. But please note, 100%Proof is a specialist on this subject.”

Part of the “consistency is all” rubric, it is easy to jump between tenses and make for a confusing read.

Finally, a short test on the eight major parts of speech
Provide an example of: a noun, pronoun, adjective, verb, adverb, preposition, conjunction and interjection!

Back to 100%Proof

%d bloggers like this: