Avoid looking stupid when self publishing: don’t make common grammatical and usage errors

Avoid some of the more common mistakes, and make your work read more professionally. Here are some examples.

When referring to a decade, don’t use an apostrophe as in 90’s, use ’90s.

Use hyphens as dashes to hyphenate words (in-between), en rules between numbers (100–200) and em rules between words (different files — for instance).

Don’t use ampersands (‘&’) in text, use the word ‘and’.

Don’t Make Excessive Use Of Capitals — keep them to a minimum.

Use single quotation marks (‘ ’) rather than double quotation marks(“ ”), and use curly quotes (‘ ’) in preference to straight up and down quotes (‘ ‘).

Use single spaces between sentences, not two spaces.

Use EITHER line spaces OR indents to separate paragraphs, but not both.

The text in books is usually left AND right justified, not ragged right.

Be very conservative with hyphenation, and check that hyphenation occurs in a logical place in the hyphenated word.

Serif fonts (letters have tails) is generally regarded as easier to read than non-serif fonts.

Control widows and orphans. Paragraphs of four lines or more should always have a minimum of two lines at the bottom of a page, or at the start of the next page — not one line. This can be controlled in most software packages.

We suggest you purchase the following two most useful additions to the library of anyone charged with responsibility of writing material for others to read.

The first is the Commonwealth Style Manual, 6th edition, published by John Wiley, Paperback, ISBN 0 7016 3648 3, $44.95.

The second is The Design Manual by David Whitbread, published by UNSW Press, Paperback, ISBN 0 86840 658 9, $49.95.

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