Friday, September 28, 2012

Style Manual 4RV Way - part 1

by Vivian Zabel  

always use “curly” apostrophes, not straight
Rule 1. Use the apostrophe with contractions. The apostrophe is always placed at the spot where the letter(s)  has
                been removed.
Examples:     don't, isn't;     You're right.     She's a great teacher.

Rule 2. Use the apostrophe to show possession. Place the apostrophe before the s to show possession in nouns  
                   that end in other than s or s sound.  Place an apostrophe after a final s to show possession.
Examples:    a boy's hat; a woman's hat; one actress' hat; a child's hat; Ms. Chang's house;
                                two houses' doors                       

 Rule 3. Use the apostrophe where the noun that should follow is implied.
Example:         This was his father's, not his, jacket.

 Rule 4. To show plural possession, make the noun plural first. Then immediately use the apostrophe as needed ('s)
                      when word ends in something besides s and an apostrophe when word ends in s or s sound).
             Examples:        two boys' hats; two women's hats; two actresses' hats; two children's hats
                                     the Changs' house; the Joneses' golf clubs; the Strauses' daughter;
                                     the Hastingses' appointment; the Leeses' books

Rule 5. Do not use an apostrophe for the plural of a name.
Examples:        We visited the Sanchezes in Los Angeles.  The Changs have two cats and a dog.

Rule 6. With a singular compound noun, show possession with 's at the end of the word.
Example:         my mother-in-law's hat

Rule 7. If the compound noun is plural, form the plural first and then use the apostrophe.
Example:         my two brothers-in-law's hat

Rule 8. Use the apostrophe and s after the second name only if two people possess the same item.
             Examples:      Cesar and Maribel's home is constructed of redwood.
                                  Cesar's and Maribel's job contracts will be renewed next year. (Indicates separate
                                  Cesar and Maribel's job contracts will be renewed next year. (Indicates joint ownership of
                                          more than one contract.)

Rule 9. Never use an apostrophe with possessive pronouns: his, hers, its, theirs, ours, yours, whose. They
                             already show possession so they do not require an apostrophe.
Examples: Correct: This book is hers, not yours. 
                                Incorrect:  Sincerely your's.

Rule 10. The only time an apostrophe is used for it's is when it is a contraction for it is or it has.
Examples:        It's a nice day.
                                         It's your right to refuse the invitation.
                                         It's been great getting to know you.

Rule 11. The plurals for capital letters and numbers used as nouns are not formed with apostrophes.
She consulted with three M.D.s.
                                 She went to three M.D.s' offices. (The apostrophe is needed here to show plural possessive.)
                                 She learned her ABCs.
                                 the 1990s not the 1990's; the '90s or the mid-'70s not the '90's or the mid-'70's
She learned her times tables for 6s and 7s.

            Exception:       Use apostrophes with capital letters and numbers when the meaning would be           
unclear otherwise.
Examples:        Please dot your i's.       You don't mean is.
                                                         Ted couldn't distinguish between her 6's and 0's.   You don't mean Os.

Rule 12. Use the possessive case in front of a gerund (-ing word).
                    Examples:        Alex's skating was a joy to behold.
                                            This idea does not stop Joan's inspecting of our facilities next Thursday.

Rule 13. If the gerund has a pronoun in front of it, use the possessive form of that pronoun.
                    Examples:        I appreciate your inviting me to dinner.
                                            I appreciated his working with me to resolve the conflict.
Use the possessive form of nouns before gerunds, too.
                      Example:      I appreciated John’s working with me.

Chapter headings for manuscripts
      Have each heading for each chapter the same formatting:
                 incorrect:   Chapter 1 but Chapter two, CHAPTER III, Chapter 4, Chapter five
                 correct:      Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5

Comma or not to comma
and always use “curly” commas, not straight
            Commas really are not living entities that reproduce and decide where to live and where not to live.  Neither are they snow flakes that land wherever the wind may take them.  They are not decorations to be used or not as a person’s fancy may decide.  Commas actually have a vital and exact use in writing stories, poetry, essays, or articles.  Let’s visit Comma World and see if we can discover when and where commas should be used.
            Use a comma to separate three or more words in a series, and use a comma before the conjunction.
                  Error: Wolves are found in Alaska, Canada and Minnesota.
                  Correct: Wolves are found in Alaska, Canada, and Minnesota.

            Names directly addressed need to be set off by commas.
                 Error: Don’t run on the ice  Mary, or you’ll fall.
                 Correct: Don’t run on the ice, Mary, or you’ll fall.

          Commas should be used to set off conjunctive adverbs that introduce a clause or sentence.  However,
                internal or final conjunctive adverbs should be set off by commas only when they interrupt the flow of a
Error: Meanwhile the Everly Brothers introduced country harmonies to rock-and-roll.
                    Correct: Meanwhile, the Everly Brothers introduced country harmonies to rock-and-roll.

                 Mild interjections not needing exclamation points will need to be set off by commas.  These interjections
                 include words such as yes, no, well, okay, and oh.

                                  Error: Well you aren’t clear when you write.
                   Correct: Well, you aren’t clear when you write.

                                  Error: When I saw the hole in the offensive line wow I knew the safety would sack the quarterback.
                   Correct: When I saw the hole in the offensive line, wow, I knew the safety would sack the quarterback.

                                 Error: Oh no John don't do that.
                   Correct: Oh, no, John, don't do that.

            Another place commas are used would be between main clauses.  The comma comes before the conjunction
                 (and, or, nor, but, yet, sometimes for) joining the main clauses in a compound sentence.

                                    Error: Rabbits usually run when sensing danger but sometimes they freeze in place.
                     Correct: Rabbits usually run when sensing danger, but sometimes they freeze in place.
                Equal adjectives
should be separated with a comma.  One test is to see if the word and could be used
               between the adjectives.  If so, then a comma is needed.
                   Error: The velvet skirt fell in soft flowing folds.
                  Correct: The velvet skirt fell in soft, flowing folds. (Test: The velvet skirt fell in long and flowing folds.)
            NOTE: Adjectives that must in a specific order are not separated by commas.
                    Error: They have many, clever ways of surviving.
                    Correct: They have many clever ways of surviving.  (many tells how many clever)       

             A phrase adding nonessential information should be set off by commas.
                      Error: Wolves in pairs or sometimes in packs hunt animals such as deer and caribou.

                      Correct: Wolves, in pairs or sometimes in packs, hunt animals such as deer and caribou.

                     A comma is needed after introductory words. 
                    Error: To be sure smaller animals can make fierce pets.
                    Correct: To be sure, smaller animals can make fierce pets.

            A phrase that is essential to the meaning of sentence should not be set off by commas.
                    Error: Animals, falling into this category, include rodents and rabbits.
                    Correct:  Animals falling into this category include rodents and rabbits.

             A clause which doesn’t add essential information in a sentence should be set off by commas. (A
                   clause has a subject and verb that go together.)
                     Error: Clowns who usually cause people to laugh instill fear in some people.
                     Correct: Clowns, who usually cause people to laugh, instill fear in some people.

            One should not set off essential clauses with commas.
                   Error: The wolf, that is found in Alaska, is called the gray wolf.
                   Correct: The wolf that is found in Alaska is called the gray wolf.

            Non-essential appositives should be set off by commas.  (An appositive is a noun or pronoun - word,
                  phrase, or clause - placed after another noun or pronoun to provide more information or rename the
                     Error: The gray wolf a wild species of dog is also called the timber wolf.
                     Correct: The gray wolf, a wild species of dog, is also called the timber wolf.

            But an appositive essential to the meaning of the sentence should not be set off by commas.
                     Error: The writer, Mark Twain, writes about a young man who runs away.
                     Correct: The writer Mark Twain writes about a young man who runs away.

            Sometimes a name can be non-essential, and sometimes it can be essential.  If a person has only one
              brother, then the brother’s name would be non-essential.  If he has more than one brother, then the
              brother’s name would be essential.
                    Examples: My brother, Bob, lives in New York.  (“I” have only one brother.)
                                     My brother Bob lives in New York. (“I” have two brothers.)

             Ellipses show a pause in thought or speech, or show that speech trails off. A space comes before and after
                  the three periods. Ellipses should be used seldom.
“I never drink ... wine.”  

            A better way would be to revise to avoid ellipses:  "I never drink," he paused, "wine." Or maybe,
                       "I never drink, uh, wine."
Or just write, "I never drink wine."          

Ellipses at the end of a sentence do not have another period, just a space and the three periods.
              We wanted to go to Europe in the spring, but we’ll just have to wait ...

             The better way to write the above sentence would be delete the ellipses and just have a period.

 Do not add ellipses after any other punctuation: not after a question mark, an exclamation point, a comma, or any other punctuation.
Another note - use dashes and ellipses sparingly. Other ways to show hesitation or pauses in dialog is
                       possible. I know because I had to break myself of the same habit.
EM/EN dashes
               Em/en dashes should have a space before and a space after the dash. Dashes show a halt in speech or thought, something has stopped the flow abruptly. Dashes should be used as seldom as possible.
               No – I simply can’t.
            The better way is to revise so that the dash is eliminated:  No, I simply can't.
         Dashes and hyphens are NOT interchangeable. Do not use a hyphen in place of a dash or a dash in place of 
             an hyphen. Double hyphens do NOT make a dash, unless you have programed your word processor to
             cause that action. Using double hyphens or single hyphens in place of a dash makes formatting more

Exclamation marks
            Exclamation marks should be used sparingly, and never in narration or expository sections. When possible, information, action, or tags should show the strong emotion rather than a !. An exclamation point and a tag showing strong emotion should not be used together, or at least seldom.
            Incorrect: “You can’t do that!” Tina cried.              Correct: “You can’t do that,” Tina cried.
Incorrect: Roger jumped to his feet!                    Correct:
Roger jumped to his feet.

           File names should have title of manuscript and date of edits.
            Every manuscript/edited manuscript/revision should have a file name of title version date.
            Authors, after editing by lead editor is finished, is to send a “fresh” manuscript to the chief editor with
                 all edits and notations removed and all revisions finished. File is to be titled title of book, fresh ms,
                 and date:   
example:  Bugs and Company fresh ms 1-27-10

          For manuscripts, Times New Roman 12 is best, with one (1) inch margins all around.
Designer will determine font and size for book when she/he formats.

             Write numbers under 100 in words. Use numerals for 100 and over. If a number begins a sentence, either revise sentence
                    so number is moved, or write number in words.


Pronoun cases:               nominative ( subject)                        objective                                         possessive
1st person                             I                                        me                                       my, mine

2nd person                          you                                       you                                      your, yours
3rd person                           he, she, it                             him, her, it                            his, her, hers, its
1st person                            we                                        us                                       our, ours

 2nd person                          you                                       you                                     your, yours
3rd person                            they                                      them                                  their, theirs
            Nominative (subjective)  cases are used for subjects and predicate nominatives (nouns and pronouns that follow linking verbs and rename the subject) – never for objects. Appositives of subjects and predicate nominatives are also in the nominative (subjective case)
            Objective cases are used for objects only: direct objects, indirect objects, and objects of prepositions, as well as appositives for those objects.  Objective case is never used for a subject.
             Incorrect: Me and John want to go to the game.              Correct: John and I want to go to the game.
             Incorrect: The one who lost the game is him.                 Correct: The one who lost the game is he.
             Incorrect: The game was won by you and he.                 Correct: The game was won by you and him.
             Incorrect: Just between you and I, tomorrow will be fun.  Correct: Just between you and me, tomorrow will be fun.
             Indefinite pronouns are words such as each, someone, somebody, no one, everyone, all, etc. Be sure the pronoun which refers to an indefinite pronoun is the right case and person. Each, someone, somebody, no one, everyone, and everything are singular and require a singular pronoun. Check and be sure whether an indefinite pronoun is singular or plural.
            Incorrect: Everyone keeps their own books.                         Correct: Everyone keeps his (or her) own books.
                                                                                      Or    Correct: All the students keep their own books.

            Clear pronoun reference: Clear pronoun reference is a must, which means readers can easily recognize the antecedent for each personal pronoun. An antecedent is the noun or indefinite pronoun to which the pronoun refers. Pronouns should be close to its antecedent.
            It should not begin a sentence unless its antecedent is near the end of the preceding sentence or “it” refers to the preceding thought, clearly referred.
            Be careful that person pronouns are not confusing, that several males aren’t in the sentence or paragraph so that the reader doesn’t know to which noun the pronouns he, his, him refer.
      Incorrect:  The two men ran toward the burning car.  The flames trapped James. He couldn’t find a way to open
                        any of the doors. The fire sheared his eyebrows. It couldn’t be real.

      Correct:  The two men ran toward the burning car where flames trapped James. None of the three could find a way
                     to open any of the doors. The fire sheared James’ eyebrows. As the heat intensified, the man inside the
                     car couldn’t believe he couldn’t escape.


Part 2 will be posted Monday
4RV Publishing  
4RV Bookstore  

     NOTE: 4RV Christmas book sale begins Monday, October 1.

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