Why hyphens matter

Some people think hyphens are unnecessary; others overuse them. It's a divisive topic even among copy editors. But if you think hyphens don't matter, consider the following examples: People who believe in hate-free speech are quite different from those who hate free speech. You'd likely react differently to a man eating chicken than you would … Continue reading Why hyphens matter


When to use the Oxford comma (gasp!)

Ah, the Oxford comma. It's at the center of one of the most contentious copy-editing debates of all time. Today, I'll clear up a long-held misconception about this famous grammar dispute and provide guidance on when to use this infamous punctuation, to ensure your writing conveys the intended meaning. What is the Oxford comma? The … Continue reading When to use the Oxford comma (gasp!)

When to use a semicolon

Ah, the semicolon; it's the most misunderstood punctuation mark. Some say it’s pretentious; others value its precision. Some uses of the semicolon are non-negotiable; others are stylistic choices. Regardless, many people just don't know how to use it properly. Here, I've outlined a basic guide to using the semicolon; there are some other, very nuanced … Continue reading When to use a semicolon


When to use a colon

This week's tip is brought to you by an often-misunderstood punctuation mark: the colon. When to use a colon:   To introduce a list, tabulation or text, where the text preceding the colon is a sentence that can stand on its own   New England comprises six states: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and … Continue reading When to use a colon