Wednesday, January 23, 2013

3 Quick Grammar Tips for Textbook Authors

Sometimes you just have to vent. This is one of those times.

Health care textbook authors, listen up, I've got a few grammar and usage tips for you.

#1  Enough with the reminders, already

Stop writing, "as mentioned previously," "as we'll discuss in chapter X," and other such reminders. If you mention something previously there's no need to call attention to it again. Just go on with what you're talking about, it will be okay.

And if you're going to talk about something later, don't tell the reader about it now. What good does that do? Just say what you're going to say, and let the reader find the new material later. It will be more fun that way!

#2  i.e. and e.g.

Hate these little, archaic abbreviations. Hate them like poison. Why?

Because they represent lazy writing. What, you can't write out that is? You have to write i.e.? Is for example or for instance (e.g.) so difficult?

Don't make the reader think back and ask, Wait, what does "i.e." mean again?

YOU know what it means, so just write it!

#3  Punctuation outside quotation marks

If you're writing for a U.S. audience, put the hang-danged quotation marks OUTSIDE the punctuation!

Yes, yes, I know, the marks go inside a colon or semi-colon most of the time, but that's the exception. It's  much better to get the exception wrong sometimes and the "rule" right most of the time, don't you think?

Thanks for listening.