This is tricky!

I needed to check this up with Grammar Girl again! 😉 And I wasn’t really surprised to read that the spelling of do’s and don’ts is inconsistent. Even style guides and usage books don’t appear to agree on the correct punctuation.

The Chicago Manual of Style and others recommend dos and don’ts. The Associated Press and others recommend do’s and don’ts. While Eats, Shoots & Leaves (on my bookshelf) recommends do’s and don’t’s.

Whichever version you choose, just be consistent!


More punctuation marks

I always forget the correct German translation of “quotation marks” (also known as “inverted commas”). It’s “Anführungszeichen” (I’ve just looked it up). I always call them “Tüddelchen“. People often laugh at me when I use this word. However, I’ve just checked and found that it comes from the north of Germany. Perhaps that’s where I learned to use the word. I lived in Hamburg many years ago.

If you’re not sure how to use these punctuation marks, this article is sure to help you (link to: Purdue OWL). Just be careful! In English the form and the position of the inverted commas are different to German. The first set of inverted commas look like small figures of ‘6’ and the last set like small figures of ‘9’. Both are positioned at a higher level. Take a look at the picture here. Can you see the difference?



Idea’s or ideas?

In a workshop I held not long ago, a participant wrote the following on the flip chart: “Idea’s about new projects”. All he really wanted to do was to form the plural of the word ‘idea’. He should have just added an ‘s’ without the apostrophe.

If you’d like to know when to use the apostrophe, take a look at this excellent article (link to: Purdue OWL).