Most organisations have an idea of how they want to be portrayed to clients or the public. They will have a brand and know what their values are.
With many people all creating writing on behalf of an organisation, including freelance copywriters or editors, it would be difficult to be consistent across all communications without a reference tool.
Creating and using a writing style guide makes an organisation look professional, ensures clear communication, and creates a cohesive brand.
A client may not consciously recognise that there is consistency in the writing style choices, but they will notice if there is not.
Social media, networking and email subscription have long been on everyone’s marketing plan. Publishing a book is now the trend.
Many successful businesses have launched their business, or grew their business, by publishing a book.
A book can set a you or your business apart and show your expertise. It can show that you are an authority on a particular subject; that people can turn to you to find the answers they need, either by purchasing your book or by talking to you directly.
Most businesses that have published a book use it as a marketing tool, but not a source of income. A book will most likely not generate a huge profit on its own, but it can bring other benefits to your business.
‘What if I share my writing with someone else? What happens if they steal my idea?’
I get asked this all this time. It's natural for writers to be protective of their work.
But are these writers’ concerns warranted?
And what if you want to use song lyrics in your writing? Or you want to use a quote from someone long passed away that you found on a quote website? Can you?
I always feel like the semicolon is one of the more sophisticated punctuation marks, and also that it scares people a little.
It tends to be used more in formal writing, but it has its place in fiction too. It can be very useful to subtly convey a relationship between two thoughts without using more words.
And there is no need to fear it if you know how to use it correctly.
When the student got to school, they realised they had forgotten their lunch.
There are three examples of the singular they in that sentence. Did you notice? Would you have written it any differently?
Of course, I could have written:
When the student got to school, he or she realised he or she had forgotten his or her lunch.
That’s a bit unwieldy! And potentially wrong. But definitely not inclusive.
Italic font was first used in presses in Italy the 1500s and was designed to replicate the handwritten manuscripts of the time. Italic font was used differentiate informal manuscripts created for leisure reading from formal manuscripts, which used Roman type. It wasn’t until the sixteenth century that italic font was used for emphasis.
Today it has several more uses, but it’s important to not overuse it, as this can lead to readability issues, especially when taking into account accessibility.
As an aside, the first letter of italics is pronounced the same as the i in sit – not as eye.
NZE: How to write times and dates.
We all know the rhyme 1, 2, buckle my shoe. 3, 4, knock on the door.
Or should it be One, two, buckle my shoe. Three, four, knock on the door?
This article is about how to use numbers and numerals within formal and informal writing to make sure it is consistent and easy to read. These rules are not applicable to very technical or scientific writing, and in those cases the appropriate style guide should be referred to.
When using numbers in writing, whether it’s fiction, non-fiction or business documents, the main issue is whether to spell out the number or whether to use figures, but there are some other rules and exceptions to consider.
We use abbreviations and acronyms every day without thinking about them, and we instantly know the meaning of many of them – abbreviations like FAQs, ETA, IQ, DVDs … And today's text language is full of abbreviations LOL (or lol if you are of the younger generation).
When writing, it can be confusing knowing how to write abbreviations and acronyms correctly, and as there are only small style variations, it doesn’t always look wrong to use one or the other.
However, to make your writing look professional, there are some style decisions you will need to make when writing in New Zealand English text, so we’ll have a look at what the options are.
As always, rule number one is to be consistent within a document, and even across all your writing. It doesn’t look professional, and can cause confusion, if you have, for example, 9 am in one place, but
9 a.m. in another.
But first things first: what are abbreviations and acronyms?
1. What is dialogue?
2. Punctuation rules for dialogue
3. Internal dialogue (thoughts)
4. What next?
Dialogue is notoriously complicated to punctuate and many writers struggle to get it right. It also doesn’t help that there is a difference in the way dialogue is punctuated between New Zealand English and American English. But readers will notice if you get it wrong (even if they can’t say why they think it’s wrong!).
Just like all punctuation, dashes provide information so that we can understand the intended meaning and nuances of a sentence.
Hyphens, en dashes and em dashes (also call en rules and em rules) all have different roles to play, but many people don’t know what they do – or have never noticed that there are actually three types of dashes. And it doesn’t help that only one is easily found on the computer keyboard.
Hi, I'm Marja!
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New Zealand English Series
The Editing Process