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 each of them does – 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.
What’s the time, Mr Wolfy?
Four o’clock ... or is it 4 pm? Or 4.00 p.m.?
This was a game I played when I was young. But I never had to write it down. What if you did? How would you write it?
It can be confusing when deciding how to write times and dates, especially with so many different ways of doing it.
Is it Charles' book or Charles's book?
And is it right or wrong when we see signs in supermarkets selling banana's and apple's?
And finally, if the Jones family own a house. Whose house is it? The Jones’s house, the Jones’ house or the Joneses’ house?
Let’s go back to the basics to work it out.
Is it colour or color? Behaviour or behavior?
Most New Zealanders know that New Zealand English (NZE) uses colour and behaviour, following British English (BrE) spelling.
So, are there any differences between NZE and BrE spelling?
Marja Stack is a copy-editor and proofreader based in New Zealand. Her business, Clearlingo Editing and Proofreading, caters to all writers of fiction or non-fiction books. For more information or enquiries for how she can help you make your book shine, please see her website: www.clearlingo.co.nz.
New Zealand English Series
- NZE: The 'singular they'
- NZE: How to use italics
- NZE: How to write numbers
- NZE: How to write abbreviations
- NZE: How to punctuate dialogue
- NZE: hyphens, en dashes and em dashes
- NZE: How to write times and dates
- NZE: Possessives
- NZE: Is our spelling different?
- NZE: Burned vs Burnt
- NZE: Using Māori words in English text
- NZE: -ise vs -ize endings
- NZE: Single or double quote marks
- NZE: Punctuation inside or outside quotation marks?
The Editing Process
- How to self-publish your book in New Zealand
- When is my book ready for publishing?
- Types of editing
- 5 things to tell your editor
- The revision and editing process
- What are beta readers?
- What to expect when you get your manuscript back
- How to order the pages of a book
- Fact checking fiction writing
- Formatting your manuscript for submission
- How long does it take to edit a book?
- Why I belong to editing associations
- How to write recipes for cookbooks and blogs
- How to use Tracked Changes in Word
- How to use basic Word Styles
- How to fix common formatting errors in Word