To Our Esteemed Contributors
(Current and Future)
1. Few circumstances warrant punctuation outside of quotation marks. Hence, “All’s well that ends well.” Not “ends well”. There are exceptions to this rule, but chances are good that none of us will encounter them more than a couple of times in our lifetime!
2. Always use one space after commas, periods, colons, semi-colons, and question marks.
3. Never use hyphen marks (-) when the dash (—) is required. Only use the hyphen mark to hyphenate words, e.g., “writer-director.”
4. Never justify right-hand margins.
5. Always use italics for the names of books, plays, movies, magazines, etc., e.g., The De Vinci Code, On the Waterfront, etc.
6. Always use quotes (“ ”) for names of articles, quotations, characters in plays, etc., e.g., A Streetcar Named Desire has two unforgettable characters, “Stanley Kowalski” and “Blanche DuBois.” (Also “” title of photographs.)
7. Always use single quotation marks (‘) only when bound by double quotation marks (“ ”), e.g., Jack said that “A splitting headache was the cause of the ‘unusual’ thing that happened to him that day.”
8. Always spell out the numbers one through ten, and use numerals (11—) thereafter.
9. Always use semi-colons, not commas, to join independent clauses.
10. Do not use CAPS or underlining within the body of an article. If emphasis is needed, use italics. The title of an article or column, however, should be written in CAPITAL LETTERS. The preferred format is, e.g., A TALE OF TWO CITIES By Charles Dickens (Only the title should be in caps.)
11. Proofread material to eliminate unnecessary words. Everyone should read Getting the Words Right by Theodore Cheney—one of the best books ever written on re-writing.
12. Put statements in positive form. Use active, not passive, voice.
13. Use specific examples.
14. Instead of relying on adjectives and adverbs, use vivid nouns and action verbs.
15. Keep exclamation marks (!) to an absolute minimum.
16. Avoid overusing gerunds (words ending in “ing”) whenever possible.
17. Never begin a declaration with “The truth is . . .” or “The facts are . . .” or “frankly.” This implies that all other declarative sentences not commenced in such a way are not to be trusted. It’s also boring.
18. Avoid qualifiers such as rather, very, little, pretty, etc. Their use is the mark of an inexperienced writer.
19. Use the U.S. spelling instead of the British. Hence, favor rather than favour, etc.
20. Only submit material that has been carefully checked for spelling, punctuation and clarity.
21. When submitting material by e-mail, write in the subject line only the title of the article, such as All Quiet on the Western Front, or if it is a regular column, Name of Column–and month. Never use the subject line for a salutation, or something so vague as “New Column” or “New Article.” Always put your name on the material itself. Articles that arrive without the name of the writer are usually discarded.
When submitting hard copy, it should be single-spaced, and with the font Times Roman 14. Page numbers should be marked, with the author’s name always on the material. Also make sure each paragraph contains at least five sentences. Single sentence paragraphs take too much space and seem affected, if not downright silly.
Strict adherence to such standards will make our job here at the office much easier, as well as help to get your article published.