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Title Hierarchy Description Developer Edit link
my instead of me Before Gerund

The use of a possessive determiner (my) instead of an objective personal pronoun (me) before a gerund lends formality.

György Chityil - George
Indefinite Article - Subject Agreement Articles

Indefinite articles, a/an, take singular nouns only.

  • Incorrect: "A big beds of roses"
  • Correct: "A big bed of roses"
György Chityil - George
Proper Nouns Do Not Take Articles Nouns

Proper nouns (e.g. John, Alice and India) do not take articles. 

  • Incorrect: The New York is a lovely city.
  • Correct: New York is a lovely city.
György Chityil - George
Hyphenate number plus noun compound modifiers Hyphens

Hyphenate compound adjectives in which one element is a cardinal or ordinal number (whether a figure or a word) and the other a noun (for example, "six-month period", "12-person capacity"). The introduction of the "open" style into the 1985 Statute Revision (for example, six month period) has been superseded.

György Chityil - George
Hyphenate comparative and superlative adjectives when compoundeded with modifiers Hyphens

Comparative and superlative forms of adjectives are hyphenated when compounded with other modifiers (for example,"shorter-term loan").

György Chityil - George
Hyphenate noun-plus-adjective compound modifiers Hyphens

Hyphenate noun-plus-adjective compounds - when they occur in that order - whether used attributively (before the noun) or predicatively (after the noun) (for example, \"duty-free goods\", \"goods that are duty-free\").

György Chityil - George
Hyphenate article + preposition + noun compound adjectives Hyphens

Preposition-plus-noun compound adjectives are hyphenated as well (for example,"after-tax income").

György Chityil - George
Stacked Modifiers and Nouns Style

Avoid using long strings of modifiers or nouns. These stacked modifiers and nouns can be hard to read and sometimes create ambiguity. Add a few words (especially prepositions and conjunctions) to make the relationships between nouns clear to the reader.

Weak Example

Previous work has shown that a purified pro-oxidant, vitamin E-deficient fish oil diet protects mice against malaria parasites.

Improved Example

Previous work has shown that feeding a pro-oxidant diet containing fish oil, but devoid of vitamin E, protects mice against malaria parasites.

--Orville A. Levande et al., "Protection against Murine Cerebral Malaria by Dietary-Induced Oxidative Stress," Journal of Parasitology

György Chityil - George
Passive Voice Style

Many scholars promote turning passive voice into active voice.

The Columbia Guide to Standard American English (1993) stated that:

Active voice makes subjects do something (to something); passive voice permits subjects to have something done to them (by someone or something). Some argue that active voice is more muscular, direct, and succinct, passive voice flabbier, more indirect, and wordier. If you want your words to seem impersonal, indirect, and noncommittal, passive is the choice, but otherwise, active voice is almost invariably likely to prove more effective.[10]

György Chityil - George
Adverbs ending in ly Style

While an adverb ending with -ly has no grammatical problem, many consider it as bad style. Straight from "On Writing Well, 5th Edition" by William Zinsser: "Most adverbs are unnecessary. You will clutter your sentence and annoy the reader if you choose a verb that has a specific meaning and then add an adverb that carries the same meaning. Don't tell us that the radio blared loudly - "blare" connotes loudness. Don't write that someone clenched his teeth tightly - there's no other way to clench teeth. Again and again in careless writing, strong verbs are weakened by redundant adverbs."

So instead of using an adverb that modifies a verb, make sure you have a strong verb instead.

Zsofia Miko