Garblog's Pages

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Garbl's Plain English Writing Guide

Since Thursday, Oct. 13, is International Plain Language Day, I'm posting a link my website on plain language, aka plain English: Garbl's Plain English Writing Guide.

Plain English is an approach to writing that concentrates on the needs of your readers. This clear writing approach is often called plain language because of its international value and use in other languages. It is ideal for people who write to and for clients, customers, employees, organization members, ratepayers, students, equipment and software users, and taxpayers. It's especially useful for nonfiction but can be applied to fiction. It helps us write for people who read at all levels of time, interest, education and literacy. It also benefits readers with limited English proficiency or learning disabilities.

Plain English principles can help you write clearly and concisely. Plain English matches the needs of your readers with your needs as a writer, leading to effective, efficient communication. It is effective because your readers can understand your message. It is efficient because your readers can understand your message the first time they read it. That reader focus--combined with logical organization, clear writing and inviting appearance--is key to creating usable, informative documents for your organization.

Monday, June 27, 2016

It's not bad grammar - Baltimore Sun

John McIntyre writes in the Baltimore Post:
"An additional mistake is to give the written dialect of English primacy over the spoken, as if written standard English were the 'correct' form of the language and speech a corrupted version. People who think that have got the wrong end of the stick. Speech is the primary language, which we are learning in infancy long before schooling. Speech is where new words and new usages of old words arise, the place where language evolves."

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Memorial Day versus Veterans Day

Not intending to launch a battle between these two U.S. holidays, I'd like to reduce the confusion between the two. They have different, distinct purposes.

As described in Garbl's Editorial Style and Usage Manual:

Memorial Day Capitalize the U.S. holiday for honoring men and women who died while serving in the country's armed forces. Since 1971, it's been celebrated the last Monday in May. Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day, which commemorated the sacrifices of Civil War soldiers. For the holiday honoring men and women who have served in the U.S. armed forces, see Veterans Day.

Veterans Day Capitalize. No apostrophe according to the U.S. statute establishing the legal holiday to honor all men and women who have served in the U.S. armed forces. Since 1978, it's been celebrated on Nov. 11. Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day to honor people who served in World War I. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, formerly the Veterans Administration, also takes no apostrophe. For the U.S. holiday honoring men and women who died while serving in the country's armed forces, see Memorial Day.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Chicago Style Q&A: New Questions and Answers - New Questions and Answers

I get a monthly email announcing the latest Q&A. This one is for May 2016.

For me, the questions and answers run from useful to interesting to irrelevant.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

From Baby Boomers to Millennials

I keep reading about Generation X and millennials as generations that follow my generation of baby boomers. But I haven't been sure what years they cover. So I did a bit of web searching. I added entries of what I found out to Garbl's Editorial Style and Usage Manual.

Some demographers, historians and commentators narrow the birth years and then try to describe the interests of people within each generation. My style manual entries don't dabble with that interest stuff.

baby boomer Two words, no hyphen, lowercase. The post-World War II population surge, or baby boom, ran from 1946 to 1964. The terms, though not the people they refer to, are approaching triteness. 

Generation X Capitalized. The generation born after the baby boomers (1946 to 1964). Generation X spans birth dates ranging from the early 1960s to the early 1980s. Gen X is acceptable on second reference. Members of this generation are Gen Xers

millennials Members of the generation following Generation X (early 1960s to early 1980s). Millennials have birthdates ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s. Also known as Generation Y. There doesn't seem to be a widely used term for the next generation (the early 2000s onward), though Generation Z has its adherents. 

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