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Friday, June 06, 2008

Is Knowing English Grammar a L337 Skill?

My manager had a lot of little comments and nitpicks on a document I sent out yesterday. He's notorious for this stuff. He's the kind of guy who gets really bent out of shape about the different between a hyphen, an em dash, and an en dash. Most of the time I just roll my eyes and do it his way, but today he was citing number one through twelve should not be written in numerals. I'd actually made a choice in my content to write 7 days as 7 instead of seven because there were other day citations in the paragraph (30 days, 14 days, etc.) that were numerals and I thought the consistency would make for easier scanning. This was definitely a style choice for web readability, but I was willing to go with his desire for seven. Except he said that numbers one through twelve should be written out, not one through ten. According to MLA standards, it's one through ten. So I looked it up and cited the section and wrote back asking to which style guide are we beholden.

And then I chuckled to myself. Don't go to the mat with the former English major/English teacher. She's actually armed.

6 Comments:

  • what version of the MLA? back when i was taking english classes in college, our MLA handbook said "under thirteen". I think they're on 6th or 7th edition now, and that was from the 5th edition.

    By Blogger christophe, at 2:21 PM  

  • Chicago Manual of Style:

    I'd actually made a choice in my content to write 7 days as 7 instead of seven because there were other day citations in the paragraph … that were numerals

    "Where many numbers occur within a paragraph or a series of paragraphs, maintain consistency in the immediate context. If according to rule you must use numerals for one of the numbers in a given category, use them for all in that category."

    According to MLA standards, it's one through ten.

    "In nontechnical contexts, the following are spelled out: whole numbers from one through one hundred, round numbers, and any number beginning a sentence."

    APA matches the quoted MLA guideline, although I have seen other ranges attributed to MLA.

    By Blogger Michael, at 4:37 PM  

  • Which is really the key - it's not a rule; it's a style guideline. Neither is right or wrong. It's just a matter of style.

    By Blogger Ammy, at 6:22 PM  

  • I'm surprised SU doesn't have its own style guide.

    By Blogger Mr. Bill, at 12:22 AM  

  • Which is really the key - it's not a rule; it's a style guideline. Neither is right or wrong. It's just a matter of style.

    tell that to my old English professor :-p. She was a hawk on grammar and sticking to MLA religiously. On the upside, our class was one of a great few in Florida who actually studied and learned english grammar.

    By Blogger christophe, at 11:24 AM  

  • English is one of the most important languages in the world. It can even be said to be the single most important language.Other languages are important too\

    important ESL writing

    By Blogger nancy john, at 11:56 PM  

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