Petty details

Technical advice from my unpaid editing job:

  • Commas are not your enemy!
  • They are also not semi-colons.
  • If you’re American, use the Oxford comma. I mean, everyone should use it, but Americans have no excuse.
  • Spell out numbers under ten.
  • “Answer briefly” does not mean cram everything into a five-line run-on sentence.
  • Don’t use the same phrase within three consecutive sentences (at the least), or the same word, unless it is very common.
  • It’s okay to answer questions with a sentence fragment.
  • Don’t use multiple words to say something when one will do: e.g., there is a word for “boys over eighteen” (men).
  • If you’ve said something already, you don’t need to slightly rephrase it and repeat it a few more times, particularly if you’re trying to conserve space as it is.
  • et al =/= etc; i.e. =/= e.g.
  • Where possible, use “who” for people and “that” for everything else.
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