Usage Tips

This category contains 3 posts

percent or per cent?

Percent is one word in American English, while outside the US, most publications prefer the two-word version (per cent). Choosing between them is a matter of preference, but make sure you are consistent in your choice.

comma before ‘and’ in a list? The serial comma

The serial comma, or the Oxford comma as it is popularly known, is the comma before the conjunction at the end of a list. In British English, using it is optional. However, most style guidelines mark this as mandatory in the US. It is certainly preferable, especially in academic writing, to use the serial comma … Continue reading

‘Dear,’ no dear, or ‘Hi’? How to address people in formal correspondence

Some of the following points are meant specifically for readers in India, based on my experience of the sort of mistakes they tend to make in choosing salutations. For formal letters (non-electronic) Dear Mr Taylor, or Dear Professor Sen (for someone you don’t know well, have a formal relationship with, or especially if they are your … Continue reading

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