Review of “Cleaning Your Copy”

This week’s News University’s course was “Cleaning Your Copy: Grammar, Style, and More.” This course was very thorough and helped me review quite a bit of grammar rules. Last semester I took English Composition II, and I was required to read Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing by Mignon Fogarty. While some of what was covered in the book was review for me, Grammar Girl offered many creative tips to help people better remember grammar rules that can sometimes be quite tedious. This News U course refreshed much of what was covered in Grammar Girl’s book, but also covered some things I do not remember being in the book.

What I learned:

  • I’m better at post-tests than pre-tests.
  • It is important to pay attention to location when using modifiers.
  • There is not a substitute for his or her, and them is not a substitute for he or she.
  • Who and whom refer to people, while that and which refer to animals or things.
  • Whom is to be used when a person is an object.
  • The abbreviations Ave., Blvd., and St. should only be used with a numbered address. “Southeastern University is located on Longfellow Blvd.” is an incorrect sentence.
  • Compass points used to indicate directional ends of a street or quadrants of a city in a numbered address should be abbreviated.
  • Ages used as adjectives before a noun or as substitutes for a noun need hyphens. For example, “My 32-year-old professor, Barbara Nixon, makes learning about writing for digital media interesting and fun.”
  • The states Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah are never abbreviated in copy, and you should keep a list for the ones that are.
  • Spell out numbers less than 10 in distances.
  • Colons are used between two sentences that present contrasting ideas and between two clauses when the second thought adds to the first. You are to capitalize the first word after a colon if it is a proper noun or the start of a complete sentence.
  • Use farther for a literal distance. Use further for time or degree.
What surprised me:
  • For singular common nouns ending in s, add ‘s unless the next word begins with s. I thought you just always were supposed to only add the apostrophe.
  • Adding an s to afterward determines whether you use the correct word or not. Using afterward is the same as using toward.
  • It’s not all right to use alright.
This News U course covered everything that I would have ever wondered about grammar. Anything and everything that I have struggled with when it comes to grammar was reviewed.
Questions for the reader:
  • What do you struggle most with when it comes to grammar?
  • What do you want to know more about after reading through the News U course?
  • What works for you when it comes to cleaning your copy? How many times do you proofread?
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