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Joined: December 21, 2006  (email not validated)
Comments posted: 6
Votes received: 19

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Recent Comments

One. Using two spaces is a holdover from typewriter days. Modern word processors adjust the spacing between words, and even letters, automatically -- a feature that wasn't available on typewriters.

Also, most of the fonts we use these days are variable-width, meaning that the characters take up different amounts of space on the line. (Compare the width of a lowercase I to an uppercase W in most of your fonts and you'll see what I mean). This was not possible with typewriters, where every character had to be the width of the hammers on the machine. Back then you needed two spaces just to break the monotony of the page.

Similarly, you only use one space after colons too, despite what your typing teacher may have taught you years ago. In fact, I can't think of a single instance where you use two spaces these days...

becker May 30, 2008, 6:25am

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At least in reporting, that is, AP Style, we try to avoid using extraneous punctuation wherever we can, and I'm of a mind that "90s" rather than "90's" looks more elegant. But that's personal bias.

I would advise that you used apostrophes today only when they are needed to avoid confusion, as with "They all got A's on the test." Without the apostrophe, as porsche said, the word could be confused with "as."

As for your possessive problem, I think what you've got is technically correct, but I'm not sure. I recommend rewording in a way that avoids the problem, like saying "our house" and then clarifying with another sentence as needed.

Michael Becker August 16, 2007, 9:00am

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I agree that you don't need any comma at all, and unless you're being VERY proper, you would probably omit the Ltd. afterward--that's how the AP handles company suffixes like that.

Michael Becker June 30, 2007, 8:25pm

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"Troops" is a less personal word. It sounds far better to lose a certain number of "troops" in combat than it does to lose a certain number of "soldiers."

I also think the word "soldier" connotes more of a honorable, proud heritage than "troop." When TIME named its person of the year a few years ago, it was not the "American Trooper" who was honored, it was the "American Soldier."

Soldiers sound more impressive, more valuable than troops. I wonder if we can tell a media outlet's intentions from their usage of either words?

Becker April 6, 2007, 5:31pm

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The odds are, your professor is a purist and sees the word "societal" as jargon or a corruption of the word "social." Many feel the same way about nominalizations (ironically like "nominalization") or buzz-words like "truthiness." I think the lesson your professor is trying to teach is to use simple language and not get lost in what could potentially become a cloud of PC-isms.

Mike February 9, 2007, 4:49pm

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I agree with porsche. "Exact same" probably qualifies as a adjectival phrase, one that is in common usage. In the example someone used, "exact same" modifies "coat" in the same way that "dark blue" does.

becker December 21, 2006, 11:41pm

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