A Few Quick Writing Tips

Writing Journal

By Dale Spencer, @DaleSpencerwork

After writing the first draft and its revisions, it’s always good to double check for the minor grammatical changes. I’ve listed a few quick writing tips (or US grammar rules) with examples below that are sometimes…forgettable. These rules may vary depending on the situation or country.





Apostrophes Showing Possession (Singular vs. Plural)

Quick rules for possession of words that end with the letter “s.”

Singular example that applies to an individual’s possession: Thomas’s house smelled like chocolate.

“Thomas’s” may look weird, but it’s actually grammatically correct in the sentence above.

Plural example that applies to more than one person’s possession: The Thomas’ dog is named Spot.

For more apostrophe rules, check out: The Grammar Book.

Ellipses Usage in Dialogue

They’re good for showing pauses in dialogue such as nervousness or lost in thought.

Nervousness example: “Hi. I was wondering…would you like to see a movie tonight?”
Lost in thought example: “I just saw my keys on the counter a while back…”

For a better understanding, check out: The Write Practice.

Em-dash Usage in Dialogue

Em-dash is a double dash line. The best way to make one is “CTRL” + “ALT” + “negative sign dash.” It’s good to use for speech interruptions.

Typical example: “But aren’t we going to the—”
Middle of speech example: “—not sure which one I should pick. Are you even listening to me?”
Dialogue interruption example: “If you’re looking for the bathroom”—the security guard pointed down the hall—“go all the way down and turn right. It’s the first door on your left.”

For more helpful examples, check out: Punctuation Made Simple.

Do you know of any tricky grammar rules? 

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