DCBS Stylebook June 2006 Department of Consumer Business serviCes Stylebook DCBS Communications Section Services Pri

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DCBS Stylebook June 2006 Department of Consumer Business serviCes Stylebook DCBS Communications Section Services Pri Powered By Docstoc

   June 2006
Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                                  Stylebook

 DCBS Communications Section
      Print design                                 Writing
       & production                                & editing
 Graphic designers in Communications           Expert writing and editing help present
 work with you to create printed materials     your message with clarity and conciseness.
 that suit your purpose and budget.            • News articles
 • Newsletters, booklets, brochures,           • Editorials, guest columns
   and flyers                                  • Reports
 • Forms & interactive forms for Web use       • News releases
 • Posters, displays & signage                 • Ad copy
 • Advertisements                              • Fact sheets
 • Bulletins, reports                          • Letters
 • Letters                                     • Interviews
 • CDs                                         • Editing, proofing, rewrites, and revisions
 • Award certificates                          • Powerpoint presentations
 • Covers, folders, placards, badges
 • Other specialty items                           Media &
 Print design and production services:              public relations
 • Design consultation                         Professional services can make the most
 • Illustrations and other graphic elements    of a message, strategy, or an event.
 • Photography and photo scanning              • Communications consultations
 • Selection of color, paper, and type fonts   • Crisis communications
 • Layout that attracts readership             • Public service campaigns
 • Revisions of existing publications          • News media response
 • Files in formats needed by printers         • Press conferences
 • Coordination of publications in series      • NewsNet radio program
 • File archiving for future use               • News-story development
 • Send-to-print services                      • Presentations to groups
                                               • Outreach
     Web page design
      & maintenance                                Training
 The Communications Section designs                   The Communications Section helps
 and maintains Web sites and Web pages                employees in DCBS’ divisions help
 that are clean, clear, and cool, too.         themselves improve skills.
 • Planning                                    • Media training
 • Design                                      • Writing & editing training
 • Organization                                • Web design assistance
 • Updating/uploading                          • Individual coaching

        Call Communications for help, (503) 947-7006.
  Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                                    Stylebook

Table of Contents
Foreword .................................................................................... 2

Why good writing is important ................................................. 3

Five steps to help with your writing process ............................ 4

Using reference materials .......................................................... 6

Creating publications at DCBS .................................................. 7

The editing process.................................................................... 7

Tips for self-editing .................................................................... 9

Formatting and style tips......................................................... 0

Proofreading/editing marks .................................................... 2

Choosing punctuation ............................................................. 3

Quick-check list for proofing ................................................... 8

Alphabetical entries ................................................................. 9

About press releases and publicity .......................................... 52

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes               Stylebook
   As the new editor in the DCBS            You can request free copies
Communications Section, I hope          of the DCBS St ylebook from
this stylebook continues to be a        Communications, (503) 947-7897,
handy tool to help you with             for anyone who needs or wants
everyday writing and editing. The       them. You can also find the DCBS
DCBS Stylebook was produced by          Stylebook on our internal Web
my predecessor and has been             site, cbs.state.or.us/internal/.
updated several times over the
                                           If you have any questions
years. I have updated it once
                                        about this stylebook or editing
again, addressing issues and
                                        in general, feel free to call me
questions that have come up
                                        anytime. My goal is to be a true
during my first several months at
                                        partner with the divisions in
DCBS. I will be working on a more
                                        ma k ing D CB S publications
extensive update later this year.
                                        even more clear, concise, and
   This stylebook is designed to        consistent.
be a quick guide that is easy to
use and understand. If you              Lisa Morawski
encounter something that this           Communications Section
book does not address, or if you        Oregon Department of
want more detailed information          Consumer & Business Services
about a topic, I encourage you to
call me at (503) 947-7897 or
consult one of the reference
books listed on page 6.

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                  Stylebook
        Why good writing is important
   No matter what a gency,                  It’s a common misperception
division, or section you work for,       that writing is simple, that
writing skills are important. You        anyone — or even a software
need to be able to present               program — can deliver a clear,
information understandably.              concise press release, article,
Clear writing improves access to         ad, report, or business letter. But
benefit s, infor mat ion, a nd           software cannot replace skilled
services. Clear documents help           writers. Hiring people with
people understand what                   writing skills is less expensive in
government is doing and what it          the long run than trying to make
asks of them.                            writers of staff members who are
                                         not writers.
   Unclear documents take
readers a long time to digest —             That sa id, a nyone ca n
more time than they’re willing to        improve his or her writing skills
spend, in many cases. Unclear            with the desire to improve,
documents create a bad image             training, and practice.
for your program and agency
— not to mention the writer. Ill-
conceived and poorly executed
rules, laws, letters, manuals,
brochures, press releases, Web
sites, and other forms of so-
called communication destroy
relationships and waste huge
amounts of money and time.

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                  Stylebook
Five steps to help with your writing process
If you have difficulty                      If, after a reasonable amount
starting (or finishing) a               of time, you do feel panicky, you
                                        may be experiencing “writer’s
writing project, here are               block.” It may be because you’re
some steps that may help:               delaying the next important
    Take the time you need to           Two
gather information and consider             Get a first draft on paper (or
what you want to write and even         into your computer). Don’t put
why you want to write it. Ask           off this active part of the creative
ple nt y of que st ion s. Re ad         process too long, waiting for
documents or publications               everything to become crystal
similar to what you want to             clear in your mind before you
create. It helps to sketch (yes,        commit to paper. It won’t. You
with pictures, a rrows, a nd            need to see it on paper or on
circles) or outline your project,       screen to see how it flows — or
if you don’t have a clear picture       doesn’t. It won’t get better and
of it in mind.                          better up there in your head.
   Unless you have total freedom        Putting something on paper
on the project, make sure you           helps you refine or redefine the
and your boss and other parties         project. It gives you something
with an interest in the project         solid to bend, shape, and apply
have similar ideas about the            finishing touches to.
purpose, content, and audience.
Brainstorm with them. Go over           Three
what you’ve got. Make notes                 Get away from your first draft
about what you need.                    for a while. If you can leave it for
                                        24 hours or more and then go
   Good writing takes time. At          back to it, great. If all you can do
the beg inning of a w riting            is walk away from your desk and
project, you may not appear to          get a cup of coffee or a breath of
be accomplishing anything, and          fresh air, do it. When you come
you may not feel like you are,          back to your project, you’ll
either, but this is part of the         discover better ways to organize
creative process, so don’t panic.       the information, points you need
Your brain is doing some internal       to add, mater ia l t hat is
organization.                           extraneous, sentences that can
                                        be improved, and grammar and
                                        spelling corrections to make.

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                    Stylebook
   All writers who care about              Five
the quality of what they write                 After rewriting, leave your
must proof, edit, and rewrite              work for a while, review it, and
everything, including ad copy,             then give it to an editor or proof-
news items, text for forms,                reader qualified to make final
scripts, press releases, and               revisions or at least highlight
business letters. It may be                possible problems and give it
tedious, but it’s necessary. And,          back to you. Don’t skip this
on the bright side, you may see            step, even when you’re feeling
new possibilities as you proof,            pressured to get your project to
edit, and rewrite.                         the printer, and you believe that
                                           it’s perfect. This is when the big-
Four                                       gest “bloopers” can slip expen-
    Time to rewrite ! Perhaps
                                           sively and embarrassingly into
you’ll just need to move a few
                                           print — like spelling the name of
chunks of text and change a word
                                           your agency wrong. (See Quick-
here and there. Often, though,
                                           check list for proofing, page 12.)
yo u r do c u m e nt w i l l n e e d
substantial changes. That’s OK.                At some point, you’ve got to
The process up to this point has           put your work out there in the
made you more familiar with                public eye. What’s important is
your text and your project, and            finding the best moment to let it
you will edit your text with ease.         fly — sometime after the first
If you’re obligated to have it             draft and before the 99th. You
reviewed by several parties, they          owe it to your reader to have
also may require changes.                  done the best you can to present
                                           your information clearly and
                                           accurately. And you owe it to
                                           your employer to get it done as
                                           efficiently as possible.

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                   Stylebook
              Using reference materials
   DCBS uses the AP Stylebook             n The Elements of Grammar by
and Briefing on Media Law as one            Margaret Shertzer
of its main references because            n The Elements of Style by
of the publication’s clarity and            William Strunk and E.B. White
relative ease of use. This doesn’t
                                          n The Careful Writer by
mean that DCBS always follows
                                            Theodore Bernstein
AP style, but it does mean that
AP’s stylebook is a reference             n Modern American Usage by
that DCBS writers should have               Wilson Follett
and use. Don’t miss its helpful           n On Writing Well by
AP Internet Guide.                          William Zinsser
   Everyone who writes should             n Lapsing Into a Comma: A
have an up-to-date dictionary.              Curmudgeon’s Guide to the
Professional writers and editors            Many Things That Can Go
                                            Wrong in Print — and How to
use dictionaries every day. That’s
                                            Avoid Them by Bill Walsh
because words aren’t always
written the way we think they             n Words, Words, Words by
are, and sometimes they don’t               John Bremner
mean what we think they mean.             n The Well-Tempered Sentence
And everyone has days when the              by Karen Elizabeth Gordon
simplest word just looks wrong.
                                          n The Chicago Manual of Style
(Don’t they?)
                                             These books are available at
    Language changes continu-
                                          bookstores, office supply stores,
ally. Because our mission here
                                          or on the Internet. You may find
doesn’t include speeding the
                                          them in used bookstores or your
evolution of written language,
                                          local public or university library.
consult your dictionary. In it,
                                          There are many other style
you’ll usually want to select the
                                          guides available, some specific
first choice among spellings
                                          to professions or industries.
found there.
                                             Depending on where you
   The AP stylebook recom-
                                          work , you may f i nd t he se
mends Webster’s New World Col-
                                          reference works indispensable:
lege Dictionary, Fourth Edition.
                                          n Barron’s Dictionary of Finance
    Consider getting one or more            and Investment Terms
of these reference books:
                                          n Legal Thesaurus by William
n The New York Public Library               C. Burton
  Writer’s Guide to Style and Usage
                                          n A current Oregon Blue Book

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                      Stylebook
          Creating publications at DCBS
The role of the                            services, you or your publications
Communications Section                     co o rd i n a to r sh o u l d b r i n g
                                           formatting and design ideas to
   All written materials intend-           Communications and talk to
ed for broad distribution to the           graphics specialists who will then
general public must be sent to             design your document for your
the Director’s Office Communi-             approval. See the inside front
cations Section by publications            cover for information about
contacts in each division, ac-             Communications’ Services.
cording to DCBS Communica-
tions Policy (Com-06).                        The publications contact for
                                           each division must fill out a
   Although it’s common for                Communications work order
people to be concerned about the           before work can proceed and
cost of writing, editing, and design       sign an 1142 form before the job
services, using them can actually          can be sent to the state printing
save your division money. To               plant when you are satisfied with
make the most of Communications’           the way it looks.

                    The editing process
    You may wonder what an                 for length to get text on one line,
editor does. In a nutshell, the            prevent bad end-of-line breaks,
editor’s job is to make things easy        or to fit text on one page or
on the reader. In being the                a round a graphic element.
readers’ friend, editors make              Sometimes the opposite is true,
writers (and agencies, in the case         and an editor needs to add words
of state editing) look better, too.        or sentences for one reason or
Editors ensure that press releases         another.
a nd newsletters adhere to
                                              Pl e a se do n’t ho ld yo u r
journalistic style and that other
                                           div ision’s communications
documents and publications are
                                           representative responsible for
consistent and error-free before
                                           edits made at the agency level;
they are printed or posted to Web
                                           call the editor directly to discuss
                                           them, (503) 947-7897. Get the
     Much editing depends on a             editor involved early in the
publication’s purpose. Sometimes           planning and writing process, if
it’s necessary or desirable to edit        that will help.

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes              Stylebook
   Here is a list of editing
n Does the publication include        n Consistency: Is the publica-
  all the information that a            tion consistent throughout in
  reader might need to know?            spellings, references, indents,
                                        spacing, headings, number-
n Are things where the publi-
                                        ing, subheads, captions,
  cation says they are? (Pages,
                                        hyphens, alignment, page
  tables, charts, pictures and
                                        numbers, and font sizes
  captions, phone numbers,
                                        and styles?
  statute references, etc.)
                                      n Was the piece written
n Are explanations included
                                        wordily: “completely
  when they’re needed — if
                                        finished,” “add up these
  so, are explanations clear
                                        numbers,” “final outcome,”
  and complete?
                                        “usual customs”?
n Is information presented
                                      n Does the writing shift from
  logically and clearly, or
                                        second to first person, past
  does it need reorganizing?
                                        to present tense, conversa-
n Do the words and                      tional to bureaucratic
  paragraphs — and the                  language, low to advanced
  entire publication — convey           comprehensibility, etc.?
  the intended meaning or
                                      n Are lines too long for the size
  match the goals?
                                        of type, is there balance in
n Are spelling, punctuation,            the layout, and does the for-
  and grammar correct?                  mat make sense considering
n Did the writer use DCBS style         the goal of the publication?
  when capitalizing, abbreviat-
  ing, and punctuating and
  writing headlines, bylines,
  and captions?

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                             Stylebook
                    Tips for self-editing
Conciseness and clarity                    Proofreading
    K now your message and                    Always rely on at least one
assess the reading skills of your          other person to proofread your
audience; we don’t want to “talk           work. When you proofread your
down” to readers, but we do want           own work, you’ll see what you
to be clear. Use simple language           intended to write, no matter
and strive to answer questions a           what is on the page. When
reader might ask. Find and                 proofreading for others, don’t be
eliminate jargon and legalese.             hesitant about commenting on
Convert passive sentences to               what is not clear to you. And
active where it makes sense to do          don’t rely (entirely) on electronic
so. Don’t include every possible           spell- or grammar-checkers. It’s
scenario and every related statute         easy to make a typing error that
and fact that you can lay your             spells a real word; your spell-
hands on. Include the information          checker won’t know it’s the
your readers need to accomplish            incorrect word.
whatever it is you want them to
accomplish and provide references          Assist your staff
for further information. Try reading            Most employees have
your written work aloud. Have              computers and are somewhat
someone whose opinion you                  illogically expected to be able to
trust — but who isn’t necessarily          write because of that, even
a subject-matter expert — read             though they may never have
through your document.                     cultivated writing skills. If you’re
                                           a staff manager, become aware
Brevity                                    of who writes well and who
   Generally, write short. People          needs help; see that writers get
don’t want to dig for information.         training and that everyone has
Say what you need to say as                proofreading pa r tners. For
directly as possible, using short          f u r t her in for mat ion ab out
sentences and paragraphs.                  tra ining, check the Huma n
                                           Resources Services Web site
                                           ( c b s . s t a t e . o r. u s / i n t e r n a l /
                                           crossdiv/train), call the editor in
                                           the Communications Section, or
                                           call Organization Development
                                           and Training, (503) 947-7295.

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                     Stylebook
              Formatting and style tips
Type styles                                double spaces or returns, a
    Many type styles are difficult         designer will have to remove
to read, including reverse (white          them, which costs your division
on a black or colored background),         money. Modern type fonts build
all caps, drop-caps, outlined and          in adequate post-punctuation
shadowed type, all bold or all-            spacing. If you add more, you
italic type; type that is too large        leave unsightly white “tracks”
or too small, script-style type,           throughout a page of type.
and nonserif typefaces such as
Helvetica and Arial. Use them              Bullets
sparingly.                                     Convenient for highlighting
                                           important information, bullets
   Readability may be improved             lose their effectiveness with
by using ragged-right justification        ove r u se . Ju st spl it t i n g a n
instead of right-justified text.           otherwise readable sentence
Serif type may be easier on the            into bullets will not help it to be
eyes in printed material. The              more clear or more noticeable
same is not true on the Web,               — it will probably just be more
where screen resolution is kinder          difficult to understand. Items
to nonserif (sans serif) type              best suited to bulleting are
such as Arial.                             simple, important points or
                                           steps. Clearly explain what is to
Tabs                                       follow in the bulleted list (e.g.,
   If you’re aligning type in              “In order to comply, you must
colu m n s i n t he b o dy of a            satisf y a ll of the following
document, set tabs, don’t use the          requirements:” ). When bulleting
space bar. If you’re tab-impaired,         a list, (which typically means
indicate on your copy or on                more than three items), omit the
another piece of paper how you             semicolons and ands at the ends
want your columns to look and              of lines. If you need punctuation,
let Communications’ graphic                use periods. Bulleted items
designers create tabbed columns            should be similar. Don’t mix
for you.                                   gerund (verb forms that end
                                           with -ing and function as nouns)
Periods and returns                        phrases with imperative
   Don’t double - space after              sentences, for instance. An
periods or colons or hit return at         example of how not to set up
the ends of lines. It’s a difficult        bulleted lists follows.
habit to break, but if you insert

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                   Stylebook
You can improve your writing by:          in Communications, who will use
                                          a Pantone color guide. Your paper
n Balance is important.
                                          choice can affect color. Don’t use
n Perhaps rewriting will help             low-contrast color combinations
                                          of type, graphics, and back-
n If you have questions, call
                                          ground. Don’t use reverse on yel-
  us at (503) 000-0000.
                                          low or more than two or three
n Check!                                  colors of type.
n Do you understand
                                          Photos and graphics
                                             Photos and graphic elements
    The problem with the                  can enhance your design and
preceding list is the lack of             help make the point. Provide
consistency. None of the items            photos printed on nontextured
logically follows the lead-in to          paper for scanning. Do not use
the list. The bulleted items are a        paper clips on photos or artwork.
mix of simple sentences, a                Do not write on the backs of
question, a nd imperatives.               photos; write on removable
Lengths vary, and punctuation             tape, then put the tape on the
is not applied consistently.              back of the photo. If people
                                          appear in photos, you may need
Vertical type                             signed releases. Remember that
   Don’t use vertical type for            four-color presswork may be
important information. Most               prohibitively expensive.
readers’ eyes and minds simply
ignore vertical type, although it         Wrapped copy
can be attractive as an art                   Don’t spend time meticulously
element.                                  wrapping type around a photo or
                                          performing other formatting
Screens                                   tricks. If your piece has yet to be
   Let the graphic designers in           edited, everything could change.
Communications place your
screens and patterns, as they             Last-but-best style tip
can interfere with readability.              Formatting and design are
                                          best left to graphic artists. Take
Color                                     your raw materials and your
    As of this printing, color use        ideas to Communications staff
by state agencies remains limited.        members. They’ll help.
If you get approval to use color,
discuss it with a graphic designer

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                                         Stylebook
               Proofreading/editing marks
   You may see the following marks on copy that comes back to your
division from Communications. You may use these marks to indicate
   Salem — The Department of ..................................new paragraph
   as of Thursday. The new president ................................ paragraph
   the future leader.
   The speaker then ........................................................no paragraph
   50 years later ....................................................................... spell out
   group each had 6 members ........................... transpose, spell out
   Sublimity, Oregon, is the location ......................use abbreviation
   The Ore. woman was the head ............................don’t abbreviate
   The department of consumer and ........... capitalize (uppercase)
   as a result, This will be ....................................................lowercase
   the ba ndleader raised his........................................ remove space
   New information has shown .................insert space (also # )
   the Medicare recipients will................................ retain, keep as it
                                                                      was originally
   The ruling a fine example ............................................. insert word
   according to the the source ..................................................delete
    Important .......................................................... bold face, center
                                                                          or BF in margin
   John Jones ............................................................ italics, flush left
   John Jones ........................................................................... flush left
               ,    .................................................................... insert comma
               ‘    .............................................................insert apostrophe
           “ ”       ................................................. insert quotation marks
           X       or . or . ................................................ insert period
                     - ........................................................................... hyphen
           m       or    |—|......................................................................dash

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                      Stylebook
                 Choosing punctuation
   How often have you read                 Colons
through a document for the first              A colon introduces complete
time and had to reread para-               sentences, lists, quotations, or
graphs or sentences because                dialogue. Before you use a colon,
what you thought you read just             be sure you’ve got a list, not just
couldn’t be right?                         two or three items that could be
    Incorrect punctuation often            more clearly presented in a
causes this difficulty. Punctuation        regular sentence using commas.
should help readers make sense             For example: Required docu-
of the information you’re giving           ments include a birth certificate,
them.                                      driver license, Social Security
                                           card, and a permission slip from
Apostrophes                                your mother. Many writers auto-
   Apostrophes are used for pos-           matically insert a colon after
sessives and contracted forms of           include. Only if you omitted
words. Simple plural forms of              include would you use a colon.
words don’t have apostrophes.
                                               For clarity’s sake, use a
Therefore, governments, commit-
                                           complete sentence to introduce
tees, taxes, donations, and volun-
                                           lists. Example: The credit will be
teers don’t have apostrophes.
                                           granted when your business
   Decades (’70s, ’80s, ’90s) are          submits the following items: ... .
shortened plural forms: they do
                                              If you are introducing a single
not use an apostrophe before the
                                           quoted sentence, use a comma,
“s.” The apostrophe belongs
                                           as in this example: The team
before the number in the “tens”
                                           leader said, “I’m not going to be
                                           here after tomorrow.”
   An exception to the “simple
                                               If you’re quoting the governor’s
plural, no apostrophe” rule is
                                           latest speech, use a colon, as in
plural versions of letters or num-
                                           this example: Following is the text
bers when not using an apostro-
                                           of the governor’s speech: ... .
phe might cause confusion.
    Examples: How many A’s are             Commas
in that? Did the Oakland A’s play?            Comma s a re undeniably
Add 12 24’s in that column.                valuable in the quest for clarity, but
                                           they’re often misused, and their
                                           misuse produces confusion.

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                      Stylebook
   DCBS employs the serial com-                You don’t need a comma in a
ma, which means we use a com-               shor t sentence w it h a n
ma before the and in a simple               introductory phrase when the
series, as in this example: The             comma’s absence wouldn’t cause
builders, manufacturers, and in-            confusion: During the night the
spectors agreed that the ruling was         owls left the attic.
unfair. Technically, a serial com-
                                               When you write a compound
ma is not necessary. But we try
                                            sentence, clauses are linked
to use them consistently to pre-
                                            by and, or, but, nor, or yet and a
vent occurrences such as this:
                                            comma, semicolon, or colon.
   ... counseling related to family,        Examples:
   marriage, sex and career, in
                                               “The factory is closing, and
   the absence of an illness.
                                               hundreds of workers will be
    Here, sex and career are                   unemployed.” (coordinating
treated as a single entity with                conjunction and a comma)
the absence of a serial comma,
                                               “ T he factor y i s clo sin g ;
which causes confusion. This
                                               hundreds of workers will be
sentence could be rewritten: In
                                               unemployed.” (semicolon, no
addition to services for illness, we
provide counseling related to fam-
ily, marriage, sex, and career.                “The factory is closing, and one
                                               effect will be immediate:
   Use a comma when two
                                               Hundreds of workers will be
modifiers are equal and could be
                                               unemployed.” (independent
separated by and. Example: the
                                               clause, comma, independent
etched, jeweled artwork (the
                                               clause, colon, independent
etched and jeweled artwork).
   Do not use a comma when a
                                                Do not use a comma if you
descriptive word is part of the
                                            have a single subject and a
noun phrase: dilapidated wood-
                                            compound verb: We are flying to
frame structure, cold Midwestern
                                            Jamaica and visiting our cousins.
night, antique Model T Ford, 4-year-
                                            (“We” is the subject; “are flying and
old orange-and-white Koi.
                                            visiting” is a compound verb). If
   Generally, use a comma to                you have a compound sentence in
introduce a sentence with a                 which each independent clause
phrase: When the bus broke                  has its own subject and verb, use
down, he hitchhiked to work. But            a comma: We flew to Jamaica for
don’t use one if the phrase is at           a vacation, and a storm sent us
the other end of the sentence:              home again.
He hitchhiked to work when the
bus broke down.

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                     Stylebook
   Do use a comma to set off                   The most important thing to
nonessential (nonrestrictive)              remember with commas: Com-
phrases or clauses. Nonessential           mas should make things clearer
means that the sentence makes              to the reader.
sense without the phrases or
clauses. For example: The candy,           Dashes
which had been picked up from                 Dashes are used to end a sen-
the floor by the janitor, was eaten        tence with a surprising element
during the birthday celebration.           or to set off a long clause or
                                           phrase that makes the main in-
    The clause set off by commas
                                           formation clearer and more dis-
is nonessential because neither
                                           tinctive. Example: His platform
we nor the folks who ate the
                                           — a dazzling display of rhetoric
candy had to know the informa-
                                           as confusing as often as it is clear
tion between the commas for the
                                           and incisive — may be the chief
sentence to make sense. If your
                                           weakness of the campaign.
intent had been to inform the
people that they had eaten dirty              Dashes are stronger than com-
candy, you might have written              mas, less formal than colons, and
the sentence this way: The candy           more relaxed than parentheses.
that had been picked up from the           Use when a comma, colon, or
floor by the janitor was eaten dur-        parentheses won’t serve. As with
ing the birthday celebration. The          parentheses, make sure the clause
clause is essential here.                  set off by dashes isn’t too long.
   Use commas to separate day-                Don’t use dashes when hyphens
month-year sequences: He arrived           should be used, as in dates and
Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2004. Don’t use          times, examples of which follow:
commas if you’re writing just the          The office will be open 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
month and year: We finished that           every weekday. Their record was
project in June 2003.                      23-2 for that period.
   Use commas in city-state                Ellipsis (...)
sequences: We’re presenting the                An ellipsis alerts readers that
project in Atlanta, Georgia, and           something has been omitted,
Helena, Montana.                           that the speaker has hesitated,
We’re going to Washington, D.C.,           or that more material exists than
in June.                                   is being presented. If you use an
                                           ellipsis at the end of a statement,
It’s a Washington, D.C.-based
                                           add a period also (four dots).
                                           Don’t use an ellipsis at the
We saw Washin g ton , D.C .’s              beginning of a quote if you are
monuments while we were there.             not omitting material. Using
                                           your word-processing program’s

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                     Stylebook
ellipsis symbol is preferable to           both the prefix and the next word
using period, period, period,              begin with vowels that could
because the spacing between                make the word confusing to the
periods may not remain equal,              reader, e.g., re-employment (reem-
and your word processor will               ployment) and extra-attentive
split periods (but not ellipses)           (extraattentive). Usually, prefixes
at the end of a line.                      that call for a hyphen include all-,
                                           anti-, ex-, pro-, and un-.
Exclamation points
                                               Words such as overregulated,
   Used to express a strong
                                           overrun, and overripe that have
emotion or surprise. You’ll
                                           double consonants do not need
seldom, if ever, need them in
                                           h y p h e n s . Yo u d o n’ t n e e d
business writing.
                                           hyphens in percentages or dollar
Hyphens                                    amounts (4 percent rate, $4
   Hyphens are joiners. Use                million dollar project).
them to avoid ambiguity or to                  H y p h e n s a r e h a n d y to
form a single idea from two or             differentiate between words
more words.                                such as refund and re-fund (to
    For example: The government            fund again), reform and re-form
is working to increase the number          (to create again), and resent and
of small- business cont racts.             re-sent (sent again.)
Omitting the hyphen, it’s not clear            There are many exceptions
whether the business contracts             to hyphen rules. The best thing
are small or the contracts are for         is to reread your sentence and
small businesses.                          determine whether there is a
   Hyphens also link compound              possibility for confusion or am-
modifiers, which are two or more           biguity; if so, use a hyphen. If
words that express a single                you’re not sure, contact an edi-
concept. The only exceptions are           tor or check a dictionary.
the adverb very and all adverbs
that end in -ly. A first-quarter
                                               Parentheses are used to give
touchdown, a full-time job, an
                                           additional information. Think of
easily remembered rule.
                                           parenthetical information as an
   Hyphens are also used to                aid to the reader. Forms often
separate times and numbers in              benefit from pa renthetica l
a series, such as 5-7 p.m. and             information because it can be
Chapters 15-26.                            instructive in less space than a
   Hyphens are used when a                 full sentence.
prefix ends with the vowel that               If the material within parenthe-
begins the next word and when              ses is a full sentence, capitalize

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                   Stylebook
the first word and use a period               Don’t use quotation marks for
inside the parentheses. If the ma-        names of magazines, newspapers,
terial is an incomplete sentence          or reference books.
referring to material in your sen-
                                             Quotation marks may be
tence, lowercase the first word in
                                          used around words or phrases
parentheses (unless it’s a proper
                                          that the reader may not know,
noun); put your end punctuation
                                          nicknames, or tongue-in-cheek
after the parenthesis.
                                          references. Avoid using quotation
   You may use brackets or                marks around words or phrases
another set of parentheses for            that would otherwise be clear,
parenthetical material within             as the quotation marks cause
parentheses.                              doubt: Your investment is “secure”
                                          with us. This chicken is “fresh.”
                                             The period and comma always
   Periods end sentences. Don’t
                                          go inside of quotation marks.
double-space after periods at the
ends of sentences.                           Semicolons always go outside
                                          of quotation marks.
   If you have a bulleted list of
elements that are not full sen-               Whether or not other
tences, you don’t need periods or         punctuation goes outside of
other end punctuation; the bullets        quotation marks depends on
and the white space separate the          whether it’s part of the quoted
elements of the list. However, if         material. Examples: The lawyer
one of the bulleted items contains        asked, “Did you actually see her
periods, use periods at the end of        fall?” Did you read “The Powers
each of your bulleted entries.            That Be”? In the latter example,
                                          the question mark is not part of
Quotation marks                           the title of the book.
   Quotation marks enclose di-
rect quotations. If quotations            Semicolons
continue into another para-                  A semicolon should clarify and
graph, you don’t need close-              help organize information.
quote marks, but you do need
                                              Use a semicolon when two
open-quote marks at the begin-
                                          independent clauses are not
ning of the next paragraph and
                                          linked by a coordinating
close-quote marks when the
                                          conjunction such as and, but, or
quote ends.
                                          or. Example: Fall was shifting to
    Quotation marks are used for          winter; potholes on the city’s main
titles of books, lectures, movies,        streets were suddenly four inches
plays, poems, songs, speeches,            deeper than they had been in
television shows, and works of            September.

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                       Stylebook
   If independent clauses                   of actions, whether that may be
contain internal punctuation,               eating in the cafeteria with front-
use a semicolon even if a                   li n e w o r k e r s o r d r iv i n g a
coordinating conjunction is                 Volkswagen; narrow-mindedness
used. Example: He packed his                that allows leaders to stay focused
briefcase with paper, pens,                 on the main event; and skepticism
calculator, and books; and, most            — even mistrust — beneath a
important to him, his daughter’s            sunny, inspiring exterior.
drawings of the baby.
                                                There are other uses for
    Also use a semicolon when two           semicolons. Refer to the list of
independent clauses are linked by           reference works at the beginning
a conjunctive adverb such as                of this booklet.
however, nevertheless, or there-
fore. Example: They hadn’t made             Serial commas
reservations; however, a stranger               A serial comma is the last
at the desk offered to check out            comma in a series. DCBS joins
early to provide them a room.               editors and authors Strunk and
                                            White in opting to use them. For
    Another use is to separate a
                                            example: The maid, the chauffeur,
series of elements, introduced
                                            and the nanny left when my
by a colon, that contains material
                                            lottery winnings were depleted.
set off by commas. Example: He
                                            Please read the commas entry
said that leadership requires the
                                            for more about serial commas.
following: an ability to manipulate;
a sure feel for the symbolic content

            Quick-check list for proofing
✓ If you’ve changed any text,               ✓ Ensure that you have the right
  run another spell check.                    photos, charts, and diagrams,
                                              that they have captions, and
✓ Check a printed copy for
                                              that the captions are com-
  incorrectly used words that
                                              plete and correct.
  your spell-checker missed
  and miscellaneous words                   ✓ Make sure headings are con-
  left from edits.                            sistent in style and size and
                                              that headlines have subjects
✓ Double-check all names,
                                              and verbs.
  telephone numbers, address-
  es, ages, dates, statute refer-
  ences, fee amounts, etc.

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                       Stylebook
                   Alphabetical entries
a lot                                         If you’re introducing an entity
  It’s not alot. It’s two words.              that will not be used again
a majority of                                 in the document, spell it and
  Use most.                                   don’t include the initials in
a meeting was held
  Use we met, the committee met,              To help readers, you can include
  etc.                                        a few words of description when
                                              you refer to a section, division,
a number of                                   etc., that you may not have used
  Use many.                                   for a while. Example: HRS, which
abbreviations and initials                    is part of the Director’s Office and
 They’re handy when your divi-                provides a variety of personnel
 sion’s title is long: Department of          services for the department, ….
 Consumer & Business Services’              absent
 Oregon Occupational Safety &                Use lacking or without, not
 Health Division; however, don’t             “Absent a budget ...”
 abbreviate the name on first use
 in documents intended for those            accede
 who may not be familiar with our             Use agree, grant, or allow.
 division and program names.                accept/except
  Extensive use of initials annoys            Accept is to receive, except is to
  readers, who don’t want to back-            exclude.
  track to find out what the letters        access
  represent. It’s best to spell out           Except when referring to com-
  names of organizations, pro-                puter data, perhaps, select an-
  grams, and agencies if it’s likely          other verb. He removed the safety
  that readers won’t understand the           guard to access a piece of wood
  abbreviations. Some abbrevia-               jammed in the roller: Substitute
  tions are so well known that they           reach, extract — even get.
  don’t have to be spelled out: FBI,        accordingly
  U.S.A., U.N., etc.                          Use so when you mean thus,
  The AP Stylebook advises against            hence, or therefore.
  including initials in parentheses         accounted for by the fact
  after a name. The reasoning:                Use because.
  Readers should be able to read-
  ily identify who or what is later         accustomed to
  referred to by initial or acro-             Used to.
  nym; if not, the writer shouldn’t
  be using them.

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                      Stylebook
acronyms                                     adage
  Acronyms are different than                 A long-established saying; old
  abbreviations; acronyms are                 adage is redundant.
  created to be pronounced as                adapt/adopt
  words and often to mean some-               Adapt means to change. Adopt
  thing as a word. Abbreviations              means to vote to accept or to
  are shortened forms, often                  take and follow. Examples: They
  initials pronounced individu-               adapted the existing format to
  ally. DCBS is an abbreviation of            suit their needs. The committee
  the department’s name, con-                 adopted her proposal.
  sisting of its initials. We don’t
  pronounce it “duckbus.” PESO,              addendum
  however, is an acronym for a                Singular for an addition, ad-
  program within OR-OSHA. It is               denda is the plural form.
  intended to be pronounced                  additional
  “peso.” Another acronym is                  Use more or extra.
  MADD, Mothers Against Drunk
                                              Avoid using by using and or also.
active/passive voice
  Impart life into your writing by
                                              Use the abbreviations Ave.,
  having subjects perform the ac-
                                              Blvd., and St. only with a num-
  tions (active voice), rather than
                                              bered address: 350 Winter St.
  having actions performed on
                                              NE. Spell them out and capital-
  them. For example: Because of a
                                              ize when part of a formal street
  rumor about the insurer’s financial
                                              name without the number:
  failure, the policy of the company
                                              Winter Street NE. Lowercase
  was canceled. Rewrite in the ac-
                                              and spell out when used alone
  tive voice: The company canceled
                                              or with more than one street
  its policies when it heard a rumor
                                              name: on the corner of Winter
  of the insurer’s impending finan-
                                              and Center streets.
  cial failure. The active voice is
  more direct and concise.                     All similar words (alley, drive,
                                               road, terrace, etc.) always are
                                               spelled out. Capitalize them
  Names of acts should have
                                               when part of a formal name
  initial caps but not be italicized
                                               without a number; lowercase
  (the Americans with Disabili-
                                               when used alone or with two
  ties Act). When you refer to
                                               or more names.
  “the act” without naming it in
  your writing, “act” is nonspe-               Use periods in the abbreviation
  cific and isn’t capitalized.                 P.O. for P.O. Box numbers.
ad nauseam
 It’s not ad naseum.

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                   Stylebook
advance planning                          aforementioned, aforesaid
 Just planning, which is in                 Try preceding.
 advance.                                 agenda
adverse/averse                             Although agenda (a list of
 Adverse means unfavorable or              things to be done) is a plural,
 hostile, and should be used to            it uses a singular verb: The
 modify the noun it is next to,            agenda for this Friday’s meeting
 as in the following: He had an            is daunting. Agenda is com-
 adverse reaction to the penicil-          monly made plural by adding
 lin. Averse is the word you’re            an s.
 looking for when you mean                ages
 reluctant to accept or endorse            Figures should be used for
 it: I’m averse to that proposal.          ages. Write the 5-year-old girls
advise                                     or the girls are both 5. When
 Try tell or inform.                       referring to age, use older than
advocate                                   or younger than, rather than
 As a transitive verb, it means            more than or less than, over or
 to support by argument, and it            under. You don’t need of age in
 is not used with for or against.          He was 65 years of age. Simply
 There is no such verb phrase as           say, He was 65.
 advocating for (or against) some-        agreement in number
 thing. Examples of correct use:           The subject of your sentence
 She advocates consumer rights.            should agree in number with
 As a union leader, she advocates          the verb and with pronouns
 higher salaries. As a noun, an            used to represent the subject.
 advocate is a person who speaks           If you write, Jensen & Jensen
 or writes in support of a cause           found that their wax sticks were
 or person. Example: He’s an               being eaten instead of applied to
 advocate for the American Sign            creaky doors, you have missed
 Language Association.                     in number agreement. Because
affect/effect                              Jensen & Jensen is a company,
  Affect, as a verb, generally             it is a single entity, and because
  means to influence: That virus           the pronoun must agree in num-
  affected me. Effect, as a noun           ber (with the subject, in this
  that means result: The effect of         case), you should use its instead
  reading all these formulas is            of their: Jensen & Jensen found
  more confusion. Effect as a verb         that its wax sticks were being
  means bring about or cause: The          eaten ....
  wide-scale lack of compliance
  effected the change in the law.

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                     Stylebook
ahead of time                              amongst
 Try a more precise phrase such             Use among.
 as before the deadline or before          amp, AMP
 the meeting.                               Amp meaning ampere is not
alleviate                                   capitalized except at the begin-
  Use ease, reduce, or lessen.              ning of a sentence. AMP, the
allude/elude/refer                          chemical adenosine mono -
  Allude means an indirect refer-           phosphate, is.
  ence. Refer means to assign or           and also
  attribute to or to direct some-           Redundant. Use and.
  one somewhere for help. Elude            ands and commas
  is a verb meaning to escape.              Don’t create a “false series” be-
  Examples: That paragraph al-              cause you’re concerned about
  ludes to a problem we had with            using too many ands or adding
  the recent training session. The          another word. Consider this sen-
  motorcyclist attempted to elude           tence: There was damage indicat-
  the police. The new guidelines            ing a history of water leaks, high
  refer readers to the Oregon Re-           humidity, and condensation levels.
  vised Statutes for specifics.             Note that condensation levels is
along the lines of                          left without a modifier. Yes, there
  Use like.                                 probably is a history of condensa-
alright                                     tion levels, but what is crucial is
  Two words: all right.                     that levels were high, not that
                                            there were levels. Repeat high or
alternate                                   rewrite: The damage indicated a
 A substitute is an alternate, but          history of water leaks and high
 don’t use alternative in place of          humidity and condensation levels.
 alternate. An alternative usually
 implies a choice between two              and/or
 options.                                   This clumsy construction can
                                            often be avoided with a simple
ambiguous pronouns                          or. If not, use the words re-
 Pronouns, often at the begin-              quired to avoid the slashed
 nings of sentences, that aren’t            construction. Example: The
 easily identified by the reader,           judge may levy a $200 fine, a jail
 such as it, they, their, and them.         sentence, or both.
 Proofread for and replace such
 pronouns.                                 annual
                                            An event must have been held
among/between                               at least two successive years in
 Among is used when there are               order to be called annual, accord-
 more than two things or people             ing to AP style. Do not use first
 involved, between when there               annual or second annual.
 are two.

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                         Stylebook
another                                          the sentence with arguably or
 Not synonymous with addi-                       unarguably.
 tional, this means one or more                as a consequence of
 of the same. It is incorrect to                 Use because.
 say, “They had 200 employees
 and hired another 150.” Use                   as a matter of fact
 more, others, or additional.                    Use in fact.

any                                            ascertain
 Often unnecessary: If you have                  Use discover or find out.
 any questions, If you wish to                 assist
 submit any proposals, etc.                      Use with in or with, not to. And
anybody, anyone                                  consider using help instead of
 These pronouns use singular                     assist. Assist employers in deter-
 verbs: “If anybody accepts that                 mining appropriate solutions
 proposal, it will be miraculous.”               might be improved by simply
                                                 writing Help employers find
appraise/apprise                                 solutions.
 Appraise means to estimate the
 characteristics of something.                 assure, ensure, insure
 Apprise means to inform, give                   Assure means to convince or to
 notice to, or advise. Write I’ve                inform confidently, and uses
 been apprised of the circum-                    the preposition of. Ensure
 stances, not appraised — or,                    means to make sure or make
 better yet, The circumstances                   certain. Insure is best used to
 were explained to me — or,                      refer to insurance. Examples:
 perhaps best, Simpkins ex-                      Assured of the appropriateness
 plained the circumstances.                      of the next step, they proceed-
                                                 ed. Please ensure that all of her
arbitrate/mediate                                demands are met. We will in-
  A judge or a panel with author-                sure your business only if you
  ity may arbitrate by hearing                   move it out of the flood plain.
  evidence and deciding out-
  comes. To mediate is to act as               ATM
  a go-between during negotia-                  It’s not ATM machine, as the
  tions, with no authority in final             “M” in the abbreviation stands
  decisions.                                    for “machine.”

are of the same opinion                        at some point in time
  Use agree.                                     Use when.

arguably                                       at this (or that) point in time
  If you’re presenting an argu-                  Use now or then.
  ment, you’ve already estab-                  attain
  l i s h e d t h a t yo u r to p i c’s          Use reach, achieve, or accomplish.
  arguable, so don’t introduce

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                    Stylebook
attorney                                    brief summary
  An attorney is not necessarily a           By definition, a summary is
  lawyer. An attorney is someone             brief — at least it is shorter
  acting on behalf of another. You           than the work from which it is
  cannot, by definition, be just “an         derived.
  attorney.” Lawyer is a more               bullets
  precise word if you are talking            Bullets are for highlighting
  about someone licensed to                  important information. They
  practice law. Somewhere along              can make lists easier to read,
  the line, someone decided at-              and they provide variety in a
  torney sounded more dignified              layout; however, they lose their
  than lawyer. But lawyer is a               effectiveness through overuse.
  perfectly good word. Ms. Jones             Don’t use too-large or too-tiny
  is the attorney for John Cleever,          bullets, and don’t use bullets
  and she is a lawyer.                       that detract from the informa-
based on the fact that                       tion. Read more about bullets
 Use because.                                on Page 10.
basically                                   “bureaucratese”
 Skip it. Just state your facts.              Gobbledygook. Example: Sig-
begs the question                             nificant additional time frames
 To beg the question is to argue              will be necessitated if we are
 a point by assuming as proved                unable to utilize substantially
 the very thing you are trying to             increased circumspection in our
 prove. If you mean raises the                methodology. Roughly trans-
 question, write that.                        lated, this means: To be more
                                              careful, we need to take more
biannual, biennial,                           time. Concentrate on paring to
bimonthly, bi-weekly                          conciseness instead of “fluffing
  Biannual means twice a year,                up” what you write.
  biennial every two years. Bi-
  weekly can mean either twice              buzz word
  in a week or every other week,             Buzz word originally meant a
  whereas bimonthly always                   pseudo-technical cliché, empty
  means ever y two months.                   of meaning. Today, buzz word is
  Make certain your readers                  often used to mean trend, idea,
  know what you mean, prefera-               or tool. Describe what you mean
  bly by avoiding these terms.               instead of using buzz word.

bottom line                                 by means of
 Overused. Substitute more                   Use by or with.
 precise words, such as what                can not
 this means, the outcome, etc.                Use cannot, or use the con-
                                              tracted form, can’t.

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                        Stylebook
canceled                                        Use all-capped names and titles
  In American English, it has only              in addresses on the outside of
  one “l,” as does traveled.                    envelopes, as the U.S. Postal
capital, capitol                                Service prefers, but not within
  Capital is money and the seat                 letters.
  of state government. Capitol is             cease
  the building itself.                          Use stop or end.
capitalization                                censor, censure
  Use capital letters sparingly, as             To censor is to delete or sup-
  capitalizing adds clutter. Do not             press. To censure is to criticize
  capitalize job titles unless they             harshly.
  precede and are part of a name.             census
  Some overcapitalization results               U.S. Census Bureau is capital-
  from spelling out abbreviations.              ized. The 1990 census isn’t.
  If you’ve seen administrative law
  judge abbreviated ALJ, you may              chair
  think it should be capitalized                Using this genderless word for
  when spelled out. If abbrevia-                chairman and chairwoman is
  tions or acronyms represent                   acceptable. If you know Mrs.
  proper names, capitalize spelled-             Smith chairs a committee, it is
  out versions. Example: BART is                fine to use chairwoman. If an
  Bay Area Rapid Transit. Capital-              election is planned, i.e., you
  ize standing legislative commit-              don’t know the gender of the
  tees. Capitalize Oregon State                 election winner, it’s fine to use
  Supreme Court but not supreme                 chairperson or chair.
  courts; capitalize U.S. Army, but           clauses
  not army, marines, or air force.              A group of words containing both
  When the common-noun ver-                     a subject and a verb that isn’t
  sion of an organization’s name is             always a complete sentence.
  used in place of the full name              clearly
  (e.g., the department, the division,          Don’t get into the habit of be-
  the bureau, the board, the corpo-             ginning with clearly. Concen-
  ration), don’t capitalize it.                 trate on writing with clarity
  When writing subheads, table                  instead of using clearly.
  titles, lists, column headings,             cognizant of
  and tables of contents, capital-              Use know about or aware of.
  ize only the first word.                    commence
  Capitalize, a, an, or the at the              Use start or begin.
  beginnings of the headlines,
  subheads, etc.

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                    Stylebook
compared to, compared with                consensus
  Use compared to when the in-              This means general agreement
  tent is to assert, without the            or collective opinion, so gen-
  need for elaboration, that two            eral consensus is redundant.
  or more items are similar: She          consequently
  compared her work for women’s             Use so.
  rights to Susan B. Anthony’s
  campaign for women’s suffrage.          constitute
  Use compared with when juxta-             Use form or make up.
  posing two or more items to             construe
  illustrate similarities and/or            Use interpret.
  differences: There were 31
                                          continual, continuous
  workplace deaths in 2005, com-
                                            Continual means over and over
  pared with 46 in 2004.
                                            again. Continuous means unbro-
compendium                                  ken. To remember which is
  A summary or an outline.                  which: Continuous ends in o-u-s,
completely full                             which stands for “one uninter-
  Just full; omit completely.               rupted sequence.”
component                                 contractions
  Use part.                                 Shortened forms make writing
                                            more informal; however, some
comprise, consists of, is                   contractions, e.g., I’d and won’t,
composed of                                 can mean more than one thing.
  Comprise means includes or                Don’t choose the contraction if
  contains. The whole comprises             it might be misunderstood or
  the parts. Comprised of is never          if your writing is considered
  correct. Examples: This set of            formal.
  reference books comprises 20
  volumes. This schedule com-             costs
  prises five meetings and three            Be careful not to write between
  seminars. This report consists            $2 and $3 million if you mean
  of the research findings of               $2-3 million or between $2 mil-
  three professors. This book is            lion and $3 million.
  composed of many entries.               criterion, criteria
concerning                                  Criterion is singular: “Our most
  Use about.                                important criterion for qualifica-
                                            tion is experience ...” Criteria is
connote, denote                             plural: “The qualifying criteria
  Connote means signify or sug-             are on Page 216.”
  gest, denote means to mean or
  be a mark or sign of.

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                        Stylebook
currently, presently                            For a specific date, use a com-
  Currently, meaning now, is of-                ma before the year: The bill was
  ten redundant. If something is                signed Aug. 15, 2005.
  happening, it has to be happen-             decades
  ing currently. However, if you               Don’t use apostrophes after the
  need a word meaning now, cur-                numerals: the 1970s, ’80s, and
  rently is preferable to presently,           ’90s.
  which is more commonly used
  to mean soon than now.                      deduct
                                               Try subtract, take away, or take
customs                                        off.
  U.S. Customs Service is capital-
  ized but customs, as in “He went            deem
  through customs,” is not.                    Use consider or treat as.

cutting edge                                  defer
  Avoid and explain what you                   Use postpone or put off.
  mean instead.                               definitely proved
dd/mm/yy                                       Just proved.
 Many people draw a blank                     denied making a statement
 when they see this shorthand                 to the effect that
 request for entering day, month,               Use denied.
 and year on forms. Avoid it or               departments
 explain that you need two dig-                When writing about a govern-
 its for each — if you really do.              ment department, capitalize the
database                                       formal name: The Department of
 Database may be one word.                     Consumer & Business Services.
dates                                          But lowercase department when
 In business and news writing,                 it stands along, often on second
 dates should be written with-                 reference: the department.
 out an -st, -d, or -th: Set that               Lowercase department in plural
 appointment for June 26.                       uses, but capitalize the proper
  Capitalize the names of months                name element: the departments
  in all uses. When a month is used             of Labor and Justice.
  with a specific date, abbreviate            desire, wish for
  Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov.,         Desire is a little strong when
  and Dec. Spell out when using                you’re asking if someone wants
  alone or with a year alone: The              to be on a mailing list, and wish
  meeting was in January. The bill             for is a little ethereal. Use if you
  was signed in August 2005 (no                want, prefer, or like.
  comma between month and                     desist
  year).                                       Use stop.

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                      Stylebook
despite the fact that                        during the course of
 Use although or despite.                     Use during or while.
determine                                    dwelling
 Use decide.                                  Use home or property if possible.
development                                  e.g.
 There is no e after the p.                    For example, such as (Latin,
dialogued, entered into                        exempli gratia), usually fol-
dialogue                                       lowed by a comma. See entry
  Use talked, discussed, or began              for “i.e.”
  discussions about.                         each and every
dimensions                                     Use one or the other, not both.
  Use figures and spell out inches,          elucidate
  feet, yards, etc., to indicate               Use explain.
  depth, height, length, and width.          e-mail
  Hyphenate adjectival forms                   If not electronic mail, use the
  before nouns. Examples: It’s a               hyphenated version. Unless
  9-by-12 rug. He put the 2-by-4               you’re using it to begin a sen-
  down. She is 5 feet 10 inches tall,          tence, don’t capitalize it.
  and he’s a 7-footer. The rug is 9
  feet by 12 feet.                           emanate from
                                              Use come from or stem from.
discreet, discrete
  Discreet means cautious, tactful,          emergency situations
  or judicious. Discrete means                Use emergencies.
  separate.                                  employees and management
do a study of the effects of                  Everyone who works for your
 Use study the effects or study.              agency is an employee. The
                                              distinction may be between
document                                      union-represented employees
 Avoid document the names of                  and management employees or
 the participants. Record or list             managers and line employees,
 may be more accurate.                        but all are employees.
do’s and don’ts                              end result
 This is how it is written.                   Use result.
driver license                               endeavor
 It’s not driver’s license in Oregon.         Use try or attempt.
 Nor is it capitalized. Other types
 of licenses needn’t be, either:             envelop, envelope
 plumbing license, hunting                    Envelop is a verb meaning to
 license, etc.                                wrap up in, envelope is the
                                              noun for a paper container for
due to the fact that                          a letter, etc.
 Use because.

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                        Stylebook
establish                                   facilitate
  Try form, create, or set up.                The first meaning of facilitate is
et cetera or etc.                             to make easier: “Careful plan-
  Et cetera means “and the rest.”             ning facilitates any kind of
  “Etc.” is usually harmless; how-            work;” therefore, “facilitate a
  ever, if you are detailing steps            workshop” is a questionable
  a citizen must take to comply               use of facilitate. Substitute help,
  with a government process,                  run, direct, manage, administer,
  and you stick “etc.” at the end,            teach, etc.
  you could cause sleepless                 facility, structure
  nights. If the “etc.” you are re-           When referring to buildings,
  ferring to is important, it’s im-           neither of these is as precise as
  portant enough to explain.                  building.
even as we speak                            factoid
  Use now.                                    First meaning: something ficti-
eventuate                                     tious or unsubstantiated, pre-
  Use result, occur, or happen.               s e n te d a s f a c t . A n o t h e r
                                              meaning: an insignificant fact.
everyone, everybody
  Everyone is always a singular             failure to
  pronoun, and everybody is usu-              Use if you do not.
  ally a singular pronoun: Every-           fewer, less
  one had his or her own problems.            When referring to numbers of
  Everybody was there.                        individual items, use fewer.
  Sometimes with the notion that              When referring to quantity,
  everyone is plural and some-                amount, or bulk, use less:
  times to avoid his or her, writers          “There are fewer applicants
  use plural pronouns: “Everyone              this year, and they appear to
  must submit their applica-                  have less experience.”
  tions....” For the sake of agree-         fewer in number
  ment, it should be “Everyone                Use fewer.
  must submit his or her applica-           final outcome, settlement
  tion ....” Writers who dislike his          Use outcome, result, settlement.
  or her (even though that is cor-
  rect) should select plurals               finalize
  throughout: “Applicants must                Use end, finish, or complete.
  submit applications, which they           first aid, first-aid
  may mail, fax, or deliver ...”              First aid (noun) can be a life-
fabricate                                     saver if proper first-aid (adjec-
  Use make.                                   tive) training has been given.

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                        Stylebook
first of all                                 forthcoming
  Use first.                                   It means about to appear, com-
first priority                                 ing, ready when needed. If you
  Use priority.                                mean candid or straightforward,
                                               use forthright.
flammable, inflammable,
combustible                                  forward (verb)
  Flammable and inflammable                    Use send or give.
  have similar meanings. Use                 fractions
  combustible, if possible.                    Spell out amounts less than one
flyer, flier                                   unless you are discussing the
  When you mean a handbill, AP                 stock market or working with a
  style calls for flier, although              large number of fractions. The
  both flier and flyer are in use.             snow was three-fourths melted by
  You’ll notice that flyer is in com-          this afternoon.
  mon use at DCBS, and that’s                  Whole numbers with fractions
  fine. When you mean an aviator,              may be written with a space
  use flier. When you’re referring             (instead of a hyphen) after the
  to the names of trains or buses,             whole number and a forward
  it’s flyer.                                  slash for the fraction: 2¼, 3¾,
for the duration of                            12½. For publications, fractions
  Use during or while.                         will be converted to super- and
                                               subscript. You can also convert
for the purpose of                             fractions to decimals.
  Use for or to.
for the reason that                            Free is fine in place of without
  Use because.                                 cost or no-cost.
foreign phrases                              freelance
  In general, avoid using foreign              AP has moved on from hyphen-
  phrases unless they are univer-              ating this one: She freelanced
  sally accepted in English. If you            this article. She’s a freelancer.
  use them, as in medical or legal
  terminology, place them in ital-           furnish
  ics or quotation marks and                   Use give or provide.
  explain them if there is a chance          future plans
  your audience won’t under-                   Use plans (they are always for
  stand them.                                  the future).
foreseeable future                           give encouragement to
  Reserved for use by prophets.                Use encourage.
  Use until further notice or just           give rise to
  in the future.                               Use cause.

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                          Stylebook
governor                                       having regard to
 Capitalize and abbreviate as                   Use about.
 Gov. or Govs. when used as a                  haz-mat
 formal title before one or more                May be used as an abbreviated
 names: Gov. Kulongoski. Capi-                  form for hazardous materials.
 talize and spell out when used                 Example: The haz-mat team
 as a formal title before one or                arrived within 27 minutes of the
 more names in direct quota-                    accident.
 tions. Lowercase and spell out
 in all other uses: The governor               health care or healthcare
 made a proclamation.                           May be two words or one. The
                                                first use in most reference ma-
great majority of                               terials shows it as two; how-
 Use most.                                      ever, one is acceptable — just
hackneyed words and fad                         be consistent within your pub-
phrases                                         lication.
 Well-intentioned writers use                  height
 them to create a conversational                It’s not heighth. Write “The
 tone, to appear modern, or to                  building was 36 feet tall,” not
 fill scary white space, but hack-              “in height.”
 neyed words and fad phrases
 can make sentences unintelli-                 help, assist
 gible: Basically, the shop mavens              Division writers seem to shy
 opted for a state-of-the-art solu-             away from help in favor of
 tion to boost the bottom line and              assist. Both are fine transitive
 level the playing field; if the strat-         verbs meaning to contribute
 egy pans out, the stakeholders’                strength, effort, means, or as-
 cutting edge line of defense will              sistance — but help is short,
 gain a foothold in the near future             simple, and clear, so it gets my
 and make itself indispensable.                 vote. Examples: Using this
 Remedy: edit.                                  checklist will help applicants
                                                make a complete filing.
has the capability to
 Use can.                                        This checklist will assist applicants
                                                 in making a complete filing.
has the capacity to
 Use can.                                      henceforth
                                                Use from now on.
has a need for
 Use needs.                                    heretofore
                                                Use until now.
have a tendency to
 Use tend to.

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                     Stylebook
him or her, he or she,                     hopefully
himself or herself, etc.                    Here’s an example of preferred
  Construct sentences to avoid              use: Those who had lost their
  using “him or her,” “he or she,”          homes arrived hopefully at the
  etc. For instance, The applicant          Red Cross headquarters. Incor-
  should include personal refer-            rect: Hopefully, he will be there
  ences for himself or herself. He          when we get home. The reader
  or she may … could be written,            could understand this to mean
  Applicants should include per-            that when “he” arrives home,
  sonal references. They may …              “he” will be feeling hopeful.
  Avoid shortening to the slashed           Instead, write, We hope he will
  versions such as him/her. How-            be there when we get home.
  ever, if you should use phrases          hot line
  such as the employee may call             Two words.
  this number for assistance, don’t
  write, in the next sentence, They        hype
  (referring to the employee) may           Means to exaggerate the worth
  call … . Write He or she …                of, inflate, or deceive. If you use
                                            it to mean promote or publicize,
hire vs. employee                           you are implying something
  Although it may be technically            isn’t what it should be. It’s
  correct as an informal noun for           similar to using claimed in a
  “new employee,” calling some-             news story instead of said.
  one a “hire” is impersonal
  personnel-services jargon, and           i.e.
  could be compared to “unit” or             That is (Latin, id est), usually
  “cog.”                                     followed by a comma.
hit (or take) on                           I’d like to — say, take this
  Some may know that you mean              opportunity, thank you
  the way you understand it or               Writing such phrases at the
  how something affects you, but             beginnings of letters may help
  others won’t. It’s an example of           you organize your thoughts,
  spoken language not transfer-              but after you draft them, re-
  ring well to written form.                 move the “I’d like to” phrases.
                                             It’s obvious that you were writ-
HIV                                          ing, taking the opportunity,
 You should spell human immu-                etc., and that you liked it,
 nodeficiency virus unless you               wanted to, or felt obligated to
 are writing HIV-positive, which             pretend you did.
 is acceptable whether or not
 you’ve spelled it out previously.         if this is not the case
 Don’t use HIV virus, which is               Use if not.
 redundant.                                immediate future
                                             Use soon.

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                      Stylebook
impact                                       in conjunction with
  This is usually a noun meaning               Use with.
  collision or violent striking to-          in connection with
  gether or a verb that implies                Use about.
  wedging or forceful striking.
  Example: The impact caused                 in lieu of
  both jumpers to lose conscious-              Use instead of.
  ness temporarily. In this sen-             in my opinion
  tence, The report’s impact on                Use I think.
  the day-to-day operations will
                                             in order to
  not be known for months, it
                                               Use to.
  would be better to use effect or
  influence in place of impact.              in receipt of
  Similarly, there are better                  Use get, have, or receive.
  choices for impact in these                in regards to
  sentences: His election impact-              Use regarding or about.
  ed (affected) the company’s
                                             in relation to
  plan drastically. The federally
                                               Use toward.
  impacted areas will be discussed
  in detail. (The areas affected             in respect to
  by the federal actions will be               Use about.
  discussed in detail.)                      in some cases
impart                                         Use sometimes.
  Use give, pass on, tell, or inform.        in terms of
implement (verb)                               Use about.
  Use do or carry out.                       in the event that
in a number of cases                           Use if.
  Use some.                                  in the nature of
in a position to                               Use like.
  Use can.                                   in the possession of
in a satisfactory manner                       Use has or have.
  Use satisfactory.                          in view of
in a very real sense                           Use for or as.
  Use in a sense.                            inasmuch as
in accordance with                             Use because.
  Use according to or in line with.          incessantly
in case                                        It means unendingly or continu-
  Use if.                                      ously, so unless that is what
                                               you mean, select another word,
                                               such as frequently.

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                     Stylebook
in-depth                                   it is suggested that
  Use thorough, or choose an-                Use I think, they believe, etc.
  other modifier.                          it is worth pointing out that
indict, indite                               Use note that.
  Indict means to charge with a            it may be that
  crime. Indite means to write or            Use I think.
                                           it may, however, be noted
infeasible, unfeasible                       Use but.
  Both are adjectives meaning
  not feasible or impracticable.           it was indicated that
  They are interchangeable.                  Use he said, she said.
initiate                                   it was decided that
  Use begin or start.                        Say I decided, the committee
                                             decided, etc.
  Use instantly (an adverb) to             italics, bolding, quotation
  mean at once, immediately. In-           marks
  stantaneous is an adjective                Often it’s not apparent why writ-
  meaning occurring presently or             ers have used italics or quota-
  without delay.                             tion marks. If you’re using italics
                                             for emphasis, which is fine, don’t
integral part                                overdo it. Use bold for more
  It’s integral to or it’s part of.          emphasis. Use either sparingly if
Internet                                     you want readers to pay atten-
  One word, capitalized.                     tion. Most bolding, italicizing,
irregardless                                 underlining, and use of quota-
  Use regardless.                            tion marks for emphasis can be
                                             avoided by careful wording. The
it has been reported                         result is easier on the brain and
by Smith                                     the eyes of the reader.
  Write Smith reported.
it is apparent that                          It’s is a contraction of it is. To
  Use apparently.                            show possession, use its, as in,
it is believed that                          Its coat was matted and dirty.
  Use I think.                             -ize words
it is clear that                             Don’t tack -ize willy-nilly onto
  Use clearly.                               nouns and adjectives to create
                                             new words. Best advice: Look
it is doubtful that
                                             them up.
  Use possibly.
                                           joint cooperation
it is often the case
                                             Just cooperation.
  Use often.

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                         Stylebook
journalistic style                            just, only
  Ideally, journalistic style is unbi-          Remember that, for clarity,
  ased and impartial information                these words should immedi-
  delivered clearly, completely,                ately precede the word or
  and succinctly. When writing                  phrase that they modify. The
  newsletters and press releases,               committee just (only) needs to
  pare as much opinion as possible              raise $300 is quite different
  from your final product. Con-                 from The committee needs to
  sider this sentence: His outstand-            raise just (only) $300 or Just
  ing contributions and great sense             (Only) the committee needs to
  of humor will be sorely missed by             raise $300.
  all. It seems innocuous, yet con-           lacked the ability to
  tains opinion. And this example:              Use could not or couldn’t.
  Three staff members, Dickenson,
  Mary, and Dr. Arnett, attended              large in size
  — it could be interpreted as sex-             Use large.
  ist and elitist. (This is one reason        last, past
  that journalistic style uses last             When referring to something
  names after first reference or                someone did in the past, don’t
  keeps courtesy titles for all hu-             use last unless the person died
  mans, not just doctors.)                      after that, as in this sentence:
  Put as much information as you                His last job was with the U.S.
  can in the first paragraph of a               Forest Service.
  news story. This “inverted                  lay/lie
  pyramid” style, which should                  Lay (lay, laid, laid) is a transitive
  be used for press releases, al-               verb and always has an object.
  lows editors to conveniently                  Lie is intransitive and never has
  find and use the most impor-                  an object; its principal parts:
  tant information. This requires               lie, lay, lain, lying. Examples,
  careful judgment about what                   lay: Lay the phone on my desk
  readers want or need to know.                 when you are done. Joan laid
judgment                                        the phone down. She has laid
  It has no e after the g.                      the phone on the desk. Exam-
                                                ples, lie: I lie down when I am
jurisdiction                                    tired. He lay down and closed
  Jurisdiction means the right,                 his eyes. He has lain there all
  power, or authority to administer             day. Lie also means to tell an
  law. Please don’t write “local                untruth: He will not lie under
  authority having jurisdiction,”               oath. He lied when pressed.
  although local jurisdiction is

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                        Stylebook
learning experience                            than $50,000 a year. It must be
  Just experience, which includes              installed under the eaves. Fewer
  learning, one would hope. If                 than a dozen people showed up.
  you mean education, say that.                However, you would not say He
lectern                                        made fewer than $50,000 a year
  This is what you stand behind to             (which would place the emphasis
  speak to a group, usually a stand            on individual dollars rather than
  with a slanted top for papers. A             the sum) or There was one fewer
  podium is usually a platform a               seat. Try one seat fewer or There
  speaker stands on, but also has              were almost the same number of
  the definition lectern.                      seats available as last season.

legalese                                     level the playing field
  Remember that your goal is to                This could be misunderstood,
  make the laws, rulings, and                  and it creates an opportunity
  guidelines about which you’re                for mixing metaphors, as in We
  writing understandable to those              intend to level the playing field,
  who need the information.                    open up new vistas, and fry some
  Legalese can be translated into              pretty big fish. Explain yourself
  everyday language. Include                   and avoid fad phrases.
  references to statute and rule,            libel
  when necessary.                              Injury to reputation. Libelous
legislature                                    words, pictures, or cartoons
  Capitalize when you are refer-               that expose a person to public
  ring to the Oregon Legislature.              hatred, shame, disgrace or
  Retain capitalization when the               ridicule, or induce an ill opin-
  state name is dropped but the                ion of a person.
  reference is still to that spe-            like, as, as if, as though
  cific legislature: the state Legis-          Like should compare nouns
  lature, the 2005 Legislature.                and pronouns, not introduce
  Lowercase legislature only if                clauses. It is correct to say, “He
  you are using it generically: No             looks like a bulldog,” or, “It
  legislature has approved the                 looks like a disaster.” It is incor-
  amendment.                                   rect to say, “The kid ripped
                                               open Christmas presents like
less than/under/fewer                          he had never received a gift in
  These words are not interchange-             his life.” Better: “The kid ripped
  able. Generally, use less than for           open Christmas presents as
  quantity, use under when you are             though he had never received
  referring to a spatial relationship          a gift in his life.” Do not use like
  (something located relative to               in place of such as. Instead of:
  something else), and fewer for               DCBS has many divisions, like
  number. Examples: He made less

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                        Stylebook
  Building Codes, say: DCBS has                 make decisions about
  many divisions, such as Building               Use decide on.
  Codes.                                        make inquiry of
likely                                           Use ask.
  Use a form of the verb “to be”                media is
  with likely, as in, The situation is           Use media are. However, re-
  likely to correct itself, not Likely,          member that “the media” is
  the situation will correct itself.             plural for the technical portion
  Remember that to be is conju-                  of the information — distribu-
  gated irregularly: I am, you are,              tion industry — television
  he is, we are, you are, they are.              broadcasts, newspapers, mag-
literally                                        azines, the Internet, etc. The
   Speakers often use literally                  human portion of the informa-
   when they mean its opposite,                  tion-distribution industry is
   figuratively: I was literally crushed         not “media,” they are members
   by the crowd at the concert. Liter-           of the press, reporters, etc. In
   ally means adhering to the strict             the singular, they are not each
   meaning of the word.                          a “medium.”
loaded attributions                             method and methodology
  When attributing quotes, don’t                 Method means a procedure or
  use claimed, charged, alleged,                 planned way of doing some-
  laughed, simpered, whimpered.                  thing. Methodology means a
  Just use said, which doesn’t im-               system of methods within a
  ply judgment. And remember                     discipline, such as science.
  that if you use says, you’re imply-           moot point
  ing that the speaker frequently                Moot’s first definition is debat-
  repeats the quote — unlikely for               able, although it is frequently
  most quoted material, although                 used to mean irrelevant. In law,
  possible.                                      moot may mean theoretical,
login, logon, logoff                             hypothetical, or not actual.
  Write log on to your computers,               more importantly, most
  and don’t forget to log off when              importantly
  you leave, which are verb                       Write “More important, we need
  forms. As adjectives, use with-                 to assess the impact of the new
  out hyphens or spaces: Your                     regulations.” Importantly is an
  new logon procedure is as fol-                  adverb that tells how something
  lows …                                          was done: He strode importantly
make an adjustment to                             to the lectern.
 Use adjust.

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                      Stylebook
more than, over                             no. for “number”
 If you mean amounts or num-                 If you’re using no. for number
 bers of something, use more                 because you don’t have space
 than. If you mean location, use             for number in the form or table
 over or above. There were more              you’re creating, you can plural-
 than a million stars in the sky             ize it no.’s.
 over the Rockies. He contributed           non-
 more than $40,000.                          Generally, you don’t need a
myself, yourself, himself                    hyphen with this prefix, unless
 Many people use these reflex-               it’s a proper noun or in an awk-
 ive pronouns instead of the                 ward combination, such as
 simple personal pronouns, I,                non-nuclear. If you’re not sure,
 me, you, he, him, in sentences              check the dictionary.
 such as this: Send copies to my            nonattendance
 assistant and myself. The pro-              It’s absence. Harsh, perhaps,
 noun to use in this example                 but there it is.
 would be me. If the pronoun is
 the subject of a sentence (the             noon, midnight
 doer of the action), the pro-               To avoid confusion, use noon
 noun will be I, he, she, they. If           and midnight without attaching
 the pronoun is in the objective             “a.m.” or “p.m.” Contrary to
 case (the recipient of some ac-             popular belief, noon is 12 hours
 tion), the pronoun will be me,              after midnight, and can be con-
 him, her, etc. Try removing the             sidered 12 a.m. Midnight is part
 other parties from the sen-                 of the preceding day, or 12 p.m.
 tence, and see if, for example,             However, one minute after mid-
 Send a copy to myself, sounds               night is, of course, 12:01 a.m.
 correct.                                   not less than, not more
necessitate                                 than
 Use require, need, have to.                  Use at least and or less.
needless to say                             notorious
 If it’s needless to say, don’t.             Don’t use for noted or famous.
                                             It’s pejorative. Someone may
neither, nor                                 have notoriety as a criminal,
 These words come as a set when              yet be noted for his or her skill
 used as conjunctions, so don’t              with contracts.
 separate them. If you use neither,
 use nor, not or. Neither can also          notwithstanding
 be used as a pronoun meaning                Use even if, despite, still, yet, or
 not either, (Neither can go.) or an         but.
 adjective (neither part).

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                      Stylebook
noun-pronoun agreement                        Use figures and spell out inches,
 If a noun is plural, its pronoun             feet, yards, etc. Examples: Add
 later in the sentence must also              a 6-inch border. He is 6 feet 6
 be plural. Example: Civil law                inches tall. The 5-foot-8-inch
 allows victims to file suit within           woman is Sarah Browne.
 three years of when they realize             If working with many dimen-
 they were injured. Trying to be              sions, weights, heights, or
 politically correct often leads to           measurements in technical
 errors here, as does using the               documents, use an apostrophe
 singular (a victim, in this case)            to indicate feet, quote marks to
 and then trying to avoid using               indicate inches, and an x to
 the correct he or she in favor of            indicate by. Examples: 6’5” tall,
 they. Here is an example of how              a 9’ x 12’ board.
 not to write it: Civil law allows a
 victim to file suit within three             Spell out a number that begins
 years of when they realize they              a sentence. If the number is too
 were injured. Technically cor-               long, rearrange the sentence,
 rect, but clumsy: Civil law al-              so that the number isn’t at the
 lows a victim to file suit within            beginning. The exception to
 three years of when he or she                this rule is when a year begins
 realizes he or she was injured.              a sentence: 1951 was a good
                                              year to arrive in Oregon.
numbers, dimensions
 Too many of them in one sen-                 Spell out numbers smaller than
 tence or paragraph can be mind-              10. Some exceptions: percents
 numbing. Use only the statistics             (5 percent, 2 percent), monetary
 you need to make your point                  amounts (5 cents, $2), millions,
 — and double-check to ensure                 billions (1 million, 8 billion).
 that they really do make your              of a confidential nature
 point. Avoid more than three                 If it’s confidential, just say con-
 numbers or dimensions in one                 fidential. If it’s not, don’t imply
 sentence. Put additional figures             that it is.
 in other paragraphs. Explain               of great practical importance
 your numbers clearly. A table or             Say useful.
 graph may be the best way to
 present data.                              OK
                                             Choose this over okay or O.K.
  Only substitute no. for number
  when you are short on space.              online
  If you need to pluralize it, use           Related to the Internet, online
  no.’s.                                     is acceptable and is preferred
                                             by the AP Stylebook, a recent

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                    Stylebook
on-site, on site                             decided, the committee met, John
 On-site is the adjective: on-site           Hughes wrote the report.
 inspections. On site is an ad-            past experience
 verb: “She’s working on site in            Experience is always past. Use
 Hillsboro.”                                experience.
orient, orientate                          people, persons
  For introducing someone to                If you have more than one person,
  something: orient.                        use people.
oversight                                  per
  Oversight can mean a failure,             In most uses, per can be re-
  lapse, omission, or blunder as            placed by a or an. Although we
  well as management. Because               still say 20 miles per gallon, we
  of this, authority, monitoring,           don’t say “She makes 40 grand
  administration, or some other             per year.” Do not write “Send
  word may be preferable.                   the information to Joe per Sal-
owing to the fact that                      ly’s instructions.” Say “ Send the
 Use because.                               information to Joe, as Sally
oxymoron                                    asked.” Write “Applicants must
 A pairing of contradictory or              respond in writing, according to
 out-of-place words, such as                the requirements of ORS 656.241,”
 unsung hero, open secret, and              not “Applicants must respond
 war games. Avoid oxymorons                 in writing, per ORS 656.241.”
 in business writing.                      percent
parameters                                  Spell percent (50 percent, etc.),
 Limits or boundaries in informal           unless it’s in a table. Always use
 usage, parameters is primarily a           figures and decimals, not frac-
 mathematics term. Do not con-              tions (2 percent, 7.5 percent).
 fuse with perimeters, which                For amounts less than 1 percent,
 means limits or boundaries in a            precede the decimal with a zero
 physical (as opposed to mathe-             (0.5 percent). Repeat percent
 matical) sense: “Beyond the                with each individual figure: He
 perimeters of the brick fence              said 10 percent to 30 percent of
 was everything the dog had ever            the electorate may not vote.
 wanted to see and sniff.”                 perform the work of
passive constructions                       Such constructions can often
 It was decided that, a meeting was         be shortened: “He installed the
 held, the report was compiled by           manufactured home. She was
 — these passive constructions              a chief operating officer.”
 are not only lifeless but also in-        period of time
 dicate reluctance to take respon-          Just period, which includes the
 sibility. Use the active voice: we         concept of time.

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                        Stylebook
peruse                                          “Journeywoman” has been on
 Use read or study.                             the fringe of the lexicon for
phenomena, phenomenon                           some time, but how clumsy to
 Phenomena is plural: “The phe-                 say: “There will be a class for
 nomena were indisputable.”                     journeyman and journeywom-
                                                an electricians next month. If
pique, peak, peek                               you want to enroll, present
  Pique is to excite, but also to               your journeyman or -woman
  affect with sharp irritation or               electrician license at sign up.”
  resentment; peak means high
  point or to reach the highest                 “Journeyman” is the word for a
  point; and peek means to glance               person who has served an ap-
  quickly or furtively.                         prenticeship in a trade and who
                                                is certified to work in that trade.
political correctness                           It is understood to mean male or
 Although there is value in cor-                female. Sometimes our desper-
 recting terms that have been                   ate search for a politically cor-
 slap-dashedly applied and that                 rect term is unnecessary.
 now seem insensitive, if not
 downright inaccurate, the urge                 Words such as “fireman” can be
 to be politically correct can be               troublesome, as they refer to a
 carried too far.                               person in a particular line
                                                rather than a level of achieve-
  For instance, one cannot le-                  ment within a line of work. But
  gitimately change famous quo-                 it should be adequate to refer to
  tations or say ings. If you                   “fire department employees,”
  anticipate that they may cause                consisting of men and women.
  trouble, as “It’s a man’s world”
  would, simply omit them.                    pore over
                                               To study; it’s not pour over, al-
  Be extremely careful when sub-               though one could conceivably
  stituting for long-established               appear to be pouring oneself
  words such as “journeyman.”                  over a text.
  Substituting “journey” would
  create a problem for translators:           possessive nouns
  “If you want to become a jour-               Here are eight rules for forming
  neyman (sojourn? trip? excur-                possessives:
  sion?) electrician ...,” Translators          • If a singular noun doesn’t
  might struggle with “journey,”                  end in s, add ’s: book’s,
  yet recognize “journeyman.”                     record’s, year’s.
  Journey has long had its own
  meanings; assigning it another
  one would be as irresponsible
  as selecting “journeyman” to-
  day if the word did not exist.

Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                   Stylebook
• If a singular common noun                  word: Faulkner’s and
  ends in s, add ’s — unless                 Robbins’ novels, Tanzania’s
  the next word begins with s.               and Paraguay’s allies.
  If it does, add an apostrophe
                                           • In a compound construction,
  only (includes words with s
                                             use the correct possessive
  and sh sounds.): the boss’s
                                             form for the word closest to
  machine, but the boss’
                                             the noun: Society of Friends’
  stronghold; the witness’s
                                             annual report, father-in-law’s
  testimony, but the witness’
                                             intransigence, Postal Service’s
  story; science’s needs, but for
                                             rate hike, attorney general’s
  science’ sake.
• If a singular proper noun
                                           Sometimes it’s hard to say
  ends in s, add an apostrophe
                                           whether you need a plural
  only: Tim Roberts’ copy.
                                           noun or a possessive form of
• If a noun is plural in form              the noun. For instance, AP
  and ends in an s, add an                 Stylebook lists Veterans Day
  apostrophe only, even if the             (with no apostrophe), Team-
  intended meaning of the                  sters union, Professional Golf-
  word is singular (such as                ers’ Association, Retail Clerks
  mathematics or measles):                 International Union, and Na-
  poems’ meanings, the                     tional Governors’ Association.
  witches’ executions, the                 When in doubt, look it up.
  measles’ misery, mathematics’          possessives of personal
  theorems, the Marine Corps’            pronouns
  spirit, DCBS’ divisions.                Ours, yours, hers, its, and theirs
• If a plural noun does not               do not have apostrophes. Don’t
  end in s, add ’s: women’s               confuse the contraction of it is
  rights, oxen’s yokes, media’s           (it’s) for the possessive pronoun
  successes.                              its. Try using the un-contracted
                                          form it’s, and see if it makes
• If there is joint possession,           sense. The cat licked it is fur
  use the possessive form only            obviously is not correct.
  for the possessive closest to
  the noun: Sonny and Cher’s             practicable, practical
  divorce, her husband and                Practicable means capable of
  children’s future, Kate and             being put into practice with the
  Charles’ Porsche.                       available means, or feasible.
                                          Practical means pertaining to
• If there is separate                    or concerned with practice or
  possession of the same                  action, adapted or suited for
  noun, use the correct                   practical use, or useful or utili-
  possessive form for each                tarian. You could reasonably

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                             Stylebook
  say a practical method, but                       of conduct. The principle “treat
  you’d raise eyebrows writing a                    others as you would wish to be
  practicable vinyl floor.                          treated” was apparent.
pre-                                              prior to
 Generally you don’t need a                        Use before. It’s less stuffy.
 hyphen with this prefix, unless                  prioritize
 the word that follows begins                      Rank is better, although priori-
 with the same vowel: pre-exist-                   tize has been used so frequent-
 ing, pre-empt, preregistration,                   ly that it’s appearing in newer
 prejudge.                                         dictionaries.
premier, premiere                                 proactive
 Premier (adj.) for first in rank,                 A word created as an opposite
 chief, leading. Premiere for first                to reactive. It too is creeping into
 public showing: It will premiere                  dictionaries. Most reference
 in Portland.                                      materials call it a “nonword.”
preposition pile-up                                Substitute words that describe
 Prepositions used carelessly, as                  what you mean: active, progres-
 in this sentence: When he came                    sive, assertive, aggressive, etc.
 to after the freeway pile up he was              promptly, punctually, timely
 out of a job, partially off his rocker             Promptly means done, performed,
 from the pain, and with from about                 delivered, etc., at once or without
 $20,000 to $50,000 in bills eating                 delay. Punctually means at the
 up savings that had been pared                     time or times appointed. Timely,
 down to practically nothing.                       as an adverb, means seasonably
  Try to replace verb forms that                    or opportunely. Select the one
  include prepositions, such as face                that works best according to
  off, lift off, pry up, come to, lay out,          context. It’s not unusual to see the
  fill up and circle around (which is               claim must be processed timely, in
  redundant, anyway), with one-                     which timely probably is not as
  word verbs.                                       good a choice as punctually.
principal, principle                              prone
 Principal as a noun means a                       This means lying face down.
 person in first rank or author-                   Supine means face up. If you
 ity. Principal as an adjective                    say someone was lying on his
 still means first in rank or au-                  back, prone in the mud, you’ll
 thority. Example: The principal                   confuse people. Prone can also
 outlined the principal uses of the                mean having a tendency to, as
 student behavior code. The -ple                   in “She’s prone to disappear-
 principle is always a noun, and                   ances when meetings occur.”
 means a truth, doctrine, or rule

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                      Stylebook
proved, proven                             ranges, false
 Proved is the verb, proven the              Writers often use ranges incor-
 adjective: “His theory was                  rectly. For instance: “The pack-
 eventually proved.” “It was a               et’s contents range from forms
 proven theory.”                             to hot tips for making your pro-
provide a summary of                         cess run smoothly.” Think about
 Use summarize.                              the range you are claiming ex-
                                             ists: What might be within this
quoting                                      “range”? Newspaper clippings,
 Quotations can be effective for             department-store catalogs,
 adding facts, validity, variety,            downloadable music, gardening
 and tone; however, made-up                  tips? It’s better to write, “as var-
 quotations are easily identifi-             ied as” or specify the items in
 able, and they’re likely to result          this so-called range, although it
 in suspicion and dismissal.                 requires more work.
  Said is the safest choice to use         ratios
  with quotes. Avoid the tempta-             Use figures and hyphens. Ex-
  tion to use laughed, stuttered,            ample: 2-to-1
  uttered, elucidated, claimed,
  snorted, demanded, whined, etc.          rebut, refute
  These words make editorial                 Rebut means to argue to the
  comment and may be incorrect               contrary; refute means to prove
  or even libelous. Says implies             to be false or erroneous. Try
  that the person quoted fre-                deny, dispute, rebut, or respond
  quently utters these words.                to if refute doesn’t work.

  When you quote someone,                  redundancy
  start a new paragraph and en-              Some often-used examples are
  close the quotation in quota-              close proximity, potential haz-
  tion ma rk s. Avoid pa r tia l             ards, HIV virus, and the local
  quotations and putting single              jurisdiction having authority. It
  words in quotation marks.                  should be obvious that some-
                                             thing in proximity would have
  When you identify the speaker              to be close, that all hazards are
  within the sentence, you’ll need           potential (or they wouldn’t be
  another set of quotation marks,            hazards), and that jurisdiction
  but no capital letter at the be-           means “the local jurisdiction
  ginning of the second part of              having authority.”
  the quotation. Example: “In this
  case,” Mr. Meyer said, “we can’t         re-employment
  proceed until the money is com-            Use a hyphen, in most cases,
  mitted, and the money won’t be             when the prefix ends in a
  committed until we have some-              vowel and the following word
  thing more to show them.”                  begins with the same vowel
                                             (exceptions are coordinate and

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                       Stylebook
  cooperate). The hyphen helps                 of meetings has been held to
  the reader interpret the word                discuss this topic.
  not as reem ployment but re-               serve to make reductions
  employment. However, Reem-                   Use reduce.
  ployment Section, within WCD,
  does not have a hyphen.                    shall
                                               (Legal obligation). Use must.
referred to as
  Use called.                                Sheetrock
                                              A trademarked name (like Kleen-
reimburse                                     ex or Spam), in this case, for
  Use repay.                                  plasterboard made of gypsum.
remuneration or                              since, because
remunerative employment                        Avoid using these interchange-
  Use pay, wages, or salary for                ably. Use since to denote periods
  remuneration and paid work for               of time and because when you
  remunerative employment.                     are offering a reason or cause.
render                                       single most, single best,
  Use send, make, or give.                   single biggest
reside                                         Single cannot correctly modify
  Use live.                                    superlative forms like best. Put
resolve, solve                                 single in front of what it does
  Resolve means to determine or                modify: She made the biggest
  come to a definite decision                  single donation.
  about. Solve means to find the             Social Security number
  answer or explanation to a                   Use caps on Social and Security.
  problem, clear up.                         spacing
resonate                                       Use one space after a period or
  This means to exhibit or pro-                colon. Don’t space between
  duce resonance or to resound.                initials with an ampersand
  Too often used with “with” to                (L&I Building) or between ini-
  mean sounds good, makes                      tials used in place of first and
  sense, is preferable, etc.                   middle names (H.L. Mencken).
root cause                                   split constructions
  Use cause, which means the                   Split constructions can create
  reason, motive, or occurrence                confusion. An infinitive is a “to”
  that produced the result.                    form of a verb, such as to dance,
series                                         to paint, to create. To split an
  It’s singular, even when it                  infinitive means to interject a
  means a series of meetings, a                word or words between the “to”
  series of publications, etc. So, it          and the rest of the verb, as in
  takes a singular verb: A series              the following example: We in-

Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                      Stylebook
tend to as soon as possible design          towne fountain the staining chem-
new forms. That sentence could              icals that had been added to
be better: We intend to design              discourage children from playing
new forms as soon as possible.              in the fountain.
Auxiliary verbs may be split                Stick with the subject-verb-
when writers think of informa-              object arrangement that best
tion to include and pop it in               answers the question: “Who
without regard to its distance              did what to whom?”
from the main verbs. The fol-             staff
lowing is an example of a split             Staff is singular, staffs plural. So:
verb: The committee will after              Staff was enlisted to help with the
they have met several more                  mailing. Staffs from Employment
times and appointed a subcom-               and Revenue were asked to join
mittee complete the rough draft.            DCBS staff to consider restructur-
The auxiliary and main verb,                ing central services.
will complete, ought to be kept
together for clarity’s sake. Com-         stakeholder
mas will not save this muddled              This is often used to mean some-
situation. The sentence cries               one who has some level of inter-
out for rewriting.                          est in a project or venture.
                                            However, the dictionary mean-
Subjects and verbs also need to             ing is most often someone who
remain close. Note how the ma-              holds wagers in a bet, so we may
terial interjected between the              not be using it as precisely as
subject and verb make this sen-             we could. Use the word or com-
tence difficult to understand:              bination of words that best ex-
The 2005 report, a compilation by           plains to whom you are referring.
various interested departments              Examples: Our readers, taxpay-
providing input about their own             ers, licensees, attendees, etc.
progress in the areas of work
force and career development,             state
will be published soon. There are           Lowercase in all “state of” ref-
20 words between the subject                erences: state of Oregon.
and the verb, which is a stretch            Do not capitalize state when
for the reader.                             used simply as an adjective to
Another problem is splitting the            specify a level of jurisdiction:
verb from its complement (ob-               the state Department of Reve-
ject, adverb, descriptive phrase).          nue, state funds.
Note the difficulty a reader may            Apply the same principle to
have with this sentence: Parents            “city of” and similar phrases:
protested last week by the Salmon-          the city of Portland.

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                     Stylebook
state of the art                               MP; Palau/PW; Puerto Rico/PR;
  Imprecise. Try most current ver-             Virgin Islands/VI
  sion, energy-saving, more effi-            subheads
  cient, improved, economical,                 Subheads are used for breaks
  prototype, ideal, etc.                       and guidance when text runs
state names, abbreviations                     long or material is complicated.
  When referring to a state in a               Subheads should be succinct.
  sentence, spell it. Example:                 They should be similar in style,
  Dorothy liked Kansas.                        meaning that if you use one
  When a city name accompanies                 gerund-phrase subhead, e.g.,
  the state, spell out the state               Saving money, other subheads
  name or use its abbreviation.                should not be full sentences,
  He came from Salem, Mass., to                questions, or one-word sub-
  Salem, Ore.                                  heads.

  When offering addresses, use               such as
  postal codes. State abbrevia-                Used without a comma when
  tions and postal codes follow:               the phrase is restrictive, which
                                               is to say crucial to the funda-
  Ala./AL, Alaska/AK, Ariz./AZ,                mental meaning of the sen-
  Ark./AR, Calif./CA, Colo./CO,                tence: The incident-management
  Conn./CT, Del./DE, D.C./DC,                  system was created to deal with
  Fla./FL, Ga./GA, Hawaii/HI,                  events such as fires, earth-
  Idaho/ID, Ill./IL, Ind./IN, Iowa/            quakes, and terrorist acts. Use
  IA, Kans./KS, Ky./KY, La./LA,                commas when the such as
  Maine/ME, Md./MD, Mass./MA,                  phrase is descriptive and not
  Mich./MI, Minn./MN, Miss./MS,                crucial to the sentence: You
  Mo./MO, Mont./MT, Neb./NE,                   may wish to bring personal
  Nev./NV, N.H./NH, N.J./NJ, N.                items for your own comfort, such
  M./NM, N.Y./NY, N.C./NC, ND./                as water bottles, blankets, sun-
  ND, Ohio/OH, Okla./OK, Ore./                 screen, and sunglasses.
  OR, Pa./PA, R.I./RI, S.C./SC,
  S.D./SD, Tenn./TN, Tex./TX,                supplementary
  Uta h / U T, Vt. / V T, Va . / VA ,          Use extra or more.
  Wash./WA, W. Va./WV, Wis./                 take into consideration
  WI, Wyo./WY                                  Use consider.
U.S territories, possessions,                that/which
occupancies                                    Use that when you want to re-
  American Samoa/AS; Federat-                  strict meaning in a sentence
  ed States of Micronesia/FM;                  and which when you want to
  Guam/GU; Marshall Islands/                   elaborate. Note that and which
  MH; Northern Mariana Islands/                in the following sentence: The

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                     Stylebook
  announcement that had been               this, that, and they
  planned for May 17 was post-               Replace this, that, and they
  poned, which was a good                    if, upon rereading your sen-
  thing.                                     tence, you see that they may be
  If you are using commas cor-               ambiguous.
  rectly to set off clauses, the           time
  clauses set off are most likely            Use figures, except for noon
  which clauses, meaning that                and midnight. Use a colon to
  they elaborate, but are not                separate hours and minutes.
  crucial to the sentence.                   Omit the double zero after even
  Consider this sentence: All                hours: 7 a.m., 8 a.m., etc. Don’t
  language seminars, which were              say, 6 a.m. in the morning, or
  offered to PSU’s international             3:30 p.m. in the afternoon. Low-
  business students last June, will          ercase and use periods in a.m.
  be offered to local corporations           and p.m.
  this year. If the nonessential           time frames
  clause is removed, the sen-                If you use this, make it two
  tence says: All language semi-             words; however, you probably
  nars will be offered to local              can and should be more spe-
  corporations this year.                    cific. Try deadline, schedule,
the law provides that                        recommended response time,
  Use the law says.                          within 30 days, etc.

the question as to whether                 time, punctuation
  Use whether or if.                         If you say, I dedicated four years
                                             to this project, there is no need
theirs                                       for an apostrophe. If you say,
  The possessive of their has no             His four years’ experience quali-
  apostrophe: That is theirs.                fies him, you are making years
there are some people                        possessive and you need an
who are                                      apostrophe. Likewise with two
  Some people are.                           days’ pay, three weeks’ vacation,
there is reason to believe                   and spring break’s activities. To
  Use I think.                               avoid using the apostrophe, use
                                             a hyphenated form of the words,
there’s                                      such as a three-week vacation,
  This is the contracted form of             a two-day paycheck, etc., or say
  there is. Example: There’s going           four years of experience.
  to be a storm tonight.
they’re                                      Avoid using timely as an adverb
  This is the contracted form of             (payments will be made timely),
  they are. Example: They’re driv-           which is archaic. When using
  ing to Newport tomorrow.

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                      Stylebook
  timely as an adjective (Payment            uncommon expressions
  must be made in a timely man-               Be careful about using what
  ner) substitute Payments must               you may consider well-known
  be made promptly, according to              expressions in business writ-
  the schedule, within 30 days of             ing. They will not be well-
  the filing, etc.                            known to everyone, and they
titles                                        may be inappropriate. And
  Lowercase and spell out titles              don’t mutilate expressions that
  when they are not used with an              might otherwise have been
  individual’s name: The director             well-known: “iron out the bugs”
  of the Department of Consumer               instead of “iron out the wrin-
  & Business Services issued a                kles” or “remove the bugs.”
  statement.                                 under way
  Lowercase and spell out titles in           Two words.
  constructions that set them off            underlining
  from a name by commas: Cory                 Use one of these options instead
  Streisinger, the director of the            of underlining for emphasis: ital-
  Department of Consumer & Busi-              ics, bolding, a box, shading,
  ness Services, issued a statement.          small caps, or a larger type size.
  Spell out a title only if is comes          Underlining cuts off the descend-
  directly before the individual’s            ers of lowercase letters and may
  name: DCBS Director Cory Stre-              be mistaken for a Web link. Re-
  isinger issued a statement.                 member that careful wording
                                              and a clean layout are more
  (See separate entry for governor)           effective at emphasizing infor-
toll-free numbers                             mation than any of these tools
  Omit the “1” and put the first              — all of them reduce readability
  three digits, which don’t always            and increase clutter.
  use 800, in parentheses. Ex-               unique
  ample: Call our toll-free phone             Unique means one of a kind.
  number, (800) 222-3333. Note                Something cannot be rather
  that toll-free has a hyphen.                unique, most unique, some-
type                                          what unique, etc.
  Don’t use it when you mean kind            usage
  of, as in this sentence: He was              Usually, “use” is the word you
  that type employee. Say He was               want: PUC reports showed that
  that kind of employee.                       the public’s use of power pur-
ultimate                                       chased from other states was
  Don’t use for last, if last is what          higher this year than last year.
  you mean. Don’t say ultimate                 You could substitute “con-
  outcome; outcome is sufficient.              sumption” for “use” in this

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                    Stylebook
user friendly                              was witness to
  Don’t use. It is may not be               Use saw.
  “friendly” to the user at all —          we wish to thank
  we don’t know. See “hackneyed             Say we thank or just thank you.
  words and fad phrases.”
                                           World Wide Web site,
utilize                                    Web site
  Say use.                                  Web site is two words, capital-
venue                                       ized because World Wide Web
  Correctly used to refer to court-         is capitalized.
  rooms or other sites of trials.          whether or not
  Not the best choice for sites of          Use whether for most purposes.
  meetings and concerts.
                                           who, whom
verbal agreement                            When you are talking about the
  Don’t use for oral agreement.             subject of any action, even the
  Verbal means consisting of                subject of a verb within a sen-
  words, both written and spo-              tence, use the subjective who.
  ken. Almost all agreements are            If the person you’re talking
  verbal, and they may be written           about is the object of some ac-
  or oral.                                  tion, use the objective whom.
verbally reported                            To whom did you give that
  Use said. If someone reports, we           goose? (You did give that goose
  can assume they used words,                to whom? (him/her/them)
  or reported verbally. If they
  were, say, grunting, we couldn’t           Who is going? Not him or her is
  be sure they were reporting.               going, but he or she.
verify                                     who, that
  Use check or prove.                       Both pronouns are used when
                                            referring to people. If writing of
versus                                      an individual, use who. If writing
  Use versus except in discussion           about a group, use that. Exam-
  of court cases, in which you use          ples: The health care workers
  “v.”: There was an “us versus             that picketed on the steps of the
  them” mentality. In Hendricks v.          Capitol marched and sang
  Justine, there was precedent set.         throughout the night. The em-
  In headline writing, “vs” is ac-          ployer, who denied being non-
  ceptable to save precious col-            compliant, did not appeal the
  umn space: West Salem Titans              citations and filed for bankruptcy
  vs South Salem Saxons expects             within a month. The employers
  big draw.                                 that sponsored the conference
was of the opinion that                     expressed satisfaction and com-
 Use believed or thought.                   mitted to next year’s sponsorship.

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                    Stylebook
  Note the “that” examples are in          workplace, worksite
  restrictive phrases — that is,            OK as one word, although your
  they are essential to the mean-           spell-checker may not agree.
  ing of the sentences they are in.         Workroom, workshop, workta-
  A nonrestrictive phrase would             ble, workweek, workbench, and
  contain “which”: The steelhead,           workbook morphed into single
  which are now spawning, are na-           words, so we’ll pretend these
  tive to these rivers. Without the         two have, also.
  nonrestrictive phrase, the sen-          X-ray
  tence still makes its point.              Use this form for noun, verb, or
who’s, whose                                adjective.
 Who’s is a contraction of who             you’re
 is. Example : Who’s going?                  This is the contracted form of
 Whose is the possessive form                you are. If you’re using it cor-
 of the relative pronoun who.                rectly, you’re not confusing it
 Example: Whose coat is this?                with your, the possessive pro-
with a view to                               noun. Example: You’re going
 Use to.                                     golfing this afternoon? Your
with reference to                            clubs are in the closet.
 Use about or concerning.                  ZIP code
with the possible                            The “zip” in ZIP code should be
exception of                                 capitalized. It stands for Zoning
  In most situations, use except.            Improvement Plan. When writ-
                                             ing addresses, you don’t need
with the result that                         a comma after the state and
 Use so that.                                before the ZIP code: Down-
                                             town, Salem OR 97302.

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                    Stylebook
      About press releases and publicity
   Every press release faces stiff          Then:
competition for newspaper space
                                            n	 Pack the who, what, when,
or airtime. You need a solid news
                                               where and why into the lead
angle and a press release that is
                                               (lede); don’t “bury” your
well-written, -timed, and -targeted.
                                               lead down in the body of
Ask yourself what you have that
                                               your release — your artful
others want or need to know. Be
                                               construction will not be
realistic. Consider the value of
                                               appreciated at the news
your news to editors and readers.
Will it have a significant effect on
a significant group within the              n	 Keep news releases short
distribution area of the outlet                (one page) and make them
you’re targeting?                              legible. It’s wise to double-
                                               space if you’re mailing or
   Ask yourself if the cost is
                                               faxing them. If a reporter or
worth the coverage you’re likely
                                               editor can easily mark it up
to get. (You may have the mis-
                                               for his or her own use, it is
taken idea that it only takes about
                                               more likely to be used.
half an hour, so why not?)
                                            n	 Don’t use acronyms,
   Knowing the audience for yor
                                               abbreviations, jargon, or
particular news item will help.
   Good mailing (or e-mail or
                                            n	 Write concise headlines
fax) lists are crucial.
                                               with subjects and verbs.
  Always think like a reporter
                                            n	 Include several contact
when writing a news release; ask:
                                               numbers or methods, so
n	 What happened?                              editors can reach someone
                                               before 8 a.m. or after 5 p.m.
n	 Who was affected?
                                            n	 Always have someone
n	 When, where, and why did it
                                               proofread your draft.
                                            n	 Get your news release out
n	 If I were the reader, what
                                               before or promptly after the
   else would I want to know
                                               event. If it can’t be prompt,
   about this?
                                               try another approach, such
                                               as an opinion piece or
                                               feature article.

 Department of Consumer & Business serviCes                  Stylebook
   Some always-popular topics           n	 The governor has replaced
likely to make the grade as                your agency administrator.
regional news:
                                        n	 Your agency is the model
n	 Big savings                             upon which another
                                           country is building a similar
n	 Government expenses
n	 New or revived industry
                                            Of course, there are many
n	 Beginnings or endings of             other kinds of stories that might
   programs that benefit a              get regional coverage; the point
   significant portion of the           is that they need to be “big” in
   population                           t he m i n d s o f e d ito r s a n d
n	 Inventions                           readers.

n	 Stories about people that               If you can’t honestly say your
   bring to life trends, crimes,        story is “big,” remember that
   changes                              bold type and underlining and
                                        lots of paper and phone calls
n	 Trends                               won’t make it so.
n	 Fraud                                   For smaller news stories, aim
n	 Scandal                              more carefully. Target trade
                                        associations and professional
   What state-agency news, for          groups, smaller week ly
example, would probably get             newspapers, and radio talk
regional coverage?                      shows, for example.
n	 You have the first all-                 Well-developed stories about
   Spanish-language division            people are always popular.
   in state government.                 When you can put real people
n	 Your agency has turned to            into stories about policies and
   profit-making activities to          programs, you bring them to life,
   fund worthwhile projects.            giving readers information in a
                                        way that is easier to understand,
n	 Your division is switching to        more memorable, and more
   100 percent telecommuting            interesting than a bulletin or
   and leasing its building.            straight news article.
n	 Your agency or division is
   merging with another.

440-3263 (6/06/COM)

Description: Consumer Business Letters document sample