Posts tagged ‘punctuation’

PRCA 3330- Topic of the Week 4: NewsU Cleaning Your Copy

Last week for my Public Relations Writing class, I took an online course through Poynter’s News University, called Cleaning Your Copy.  The course, which lasted approximately one hour, covered AP style, grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

Before taking the course, I was not very familiar with AP style, so I learned the most from that section.  The section covered addresses, ages, abbreviations, capitalization, dates, distances, interstates, money, numbers, percent(ages), telephone numbers, and time.

For example, when using a percentage in AP style, it is one word: 1 percent, or 2.5 percent (you would use decimals not fractions).

Another section which helped me was the grammar section.  This section included, modifiers, pronouns, that/which, that/who, who/whom, verbs, lay/lie, parallel construction, and contractions.

Before I read this section, I’m not sure I was even aware as to what a modifier was.  The grammar section of this course goes into great detail about what modifiers are and what types there are.  There are dangling modifiers, misplaced modifiers, and squinting modifiers.

The other section of grammar which helped me was on that vs. which.  The rule is that you use “which” for clauses that offer incidental information and use “that” for clauses that give necessary information for the sentence.

Here is an example straight from the Cleaning Your Copy course:

The stream which (incidentally, by the way) rises dangerously during flood season, flows near the village.

The stream that flows dangerously during flood season (as opposed to other streams) flows near the village.

The other grammar rule that I found helpful was that “that and which” refer to animals and things, while “who and whom” refer to people. Example:

Right: Many couples with young children also have aging parents who need support.

Wrong: Many couples with young children also have aging parents that need support.

The punctuation section of the course also helped me improve my writing.  I had never fully understood when to use colons.  The rules are as follows:

  • You can use a colon instead of a period between two sentences that present contrasting ideas. (Ex: The researchers expected to solve the puzzle of the disease: They found more questions.)
  • You can use a colon between two clauses when the second thought adds to the first. (Ex: He explained the bottom line: It’s cheaper to fly.)
  • And you can use a colon to introduce a list, but only when it follows an independent clause. (Ex: The president visited three countries on his trip: Japan, England, Korea.)

I found this course extremely helpful and given the fact that it is free am definitely going to use Poynter’s to take more classes in the future.  I will probably take this one (Cleaning Your Copy) over again just so that hopefully I am able to remember all the specific grammar and AP style rules that this course presented so thoroughly!


February 6, 2010 at 12:55 pm Leave a comment

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