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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Gabbing with Grammar Girl | Stanford Daily

The Stanford Daily interviewed Mignon Fogarty, author of Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing and some other useful books on writing.
TSD: Do you have a biggest grammar pet peeve?
MF: I’m not a big peever, but when marketing people want to capitalize words that don’t need to be capitalized, that probably bothers me more than anything. There’s just no reason to capitalize, you know, “taco” in the middle of a sentence…It’s just a taco — capitalizing it doesn’t make it better.
Unwarranted capitalization is not my biggest pet peeve of writing, but I detest it. The rules of capitalization we all learned back in our school days did not include anything like this: Capitalize words that you, the writer, think are important. Again, that is not a rule; actually, it's the opposite of a rule.

For more advice, check the capitalization entry in Garbl's Editorial Style Manual.

I also liked this exchange in the interview:
TSD: On the subject of philosophy, do you have a specific approach to grammar? Why do you think it’s important to write correctly?
MF: It’s important to write correctly because people do judge you based on how you write, especially now that we aren’t meeting people face to face nearly as much as we used to. I’ve hired people without ever meeting them, based on email exchanges and their blog and things like that, so how you present yourself in writing is a really important part of your professional persona.
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