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Monday, September 24, 2012

My Pet Peeves: From the J Entries in Garbl's Editorial Style Manual

Here's the ninth in my alphabetical series of pet peeves -- from entries in the J section of Garbl's Editorial Style Manual. My style manual covers editorial issues like abbreviations, addresses, capitalization, English grammar, Internet terminology, numbers, plurals, possessives, punctuation, spelling and word usage. It focuses on U.S. standards for spelling, punctuation, definitions, usage, style and grammar.

Earlier blogs:

A peeves B peeves C peeves D peeves E peeves F peeves G peeves H peeves | I peeves

jargon Avoid jargon, the special or technical words, phrases and idioms of a particular class, profession or occupation. Example: The biota exhibited a 100 percent mortality response. Rewrite: All the fish died. When jargon is necessary, explain or define terms that will be difficult for most readers to understand.

join together, link together Both are redundant. Remove together or try unite or connect instead.

just Like only, placement of just can change the meaning of a sentence. To avoid confusion, place just directly before the word or phrase it modifies. 

Also, think about deleting or replacing just. It can be vague, redundant or meaningless: exactly instead of just exactlyabout, almost or nearly instead of just aboutrecently instead of just recentlyonly instead of just.

justification Often misused. It's one way to align text in documents. Justification involves adding spaces between words so the words fill each line of text from the left margin to the right margin. When a body of text--such as a paragraph, newspaper column, or chapter in a book--is justified, both the right and left margins are aligned. A body of text is either justified or aligned in some other way: left aligned (or ragged right or flush left), centered, or right aligned (or flush right). Most word-processing and publication-design software offers those choices.

Opinions vary on which alignment is most readable. Centered text is OK for special effects, headings and headlines. Save right alignment for special effects. Many favor left alignment (ragged right) as less formal, less official and less like a form letter. Others favor justification, with its even margins, as neater and more attractive. 

Be careful when justifying text--to prevent excess white space between words and a ribbon of white running through the lines. Breaking long words at the end of some lines--using hyphens between syllables--can make both justified and right alignment more attractive.

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