Garblog's Pages

Monday, October 22, 2012

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

Here's the 13th in my alphabetical series of pet peeves--from entries in the O 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 | J peeves | K & L peeves | M peeves | N peeves

obtain Overstated and formal. Simplify. Use get instead. It's an acceptable, simpler substitute.

obviously Often unnecessary and condescending. If something is obvious, why mention it? But if you do state the obvious, don't insult your readers. Drop obviously

occasion Commonly misspelled. Uses two c's but only one s.

occur, occurred, occurring, occurrence Formal, and commonly misspelled. Double the r when adding to the root word, occur. Use occur or simpler happen to refer to "an accidental or unscheduled event." Use take place to refer to "a planned event": The power outage occurred about 5 p.m. The opening ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. Friday. Instead of the general, formal word occurrence, try using event for a significant occurrence or incident for an event with relatively minor significance.

of major importance Wordy. Simplify by replacing with is important, are important or was important.

OK, OK'd, OK'ing, OKs Preferred spelling. No periods.

old Sometimes used redundantly after words like adage, cliche, maxim, proverb and sayingShe often used old cliches when giving advice. Drop old.

on behalf of, in behalf of Sometimes confused. On behalf of means "as the agent of" or "in place of," often in a formal relationship: The attorney spoke on behalf of her client. Think about substituting the simpler for, representing or speaking for for on behalf ofIn behalf of means "in the interest or for the benefit of," typically acting as friend or defender: The character witness gave evidence in behalf of the defendant. Consider using simpler supporting.

one of the Verbose. Drop of the or use a or an instead. Change: One of the purposes of the meeting was to choose a new chair. To: One purpose of the meeting was to choose a new chair. Or: A purpose of the meeting was to choose a new chair. Also, Don't use the illogical one of the only; instead, choose one of the few.

only Placement of only can change the meaning of a sentence: Only David said he was hungry. (David alone said.) David only said he was hungry. (He was not hungry, but he said he was.) David said he was only hungry. (He was not also thirsty or tired or dirty or angry.) To avoid confusion, place only directly before the word or phrase it modifies. Any words separating only from the word or phrase it's intended to modify can lead to ambiguity and confusion.

on, onto, on to, upon Use onto when two elements work as a compound preposition to mean "movement toward and then over": He jumped onto the horse. But use on to where on is an adverb:We moved on to the next subject. Avoid using upon instead of the simpler on

or When all the elements of a conjunction using or are singular, use a singular verb. When all the elements are plural, use a plural verb. When the subject has a mixture of singular and plural elements, make the verb agree with noun or pronoun nearest it. 

oral, verbal, written Use oral to refer to spoken words: The planner gave an oral presentation. Or be less formal and more specific: The planner gave a talk ... The planner spoke about ... The planner talked about .... Use verbal to compares words with some other form of communication: His facial expression revealed the ideas that his limited verbal skills could not express. Use written to refer to words on paper: The two jurisdictions had a written agreement

orientate Simplify. Use orient instead.

other than Wordy. Simplify. Try using except or besides.

outgoing Be careful in using this word as an adjective describing people. It has two differing meanings: One is going away, retiring or withdrawing from a place or position, and the other is friendly or responsive.

over, more than Over usually refers to one thing being above another thing: The plane flew over Bellevue. More than is preferred when using figures, numbers and amounts: More than 300 people attended the meeting. The document had more than 40 pages. But over may be less awkward in some uses: He is over 40. Let your ear be your guide. 

over and over Wordy. Simplify. Try again or repeatedly.

overexaggerate Redundant and overstated. Drop over.

oversight Potentially misleading euphemism that means both watchful, responsible care and an unintentional omission or error. Think about using supervision as an alternative for the first meaning.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...