We tend to think about writing mechanics like spelling and punctuation in terms of rules. There’s a right way and wrong way to write everything—isn’t there?
Well, no. English is full of gray areas where there’s no single “right” way. There’s no real difference between 9 a.m. and 9 AM (even if you had a teacher or boss with extremely strong personal feelings about it). But if neither one is wrong, how do you decide which variant to use?
We’re delighted to tell you that you can use whichever variant you like best. What you really need to pay attention to is consistency—picking one style and sticking to it throughout your document. To help you out, Grammarly Premium can now help you catch inconsistencies in spelling, punctuation, and formatting throughout a piece of text in the Grammarly Editor.
Why does consistency matter?
If U.S. and US are both acceptable abbreviations for the United States, why does it matter if you write U.S. in one part of your document and US in another? There are two big advantages to being consistent with the variants you use.
1. If you pick a style and stick to it, you’ll make things easier on yourself. If you decide from the beginning to write all acronyms without periods, you won’t have to keep stopping to make a decision about periods every time you write an acronym.
2. Consistency makes your document look more polished and professional. Switching back and forth between various styles and formats can come across as sloppy to readers. This is why some companies require employees to follow a particular style guide, like the Chicago Manual or the AP Stylebook.
How does Grammarly help?
When you’re writing in the Grammarly Editor, Grammarly Premium’s new consistency checks will alert you when they detect multiple variants or styles within the same document. They’ll even ask you which style you want to use and allow you to apply it throughout your document with a single click. Read on for a few examples.
There are a lot of options when it comes to formatting dates: November 3, November 3rd, Nov. 3, 3 November—the list goes on. Grammarly lets you standardize the way dates appear everywhere in your document.
Inconsistent: Applications are due July 10th, and we’ll make a decision by 25 Aug.
Consistent: Applications are due July 10th, and we’ll make a decision by August 25th.
Consistent: Applications are due 10 Jul, and we’ll make a decision by 25 Aug.
If you’ve decided to capitalize (or lowercase) a particular term, it’s important to do so consistently. Grammarly helps you find all uses of words with this treatment and lets you easily apply consistent capitalization. But unlike a simple find and replace function, Grammarly can take context into account. That means you won’t end up with a lowercase word at the beginning of a sentence.
Inconsistent: Office life was different before the Internet. Education has changed because of the internet, too.
Consistent: Office life was different before the internet. Education has changed because of the internet, too.
Consistent: Office life was different before the Internet. Education has changed because of the Internet, too.
When you can spell the same word multiple ways, it can be hard to choose one spelling and stick to it, especially if you don’t really have a strong preference. Now Grammarly can help you keep track!
Inconsistent: Public wifi is convenient, but it’s always safer to use a password-protected WiFi network.
Consistent: Public wifi is convenient, but it’s always safer to use a password-protected wifi network.
Consistent: Public WiFi is convenient, but it’s always safer to use a password-protected WiFi network.
It’s not just you—hyphens are tricky beasts. Should it be co-worker or coworker? They’re both acceptable, and now Grammarly will let you pick a style with a single click.
Inconsistent: Please log in with your e-mail address and password. If there’s a problem, you can email our IT manager.
Consistent: Please log in with your email address and password. If there’s a problem, you can email our IT manager.
Consistent: Please log in with your e-mail address and password. If there’s a problem, you can e-mail our IT manager.
Keep your acronyms styled consistently—with or without periods—throughout your document.
Inconsistent: The book goes on sale March 1 in the U.S. and March 15 in the UK.
Consistent: The book goes on sale March 1 in the US and March 15 in the UK.
Consistent: The book goes on sale March 1 in the U.S. and March 15 in the U.K.
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