Friday, April 3, 2009

PUGS Pointers #18: Rules? Are You Sure?

PUGS* Pointers
(*Punctuation, Usage, Grammar, and Spelling)
by Kathy Ide

In this column, freelance author, editor, and speaker Kathy Ide shares tips on Punctuation, Usage, Grammar, and Spelling (“PUGS”).


Capitalization of Religious Terms, CMS #8.111, 8.115–8.117 and CWMS pp. 113–132

For a comprehensive list of what religious terms should be capitalized, see The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style. For example, while Bible and Scripture (nouns) are capitalized, biblical and scriptural (adjectives) are not. Similarly, you would capitalize “the Almighty” (noun) but not “almighty God” (adjective).

Note: For articles, The Associated Press Stylebook has a list of religious terms on page 214.


all together/altogether
all together means “in a group,” as in “Let’s sing this all together now.”
altogether (adverb) means “wholly, completely,” as in “The Lord is altogether holy.”


Generations of English teachers have taught students certain rules that are either personal preferences or rules that have changed over time. For example:

Never end a sentence with a preposition. (See CMS 5.169.)
A preposition is a word that combines with a noun phrase to form a modifying phrase. Most prepositions refer to time, space, or position. Examples:
across the country after the movie
at the store in the room
with ketchup

Many students are taught that prepositions should never come at the end of a sentence. However, the “proper” ordering of prepositions can sometimes result in sentences that sound awkward, stilted, or pompous.

As a general rule, try to avoid ending sentences with prepositions. But if that’s the only way to avoid sounding awkward, then by all means, break the rule. Sometimes a preposition is the best word to end a sentence with.


deathbed (one word, not two)


PUGS Pointers are based on the current industry-standard references in the United States.

For books:
The Chicago Manual of Style (15th edition, © 2003)
Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th edition, © 2003)

For articles:
The Associated Press Stylebook (© 2004)
Webster’s New World College Dictionary (© 2002)

Many publishing houses have their own in-house style guides that may differ in some aspects from the standard references. However, unless you’re writing exclusively for one particular publisher, it’s best to follow the standard references and let the in-house proofreaders adjust to house style.

For more PUGS Pointers, see Kathy Ide’s Web site. Or get her book Polishing the PUGS, available here.


Kathy Ide has been writing for publication since 1988. She has written books, articles, play and movie scripts, short stories, devotionals, and curriculum. She is a full-time freelance editor, offering a full range of editorial services for aspiring writers, established authors, commercial book publishers, subsidy publishers, and magazines. Her services include proofreading, copyediting, substantive/content editing, coauthoring, ghostwriting, and mentoring/coaching. She also speaks at writers conferences across the country. She is the founder and coordinator of The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network and the Christian Editor Network. To find out more, please visit Kathy's Web site.

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Jessica said...

Great info! Thanks guys. :-)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Thanks for the tips on capitalization. Do you capitalize, "You," and, "Him," when referring to God or writing a prayer?

I'm thrilled to hear it's okay to end a sentence with a preposition. Avoiding that sentence structure has often made me feel like I'm hanging upside down. :)

Thanks again.


Yvonne said...

It bothers me that so many are not capitalizing the word "Bible" anymore. It's showing the relaxed attitude of our generation toward spiritual things.

Susan, I also capitalize the pronouns referring to God.


Brochures Printing said...

Your tips will surely help me improve my writing. I also learned new things about grammar in your post. Thanks a lot.