The Editor's Manual
Free learning resource on English grammar, punctuation, usage, and style.
Use “sic” to indicate a grammatical or spelling mistake in the original text of a quote. “Sic” is generally italicized in formal texts. Also enclose “sic” in brackets in formal writing.
Form the plural of a given or a family name by adding “s.” If the name ends in a sibilant sound (like “s,” “x,” “z”), add “es” instead.
Add “s” to form the plural of a name ending in a vowel. Don’t add “es,” even for names ending in “i” or “o.” Simply add “s” (“the Rossis,” not “Rossies”). Avoid using an apostrophe (“the Lees,” not “Lee’s”).
Form the plural of a name ending in “s” by adding “es,” not “ses” or an apostrophe and “s” (“the Harrises,” not “Harrisses” or “Harris’s”).
Form the plural of a name ending in “y” by adding “s” without an apostrophe. Don’t replace the “y” with “ies”; simply add “s” after the “y”: “the Murphys,” not “Murphies.”
Use an en dash to show a range. You can also use the word “to” or the paired expressions “from-to” and “between-and.” A hyphen is used instead of an en dash in some styles.
Initialisms and acronyms generally contain all capital letters, though acronyms longer than five letters may retain only the initial capital letter. Contracted social titles and proper nouns are capitalized.
Avoid starting a sentence with an abbreviation in formal and academic writing. Use the full form instead, or rephrase. Acronyms, however, are acceptable in this position.
The first time you use an abbreviation in a text, write its full form and enclose the abbreviation in parentheses. If you believe readers will be more familiar with the abbreviated term, enclose the full form in parentheses instead.
An abbreviation is the shortened form of a term. It usually comprises the first letters of the words of a phrase or is the contracted form of a word.