Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Using Numbers Correctly - Part III


Rule 1. Express street and building numbers in figures, except for the number one.

1976 Berkeley Street

One Sunrise Avenue

If the address involves two numbers, use a hyphen in-between.

486-488 Seventh Avenue

Rule 2. When the name of the street is a number, spell out the name of the street for numbers under eleven.

72 Fourth Avenue

When the name of the street includes the word North, East, South, or West, spell out all street numbers that can be expressed in one word; use figures to express compound numbers.

52 East Third Street

49 West Tenth Drive

386 East 4th Boulevard

127 North 21st Avenue

Rule 3. Always express postal-zone numbers in figures. Do not place a comma or hyphen between the name of the city and the postal-zone figure. A comma follows the zone figure, however.

70 Fifth Avenue
New York 11, New York ( Not: New York, 11, New York )

102 Washington Street
Boston 7, Massachusetts ( Not: Boston-7-Massachusetts )

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Using Numbers Correctly - Part II

Part II - Dates

Rule 1. The preferable form for the date of a letter is the one-line date line, with the name of the month written first, followed by the day and the year. When the day follows the month, do not use the abbreviations st, nd, rd, or th after the figure representing the date.

January 1, 2011     February 22, 2011     March 23, 2011     April 4, 2011

( Not: January 1st, 20__   February 22nd, 20__   March 23rd, 20___   April 4th, 20__ )

In the body of the letter, the same form is used:

I refer to your letter of May 2 regarding . . . .

The meetings are scheduled for June 3, July 4, and August 5.

Whenever the figure indicating the day precedes the name of the month, no punctuation is used. 

6 September 20__         7 October 20__

Rule 2. When the day of the month is written alone or when it precedes the month, it may be spelled out or written in figures with  st, nd, rd, or th added.

I received your letter of 1st February.

The package was shipped on the 22nd of March.

The meeting was held on the 3rd of April.

The chairman will head the inagural on the 24th of May.

Some authorities recommend spelling out the days of the month from the first to the ninth and using figures from the tenth ( expressed 10th )  to the thirty-first (expressed 31st ).

Do not express dates entirely in figures in the body of a letter. It is permissible to use all figures for dates in bills of ladings, invoices, statements, and the like.

We confirm your order of May 10, 2011, for ten boxes of . . . . 

( Not: We confirm your order of 5/10/2011, for ten boxes of . . . .  )

Rule 3. It is preferable in all business writing to express the century in figures rather than by using an apostrophe.

December 8, 2010     ( Not: December 8, '10 )

The apostrophe may be used in reference to the year of graduation  from school or college.

He is a graduate of the Class of '80.

Rule 4. It is customary in formal letters to spell out all dates.

Mr. and Mrs. Arturo C. Fortin
request the company of 
Mr. and Mrs. Rodolfo L. Castaneda
at dinner on Saturday, the second of April,
at seven-thirty o'clock
28 Sunset Drive
Lakeside Hills, Antipolo City

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Using Numbers Correctly - Part I

The topic on "Using Numbers Correctly" will be discussed in five parts: Amounts in Money; Dates; Addresses; Percentages; and Other Uses. Each of these topics will be discussed in separate posts.

There are many writers who are bothered on the question of how to use, or write figures, or numbers properly. Although there are disagreements among the authorities, the following rules may be helpful in using numbers acceptably.

Part I - Amounts of Money

Rule 1. Figures should be used to indicate sums of money.

I bought a book for P195.95.

Modern business does not sanction the use of decimal point, or the decimal point and ciphers, in writing even amounts of money.

The ticket costs P50. ( Not: The ticket costs P50.00 ).

Should you find the need to express in one sentence several amounts, some of which may be even and others involving centavos, use the decimal point and ciphers with the even amounts.

I paid the following telephone bills since December: January 10, P800.75; February 15, P995.00; March 25, P902.35; and April 30, P900.00.

Rule 2. In expressing centavos, it is preferable to write out from one to nine and to use figures from 10 ( ten ) to 99 ( ninety-nine ) without the decimal. Always write out the word centavos.

Buy two five-centavos paper clips.

I gave him 50 centavos to buy a piece of colored paper.

Rule 3. In legal or commercial writing, a number that is written out may be emphasized by figures placed in parentheses.

The estimated shipping cost for a single package is  Nine Hundred Twenty-Five Pesos and  Fifty Centavos ( P925.50 ).

Do not write the word and following the word hundred when spelling out large sums of money.

Nine Hundred Ninety- Five Pesos.
( Not: Nine Hundred and Ninety- Five Pesos ).

Rule 4. Spell out large round numbers such as millions and billions, thereby avoiding rows of zeros.

Toshiba has already sold two million television sets.

Sixty million fans watched the boxing match.

Use figures in expressing exact numbers, But never begin a sentence with figures.

The speedometer registered exactly 527,689 kilometers when the car was sold.

One factory produced 1,452,901 pencils in a month.

Rule 5.  When a sum of money is used as a part of a compound adjective, it is preferable to spell out the number, followed by a hyphen and an adjective, if the number can be written as one word; otherwise, use figures.

a ten-centavo paper clip

a 25-centavo candy ( Not: a twenty-five-centavo candy )

a five peso bill

a 75-centavo colored paper
(Not: a seventy-five-centavo colored paper )

Rule 6. Avoid using figures at the beginning of a sentence.

Fifty-five centavos is the price of that candy.
( Not: 55 centavos is the price . . . . )

The sample below may be recast and read:

The price of that candy is 55 centavos.

In spelling out round numbers over a thousand, use the form:

Eleven hundred ( Not: One thousand one hundred )

For exact numbers over one thousand use preferably the form:

Three thousand four hundred twenty one
Acceptable: Thirty-four hundred twenty one

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Correct Use of Capitals

A careful writer makes certain that he capitalizes correctly. Part of the difficulty in capitalization stems from whether the word is used as a proper noun. Rule is, when a word is a proper noun, it should always written in capital letters. Let us consider the following rules:

Rule 1. Capitalize the first word of every sentence. This rule applies to direct quotation as well as to unquoted material.

The teacher said, "Work on your homework at home."
( Not: "work on your . . . . " )

Rule 2. Capitalize the first word after a colon, when the colon introduces as appositive clause that is complete and independent in meaning.

This is the today's itinerary: We shall start the tour of the museum.
( Not: This is the today's itinerary: we shall . . . . " )

a. Do not capitalize the first word after a colon when the colon introduces a clause that is explanatory or dependent upon the preceding clause.

We have had three cars: one was a Toyota; one was a Ford; and the one we have now is a Honda.

b. Do not capitalize the first word of a quotation that is not a complete sentence.

Our president tries to be "all things to all men."

c. All parenthetical sentences within sentences begin with a small letter.

In the last report ( it was dated January 15 ), the claim had already been settled.

Rule 3. Capitalize the names of the days of the week, holidays, and months of the year.

Monday, Christmas, January

Do not capitalize the names of the seasons - spring, summer, autumn, fall, winter - unless they are personified.

We shall spend summer in Boracay.

"Where the ceaseless Summer her flowers bloom . . . . "

Rule 4. Capitalize adjectives and other words derived from proper nouns.


Do not capitalize a general word ( one that indicates a class of objects ). This applies to words that were once individual but have lost their specific force, as: diesel engine, china cup, roman candles, etc.

Rule 5. Capitalize the points of the compass ( north, east, south, west ) when they designate specific locations or sections of the country.

We came from the South.

We traveled to the Middle East.

Do not capitalize the points of the compass when they indicate a direction.

The east wind is so refreshing.

We shall drive north for a vacation.

Rule 6. Capitalize every proper noun.

Douglas     Davao City     Filipino     Malacanan Palace

Rule 7. Capitalize common nouns when they are used with specific names to form a proper-noun group.

Pasig River
Pacific Ocean
Mount Apo
Berkeley Street
University of the East
Room 501

Most authorities do not approve the practise of many writers in writing generic words such as street, avenue, school, river, etc.,  without capitals when they are used with specific names.

Pasig High School, Ayala Avenue, Marikina River 
( Not: Pasig high school, Ayala avenue, Marikina river )

Rule 8. Capitalize the principal words in the titles of book, magazines, bulletins and articles.

a. It is not necessary to capitalize articles, prepositions, and conjunctions.

"How to Sell to a Woman" was an interesting article on sales psychology adapted to women.

b. Titles of books are often typed or printed in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS.

c. Capitalize the article the when it is part of a proper name, legal name, or title.

We invited The Honorable Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to be our guest speaker.

We wrote to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
( Not: We wrote to The Philippine Daily Inquirer. )

Rule 9. Capitalize the names of specific products.

Apple Computers
Carrier Airconditioners
Corona Cigars

Rule 10. Capitalize the names of departments within a business organization, such as the Credit Department, Sales Department, Personnel Department, etc.

Many authorities think that an expression like sales department does not require capitals unless the writer wishes to give prominence to a particular department.

He works in the claims department of one of our insurance companies.

Mr. Arturo Fortin is the manager of the Fire Claims Department  of the CBGS Adjusters, Inc.

Rule 11. Capitalize father, aunt, doctor, professor, president, and the like, when they precede a proper name, or when they are used in place of a proper noun.

I wrote to Father.

We shall discuss with President Aquino about this important matter.

Do not capitalize such titles when they are introduced by words like a, an, my, his, etc.

I called my mother.

His sister cannot attend.

He may be our next president. 

Rule 12. Capitalize the first word and all nouns in the salutation of a letter.

My dear Miss Castillo:

Dear Sir: 

Dear Miel,

Do not capitalize the word dear unless it is the first word in the salutation.

Dear Mr. Hilado:

My dear Mr. Agudo:

Rule 13. Capitalize only the first letter in the complimentary close.

Very truly yours,

Sincerely yours, 


Rule 14. Capitalize such words as company, corporation, and association when they are used as substitutes for the names of specific companies.

Rule 15. Capitalize words which indicate a classification, a division, a listing, or the like.

Order No. 9335
Form A
Plan IV  
Unit B

Rule 16. Capitalize such division names as Vol. I ( Volume I ).

Section 1
Book II
Grade 3 Part IV
Acts V and VI
But: page 7

Rule 17. Capitalize sums of money when they are written out in business letters and legal documents.

I promise to pay to Elvert de la Rosa the sum of Five Hundred and Fifty-five Pesos . . .

Your contribution of Four Hundred Pesos to the Filipino Foundation . . . 

Rule 18. Capitalize all nouns, personal and possessive pronouns ( but not relative pronouns ), and adjectives that refer to Deity. 

God     His Holy Name     the Bible     the Holy Book

Rule 19. Do not capitalize the names of studies unless they designate a particular course. Also, do not capitalize college classes ( freshmen, sophomore, junior, senior ).

The course was primarily shorthand, typewriting, office practise and business English.

The sophomore hazed the freshmen.
( Not: The Sophomore hazed the Freshmen. )

Rule 20. Capitalize personified words.

The Mountain smiled on him.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Correct Use of Hyphen

The hyphen is both a mark of spelling and a mark of punctuation. When the hyphen is used to divide a word between syllables at the end of a line, it is a matter of punctuation.

A. Using the hyphen to divide words at the ends of lines. In dividing a word at the end of a line, make the division according to syllables. Each part of a divided word must be pronounceable. Never place a hyphen at the beginning of the second line.

1. Never divide a monosyllabic ( one-syllable ) word.

Ex. drive, piece, price, straight, house, fought

Do not divide the past tense and past participle forms of words that are pronounced as one-syllable words.

Ex. talked, timed, geared, served, pained, walked

2. Do not divide a word so that a single-letter syllable stands alone on the line.

Ex. around ( Not: a-round ); event ( Not: e-vent )

3. Do not divide a word so that a double-letter syllable follows the hyphen.

Ex. lighter ( Not: light-er ); nearly ( Not: near-ly ); sixty ( Not six-ty )

Avoid, if possible, dividing a word so that a double-letter syllable stands alone at the end of the line before the hyphen.

4. Do not split a syllable.

Ex. illus-trate ( Not: illust-rate ); prin-cipal (Not: princ-ipal ); 
ex-cept ( Not: exc-ept )

5. Whenever a word of three or more syllables is to be divided at a one-letter, write the one-letter syllable at the end of the line before the hyphen.

Ex. tele-phone ( Not: tel-ephone ); posi-tive ( Not: pos-itive )

6. Words ending with the suffix able, ible, or ical should be separated at the root and the suffix carried over to the next line.

Ex. collect-ible     cler-ical     desir-able

7. Avoid dividing a word so that a syllable without a vowel would be carried over to the next line.

Ex. couldn't ( Not: could-n't ); haven't ( Not: have-n't ); 
isn't ( Not: is-n't )

8. A word whose root ends with a double consonant should be divided after the double consonant.

Ex. miss-ing, sell-ing, bill-ing

9. With all other words, the separation should come between the doube letters.

Ex. excel-lent, com-mence, omis-sion, ship-ping, remit-tance

10. Avoid dividing already hyphenated words except at the hyphen.

Ex. first-rate, well-dressed, light-weight, self-explanatory, 
easy-going, long-standing

B. Using the hyphen to join the parts of compound words. In addition to its use as a mark of punctuation in dividing words at the end of lines, the hyphen is also used to join the parts of compound words.

1. The hyphen is used between two or more words functioning as a single adjective and preceding the noun they modify.

Ex. A well-organized office staff; a ready-to-wear suit; 
medium-weight paper

No hyphen is used between compound adjectives following the nouns or pronouns they modify.

The office staff is well organized.

He ordered a suit custom made.

We use a paper for our letters that is medium weight.

2. Use a hyphen with compound numbers written out when they function as adjectives.

Ex. thirty-four invoices          sisty-seven unfilled orders

3. Use a hyphen in compound adjectives formed by joining a number 
( written out or expressed in figures ) to a word indicating a unit measure.

a three-foot rule; an eight-hour day; a 40-kilometer trip; 
an 18-page report

4. Use a hyphen with fractions written out when they function as adjectives; otherwise, the fractions are not hyphenated.

A two-thirds majority voted for the resolution.

Three quarters of the orders have already gone out.

5. When two compound adjectives with a common base modify the same noun, omit the base word following the first adjective but retain the hyphen.

We have listed three- and four-room apartments.

this molasses is sold in one- and two-quart bottles.

6. Compound words consisting of the prefix self and a stem ( or root ) should be separated by a hyphen.

Ex. self-contained; self-sufficient; self-made

Do not use a hyphen with compound words ending with -self, -ship,
 -hood, or -ever

Ex. himself, frienship, boyhood, whatever

7. In most cases, a hyphen is used following the prefixes ex and vice.

Ex. ex-officio, ex-president, vice-chairman

8. Do not use a hyphen to join an adverb ending in -ly and an adjective or a participle following.

a carefully planned sales program

a perfectly designed suit

a neatly arranged schedule

9. Use a hyphen to avoid an ambiguous situation or to insure clearness. ( You may consult your dictionary for the proper use of the hyphen in specific instances. )

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Correct Use of Apostrophe

The apostrophe is generally used in forming the possessive case. Determine first whether the noun is singular or plural before you write the possessive form.

1. Use the apostrophe and s ( 's ) to form the possessive singular of most nouns not ending in - s.

The manager's office.

2. Use the apostrophe alone ( ' ) to form the possessive plural of common nouns ending in - s.

The executives' board meeting.

3. Use the apostrophe and s ( 's ) to form the possessive plural of nouns not ending in - s.

The children's toys.

4. Use the apostrophe and s ( 's ) to form the possessive singular of proper nouns of one syllable ending in - s, - x, - ch, or - sh.

Mr. Santos' s car.

Miss Felix's bag.

Atty. Leech's case.

Mr. Marsh's office.

The foregoing rule is not absolute. There is a growing tendency today to shorten these forms and speak of Mr. Santos' car, Miss Cox' bag, etc. Most authorities, however, still consider the use of apostrophe and ( 's ) preferable.

5. Use the apostrophe alone or with the s to form the possessive singular of proper nouns of two or more syllables ending in - s, - x, - ch, or - sh.

Mr. Santos' s ( or Santos' ) car.

Miss Reyes's ( or Miss Reyes' ) bag.

Atty. Felix's ( or Atty. Felix' ) case.

Ease, euphony, and clearness are the sole factors in determining the form to use except where good usage prescribes a particular form.

6. Use the apostrophe alone ( ' ) to form the possessive plural of proper nouns.

the Reyeses' orders

the Santos' purchases

7. Add the apostrophe plus s ( 's ) to the last word to form the possessive of compound nouns.

Mr. Reyes's mother-in-law's car; his father-in -law's house.

8. Add the apostrophe plus s to the last name in the series only, to indicate the joint possession; to indicate individual possession, use the apostrophe after each name.

Ravelo and Martires's company (joint ownership).

Ravelo's and Marires's companies are across the street from each other (individual ownership).

9. Use the apostrophe plus s after indefinite or impersonal pronouns to form the possessive.

Someone's records; anybody's customer.

Never use the apostrophe with any one of the possessive pronouns: his, hers, yours, its, ours, theirs, whose.

10. Use the apostrophe in a contracted word to indicate the omission of a letter, letters, or figures.

It's, we're, I'd, o'clock, wasn't

The apostrophe is used to indicate the omission of a part of a date.

'85             '97

Make sure that the apostrophe is placed properly in contracted words. In negative contractions for example, put the apostrophe between the n. and the t, as: isn't, can't, weren't, couldn't, and so on.

11. Use the apostrophe to indicate the plural of letters, figures, and signs.

Write you m's and n's more legibly.

There are four 8's in that final figure.

12. To form the plural of words simply referred to as words, add s only. If the plural form is not clear, add an apostrophe plus s.

There are too many ands and sos in your letters.

Your a's and an's are often misused.

When to avoid the use of apostrophe.

1. Avoid using the possessive case with inanimate objects. It is better to use an of-phrase.

the handle of the cabinet (Not: the cabinet's handle)

the radiator of the car (Not: the car's radiator)

Certain idiomatic expressions indicating time, measure, or personification may take the apostrophe plus s.

a week's salary; a yard's length ; for pity's sake.

Acceptable also as a result of common usage:

the city's mayor; the town's council; Rizal's governor.

2. The apostrophe is often omitted in the titles or names of companies and associations.

Filipino Merchants Insurance Company

Farmers Co-operative Bank
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