Style

Carrot-and-stick

As an adjective carrot-and-stick refers to the carrot and stick (also known as the carrot or stick) idiom. The phrase means a methodology or system of rules that incorporates reward and punishment to elicit a certain behavior. In order to motivate a donkey to move, there are two methods. Either you strike it with a stick or you urge it along with a carrot. The spelling is uncertain as far as the idiom is concerned, since it is not listed in most dictionaries. The name is carrot …

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Last names (plurals and possessives)

Names are nouns, and they are made plural and possessive like other regular nouns. For instance, four men named John are four Johns, and the hats the Johns are wearing are the four Johns’ hats. This is simple enough, yet when it comes to last names, there are several common errors that many people make. Plural last names Making a last name plural should never involve an apostrophe. The members of the Johnson and Smith families, for instance, are the …

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Vice president (capitalization and hyphenation)

Vice President is usually capitalized when it is a title that comes immediately before the name of the vice president of a country—e.g., Vice President Biden. When it is a title that applies to other types of vice presidents (e.g., vice presidents of companies and universities), it is rarely capitalized in edited publications, but it is often capitalized in the official documents of companies, universities, etc. It is also capitalized when it is part of an official job title—e.g., Vice President of Investor …

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A.D., B.C., B.C.E., C.E.

A.D.: (anno domini, Latin for in the year of the lord) the period beginning with the year 1. C.E.: common era, an alternative term for A.D. B.C.: (before christ) all time before the year 1. B.C.E.: before common era.

Ages (hyphenation)

When phrases like 12-year-old are adjectives, they are hyphenated when they precede what they modify, and unhyphenated when they follow what they modify. As nouns, they are hyphenated.

Internet (capitalization)

The first letter is usually capitalized in edited U.S. and Canadian writing (though not in informal writing). It is uncapitalized outside the U.S.

President (capitalization)

It’s capitalized when it’s a title immediately preceding the name of a president of a country. Elsewhere, there’s no reason to capitalize it.