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A Capital Thought

A lot of authors are unclear regarding when to capitalize a title or profession. The rule is pretty simple. When you are using names of affection, like honey, sweetie, sis, etc., you keep them lowercase. When using titles in direct address, you capitalize them.

Example:

I don’t understand, Doctor.
Will you tell me, Captain, when we will get there?
Your tests are too hard, Professor.
I talked to Mom today.

One tip to help you know when to capitalize is if you see the word the (or another article) before the term, you lowercase that term.

Example:

The doctor told me I was overweight.
I spoke to the captain and he said we were almost there.
My professor is really tough.
I talked to my mom today.

Do You Know When to Use (Those) Parentheses?

Parentheses sometimes confuse writers. When you want to put something in parentheses within a sentence, the ending punctuation goes outside the parentheses for that entire sentence.

Example:
I went to the store (but I didn’t buy anything).

With a separate thought enclosed in parentheses, the punctuation goes inside.

Example:
I went to the store. (Really, I didn’t buy anything!)

Want to get a little more complex? If you have two complete sentences inside a parenthesis, only the first sentence gets terminal punctuation:

Example:
The instructions (Place tab A in the slot. Leave tab B alone) were confusing.

If you are using a list of sorts in a sentences and you have something in parentheses, put the comma after the parentheses.

Example:
I bought eggs, celery (which was a little wilted), and crackers.

I hope (for everyone’s sake) that my explanation makes sense!

Giving It Regard

“Give my regards to Broadway.” That’s a good line to remember when you want to know when to use the expressions “regard to” and “regards to.” The phrase regard to means regarding or pertaining. But, when you give regards, you are saying hello.

Wrong:

This is in regards to the note I sent.
I’m answering in regards to your concern.

Correct:

This is in regard to the note I sent.
I’m answering in regard to your concern.

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