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Niles: But Miss Fine's age is only ... Fran: Young! Miss Fine's age is only young!
4. Excessive punctuation: Only one exclamation mark or question mark should be used at a time. Consider following over-punctuated examples:
Buy now!!! Great bargains!!!!!!!!!!
Excessive punctuation looks too much like hysteria and detracts from your credibility. Avoid it.
5. Headings: For long works, establish a clear hierarchy of headings. Microsoft Word's heading styles are great for this. (They also allow you to automatically create a table of contents.)
6. Hyphenating prefixes: Most prefixes don't need a hyphen; i.e. we write "coexist", not "co-exist". There are exceptions, though. The prefixes "self-" and "ex-" are almost always hyphenated.
7. Numbers: Numbers of ten or less are normally written as words.
8. Quotation marks: Users of American English should use double quotes (" "). Users of British English should choose either single quotes (' ') or double quotes and stick with them for whole document. Incidentally, British English usage is increasingly moving towards single quotes.
9. Spaces: Modern style is to use a single space at end of a sentence, not two. Also, most punctuation marks (e.g. commas, full stops, question marks) are not preceded by a space.
10.Tables: Set table text one or two points smaller than main body text and in a sans-serif font such as Arial or Verdana. Avoid vertical lines as they tend to add unnecessary clutter.
Armed with these simple guidelines, your writing should be well received every time. Good luck!
Tim North firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.BetterWritingSkills.com