Important Mechanical Matters. Part 3
2. When numbers are written out in legal papers, dates and large amounts are expressed by thousands. But in ordinary spelled-out numbers, expression by hundreds is better.
Nineteen hundred eleven. Forty-nine hundred and forty.
3. Be consistent. If you spell out in one paragraph, do the same in the next.
4. But do not begin a sentence with figures. Write Nineteen hundred dollars goes to equipment; $800 to maintenance; etc., etc
5. Even in spelling out numbers, a distinction should be made between quantities and rates.
Forty acres, at $75.50.
6. Except in legal documents, aates should go in Arabic. When the day precedes the month, write 30th June rather than 30 June. After the month write the day without th or d. Use d (not nd or rd) for days ending in d.
7. Half-past two is better than 2:30, except where an effect of great precision is required. The former is more social.
8. A common fraction standing by itself should be spelled out. Three fourths (not J). We are speaking of a fraction standing in the text.
9. Do not add ciphers (.00) to any statement or even numbers in the text. They only confuse. Of course they are proper in tables where decimals appear.
10. In large amounts expressed by figures, the comma points! off the thousands. But it is not needed in a sum of four figures.
11. In the address of social letters the words First, Second, etc., naming streets or avenues, are spelled out. There is an advantage in always spelling them out, namely that they are preceded by the number of the house in Arabic numerals. But in business letters 65, 125th st. is a form that saves time and offends no one.
§ 35. Italics And Quotation Marks
1. Italic type is indicated by underlining once.
2. Excessive use of italic is out of date. In the eighteenth century the experiment of free italicizing for emphasis was fully, tried and found wanting. It merely tempted the reader to neglect the words that were printed in roman type. [The word Bo-man always takes a capital except when applied to type.]
Begin and end your sentences with words that are emphatic. If you want a word to be especially emphatic, so construct your sentence that it will come at the end, like the crack of a whip.
Type-setting machines are so built that free use of italic on. these machines is very expensive.
Even in advertising, italic is not a good staff to lean on.
3. Foreign words that are genuinely unfamiliar may be placed in italics. But such words as the following are now good English, and should appear in roman: aide-de-camp addenda ad valorem alias alibi.
alma mater anno domini a propos bona fide cafe.
per capita per cent prima facie pro rata regime role.
ultimatum verbatim vice versa.
4. The title of a book from which an extract is taken in the text is better set in italic than in quoted roman. At the end of a quoted paragraph credit the author's name in roman, the book in italic. Between author and book use either the comma or the colon.
5. Magazines and newspapers named in the text need not be italicized. The capitals are enough.
6. When a quotation is made a part of the text, especially when it is made a part of the sentence, it must be enclosed in quotation marks. But if you wish to quote a whole paragraph, it is. better to omit the marks and order it printed in smaller type. A vertical line drawn to the left will show this to the printer. A glance through the pages of this book will show many such paragraphs and sentences.
7. A quotation within a quotation goes in half quotes.
A recent writer says: "One man had been telling a story of how he had lost £200 by giving credit to a man who seemed all right, and the talk had drifted to credit in general. One of the group suggested that if a man stood the first two or three credits, he was good to continue on such a basis. But here the first man took him up, and said, That's wrong. My customer had paid up on no less than four orders; then he came with the fifth, a big one, and left me in the lurch. It was the confidence trick over again.' 'Did you get good references with him?' asked somebody. 'Yes, they were all right"'
8. Be sure that your quotation marks stand outside the words quoted, and outside nothing more. Very likely your own period will get inside the quotation, unless you are careful. Punctuation marks belonging to the quotation go inside. Yours go outside.
9. At the end of a cited passage put the author's name in roman, then a colon or comma, then the book-title in italics. But in the running text quote book-titles, as Mr. Deland's "Imagination in Business." There are however book-titles so brief and so well known that they need neither be quoted nor italicized. Nothing is gained by italicizing or quoting such titles as Longfellow's Evangeline, Gibbon's Rome, Macaulay's England.
10. In writing the full title of a book, do not depend on your memory; look it up and get it right. Do you know the exact title of Gibbon's Rome?
11. Some quotations are so well known that the reader feels insulted if you use quotation marks. Proverbs should not have the marks. Many Shaksperian phrases should not. A reader who insists on quotation marks for such expressions as maiden meditation, tide in the affairs of men, to be or not to be - well, he knows very little.
12. If yon are going to use slang, use it. Do not strew your pages with apologetic quotation marks. Take the responsibility or else let the stuff alone. Nothing is gained by coy approaches to vulgarism. It is irritating to see the pages of business magazines peppered with quoted slang. It reminds you of the Frenchman who, when the coach was overturned, stepped out on a lady's head and said, "By your leave, madam."