Common Writing Rules I Commonly Forget Part 1
[M]y spelling is Wobbly. It’s good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places.
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh.
John H. Ridge, J.D., Ph.D. Superior, Colorado
Similar to Pooh’s spelling, my writing also gets a bit wobbly at times. I suspect this is true of most of us, or at least those of us who did not grow up declining and conjugating Latin nouns and verbs.
This article looks at specif c writing rules that refuse to fix themselves in my brain. I have collected some of these rules here to provide us with a grammatical cheat sheet, so that none of us (or at least me) have to continually peruse grammar books to rediscover them. I will provide additional rules in later articles.
Those Easily Forgotten Rules
1. Using e.g. and i.e.
There are two Latin abbreviations that are frequently misused, or used interchangeably: e.g. and i.e. E.g. is the abbreviation of exempligratia, which means “for the sake of example.” It is used to introduce one or more examples of what is being discussed in the main clause of a sentence. I.e., on the other hand, is the abbreviation of id est, which means “that is (to say).” It is used to introduce new information about the topic being discussed in the main clause of a sentence, or to paraphrase the main clause.
The following examples illustrate these points: • The senior partner is knowledgeable about several areas of law, e.g., estate planning, federal tax, and business formation.
• The court staff (i.e., the judge, the clerk, the reporter, and the bailiff) are on summer holiday.
2. Using I and me
Whether a writer uses I or me is often a matter of style, but the following rules give us some guidance about which is the better choice.
I and me are both pronouns. Each word belongs to a different category of pronoun, however: I is a subject pronoun and me is an object pronoun. Other pronouns in these categories include the following: (i) subject pronouns: I, you, he, she, it, we, and they; and, (ii)...