Category Archives: Writing tips

Don't capitalize "solstice," which refers to the longest day and the shortest day of the year: "Her wedding was a few days after the summer solstice, so it didn't get dark until nearly 9 p.m." In the Northern Hemisphere, the summer solstice is in June and the winter solstice is in December.
Hyphenate "half-staff" when writing about flags on land that are flown only halfway up the flagpole: "White House flags flew at half-staff as a symbol of mourning." Although the terms are often used interchangeably, reserve "half-mast" for flags on ships or at naval installations.

Ships ahoy!

"Discrete" and "discreet" are not interchangeable. "Discrete" means separate: "We decided to combine the entries, so there are not discrete responses for each term." "Discreet" means prudent/showing good judgment or unnoticeable: "He was able to be discreet when leaving."

🤫 Please be discreet

LGBTQ+ Pride Month is celebrated in June each year. Capitalize "Pride Month," and capitalize "Pride" when you're writing about events and festivities associated with the celebration: "They visited during Pride so they could attend the parade." Otherwise, do not capitalize "pride": "He described himself as a champion of LGBTQ+ pride." Don't capitalize "pride flag": "They displayed a pride flag in the window."

Take Pride

Use "iced tea" and "iced coffee" instead of "ice tea" and "ice coffee," though those terms will likely to go the way of "iced cream" eventually :icecream:: "He liked to drink iced coffee, even in the winter."

Flip-flop szn

Opt for gender-neutral language when referring to graduates of a school. "Graduate" and "graduates" work just fine instead of alumni, alumnus, alumna or alumnae: "She was a graduate of the University of Chicago."

🎓 Congrats, grads

Capitalize "mom," "dad," "aunt," "uncle," etc., only when you substitute them for a name, such as when addressing the person directly: "Hi, Dad, how was your day?" But: "I asked my grandma how her day was." So if you are using "my" or another possessive pronoun, do not capitalize.

What you can learn from mom

Use "Star Wars" Day for the informal May 4 holiday: "She wore a 'May the 4th Be With You' shirt for 'Star Wars' Day."

Show of Force

A screenshot of a message from Stylebot on Slack that reads: Do not use periods in “AAPI,” for “Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.” Use “Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders” on first reference and “AAPI” on second reference and beyond. Follow the same rules for other acronyms, such as API (Asians and Pacific Islanders), APIA (Asian and Pacific Islander American) and AANHPI (Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander). Pay attention to the specifics of a term before using it to refer to a group. For example, “AAPI” and “API” are not always interchangeable. Also keep in mind that some people might prefer that a different term is applied to them, so be sure to ask about preferences instead of making assumptions.

It’s easy but not always accurate

You can use the terms "climate change" and "global warming" interchangeably, though "climate change" includes a wider array of the effects of human actions on the environment. Some opt for the term "climate crisis" to better convey the gravity of the situation. While some people continue to deny the effects of climate change, they are not up for debate in the reputable scientific community. In other words, climate change is not a "two sides" story, so put comments from politicians and other prominent figures in the proper context. Always make sure your audience knows the scientific consensus, instead of just various opinions on the issue.

🌍 A changing climate