Category Archives: Writing tips

IMHO, stick to IMO

"IMO" is a common abbreviation for "in my opinion." It's generally accepted lingo on the internet, so it likely doesn't need explanation on social media. Use your best judgment in other copy. Do not add periods in any context, and if you're quoting written material, format the term as you see it written: "'He did it just for the attention, imo,' she wrote in a text." "IMHO" is a related term with the same formatting rules. Some people use it to mean "in my humble opinion," while others say it stands for "in my honest opinion." "In my humble opinion" seems to be the original meaning, but people might interpret the acronym differently.
"Who" is a pronoun for the subject of a sentence: "Who is ready to have fun?" "Whom" is used for the object: "To whom was the message emailed?" (In case you need a reminder, the subject is the person or thing doing something in a sentence, the object is the person or thing that something is being done to. In the sentence, "I told her to be here at 9 a.m.," "I" is the subject and "her" is the object.) Another way to decide between "who" and "whom" is to look at the pronouns you might use instead. If you would say "he," "she" or "they," the proper replacement is "who." If you would say "him," "her" or "them," the proper replacement is "whom."

To whom it may concern

"Historic" and "historical" have different meanings. "Historic" refers to significant events or periods: "In a historic first, the country elected a woman as president." "Historical," meanwhile, is used to refer to any event in the past: "It was important to her that the event was framed in the appropriate historical context. "Use "a" instead of "an" for both words: "It was a historic moment."

One for the history books

"Loath" is an adjective meaning reluctant: "He was loath to admit that he was wrong." "Loathe" is a verb meaning to detest something: "She absolutely loathes multiple-choice tests."

We’re not sugarcoating it…

Use "New Year's," "New Year's Day," "New Year's Eve" and "happy New Year" when referring to the holiday. Lowercase general references: "He was looking forward to a fresh start in the new year." Also lowercase "resolutions" in "New Year's resolutions."

🎊 Get ready for the new year

You can use the acronym "RSVP" (no periods) for all references to the commonly used reply request: "The wedding invites asked guests to RSVP by January 30." Though you don't need to include it in your copy, if you care to know, "RSVP" is short for the French phrase répondez s'il vous plaît.

💌 Please respond … please?

"Precede" and "proceed" have different meanings. "Precede" means to come before: "A stunned moment of silence preceded the thunderous applause." "Proceed" means to begin or continue an action: "They wanted to double-check the instructions before proceeding with the setup."

Shall we proceed?

"Flesh out" and "flush out" have different meanings. "Flesh out" means to provide more detail: "They spent the evening fleshing out a plan to address the problem." "Flush out" means to bring something to light or to force it out of hiding: "The sting operation was designed to flush out money launderers."

Let’s flesh it out

Terms such as "cyberspace," "cyberattack" and "cybersecurity" are not hyphenated. Sometimes "cyber" is a separate modifier, such as with "cyber shopping." Use "Cyber Monday" to refer to the Monday after Thanksgiving.
Use two words for "scuba diving" and "scuba diver": "After years of being afraid of the water, they finally conquered the fear by going scuba diving." Fun fact: "Scuba" is an acronym for "self-contained underwater breathing apparatus."

S.C.U.B.A. S.N.A.F.U.