Use a comma after introductory adverbial phrases

Posted Posted in Translation_Tips

The following text is taken verbatim from the book, 300 Days of Better Writing: A daily handbook for improving your writing written by David Bowman (2010) “An introductory adverbial phrase is a phrase at the beginning of the sentence that tells something about the main verb, such as when it occurred, how, or to what degree. Consider this sentence. “After reading the newspaper, John felt relaxed.” The phrase “after reading the newspaper” tells when John felt relaxed. This phrase is an introductory […]

Avoid artificial superlatives

Posted Posted in Style, Word Usage

The following text is taken verbatim from the book, 300 Days of Better Writing: A daily handbook for improving your writing written by David Bowman (2010) “Artificial superlatives are words like really, super, and very. People use them in an attempt to get the reader excited about some idea or topic. Consider these sentences. “The Broncos are really great. They are having a very good year.” The problem is that these words don’t actually add anything to the meaning. For […]

US English: Place ending punctuation inside the quotation marks

Posted Posted in Style

The following text is taken verbatim from the book, 300 Days of Better Writing: A daily handbook for improving your writing written by David Bowman (2010) “(Note to our friends in Great Britain: reverse the tip in the next paragraph, and you will probably do fine.) When providing a direct quote or using quotation marks to indicate that you are writing about a word or phrase, the comma or period that ends the phrase or sentence should be placed inside […]

Percentage vs. Percentage Point

Posted Posted in Word Usage

A percentage point or percent point is the unit for the arithmetic difference of two percentages. For example, moving up from 20% to 42% is a 22-percentage point increase, but is a 110 percent increase in what is being measured. Let’s see this with an example: Source Text:                         Trump’s job approval has risen from 44 percent on March 16 by 5 percentage points to 49 percent nine days later on […]

Drop That That

Posted Posted in Sentences

Using too many ‘thats’ will rob your sentences of their pace and spontaneity. This is especially true for verbs of speech or thought such as say, think, know and so on. Read or listen this example carefully: Bolton said that he will make a statement about the share repurchase plan on Monday. Better:    Bolton said he will make a statement about the share repurchase plan on Monday. But not all thats are the same. Although some thats sound superfluous, not all […]

Avoiding Long Sentences

Posted Posted in Sentences

Writing long sentences will alienate your readers and would even cost you your customers. Try to shorten your sentences whenever possible: Long:       The company will invest $2billion in a new semi-conductor manufacturing plant in San Jose, California, which will have living quarters for engineers, a school, a swimming pool and a  recreation center. Better:    The company will invest $2billion in a new semi-conductor manufacturing plant in San Jose, California. The plant will have living quarters for engineers, […]

Using Between for Date or Number Ranges

Posted Posted in Word Usage

When using “between” to specify a date or number range, we must replace the hyphen with and. Incorrect:   Demirkent served in senior executive roles between 1936-68. Correct:      Demirkent served in senior executive roles between 1936 and 68. So, please do not add a hyphen between numbers or dates, if you are constructing the phrase with “between”. You may find a related article on dashes in here.  

Definite Article (The) with Initialisms and Acronyms

Posted Posted in Style

Dragoman prefers preceding initialisms with a definite article. An initialism is an abbreviation formed from initial letters. They require “the”, because they are pronounced letter by letter. Incorrect: Trump told world leaders to support overhauling U.N. Correct:     Trump told world leaders to support overhauling the U.N. An acronym, on the other hand, is a word made up from the first letters of the name of something such as an organization. For example, NATO is an acronym for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Because they are pronounced as words, there is no need to precede them with definite article: […]

Placing “Only” Correctly

Posted Posted in Word Usage

Only is often misplaced in a sentence. We must be careful about its usage to avoid confusing our readers. Learning correct usage of grammatical modifiers is a hard work and it is worth all the effort. Only should go right before the word or phrase it modifies. “Only I said I cannot attend the party” means that I was the only one to decline the invitation. “I only said I cannot attend the party” means that I said nothing but […]

Starting a Sentence With a Number

Posted Posted in Sentences, Style, Translation_Tips

Never begin a sentence with a numeral. There is one exception: a numeral that identifies a calendar year. When translating press releases or annual reports, we occasionally come across situations where we have to place the percentage at the beginning of the sentence. E.g.: Twenty-eight percent of the participants passed the test last year. Although this sentence is correct, it looks odd. Where possible, recast the sentence so that the numbers are expressed in figures. Better: Last year, 28 percent […]