Difference: SubtleGrammar (9 vs. 10)

Revision 102013-01-04 - JeffreyBarrick

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META TOPICPARENT name="ReferenceList"

Subtle Grammatical Usage Notes

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  • By Contrast / In Contrast
    Use By contrast when the next word is a noun. Use In contrast when followed by a preposition such as "with" or "to". (REL)
  • Complimentary / Complementary
    Complimentary means praising or free of charge. Two things are complementary when they combine in a way that enhances each other's qualities or if they are nucleic acid bases that pair with each other. Thus, "complementary base", "complementary skills", "complimentary comments".
  • This Data / These Data
    Use this data when you can replace "data" with "information". Use these data when you can replace "data" with "facts". (source)
  • Gram-negative/Gram-positive bacteria
    The Gram in Gram staining is a proper noun, so it is always capitalized.
  • Principle / Principal
    Principle means the fundamental basis of a fact. A Principal is the main player or the person of most importance in a project. Thus, "proof of principle", "principal investigator", "in principle", "the principle reason", "school principal".
  • Regardless / Irregardless
    Regardless is correct. Irregardless is a commonly heard but incorrect term, probably originating due to similar word pairs like respective / irrespective.
  • Where / Wherein
    Use wherein when you can replace with "in which" or "in what".
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  • Generally the best way to use Greek letters, etc., is to use the "Insert symbol" command in a program (like Word or Illustrator), rather than symbol font. This generally causes fewer problems across programs or platforms.
  • Hyphen, en dash, em dash
  • Prime symbol versus single quote: 5′ not 5' end of a DNA sequence.
    • Do not use a hyphen (-78) in mathematical expressions where a minus sign (78) should be used.
  • Prime symbol versus single quote or apostrophe: 5′ not 5' end of a DNA sequence.


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