Grammar, Mechanics, and Style

When it comes to effective brand messaging, consistency is key. To keep our writing both clear
and consistent, we adhere to the following rules of grammar and mechanics.

Abbreviations

If there's any chance our reader won’t recognize an abbreviation or acronym, spell it out. If your mom wouldn't recognize this abbreviation or acronym, don't use it.

Active Voice

Whenever possible, write in the active voice. Sentences in active voice are more concise than those in passive voice, because fewer words are required to express action. For example:

Active: I applied a band-aid.
Passive: The band-aid was applied by me.

Words like “was” and “by” may indicate that you’re writing in the passive voice. Look for thesewords, and rework sentences when necessary. Note: writing in the active voice is also good forSEO.

Ampersands

Within paragraph text: always use ‘and’ rather than ‘&.’
Within headings and titles: you can use ‘&’ where appropriate.

Capitalization

  1. Never begin a sentence with a lowercase letter, UNLESS it's a brand name (i.e. iPad.)
  2. When writing blog titles, we capitalize the first letter of every word except articles,
    prepositions, and conjunctions.

    For example: “ New Year’s Resolution: Think Beyond the
    Fad Diet .”
    (Here’s a super useful tool to help you remember)
  3. We write email subject lines like sentences, not titles.

    Yes:
    It's the most wonderful time of the year…for a flu shot, that is.
    No:
    It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year…for a Flu Shot, That Is.
  4. Capitalize proper nouns (names of people, places, or branded products).

Contractions

Use them! Contractions make our writing friendly yet polished.

Example: “That’s fine” instead of “That is fine.”

Dates and Times

Use hyphens in date and time ranges. Use a colon to separate hours from minutes, but do not use :00 .

Examples: 1 p.m., 3:30 a.m. Per AP style, use periods when writing a.m. and p.m.

Emojis

Emoji use is limited to social media, and the occasional email or subject line.

Gender Neutral Text

Our text should be gender neutral wherever possible. Attempt to restructure any gender-specific
sentences with this goal in mind.


No: “A good doctor is empathetic towards his patients.”
Yes: “A good doctor is empathetic towards their patients.”

Numbers

  • Spell out numbers when they begin a sentence.
  • Spell out whole numbers up to nine (e.g. one, three, 10, 96,).
  • Spell out numbers in casual expressions. For example: “A picture is worth a
    thousand words."

Money

Use the $ symbol: $20.
Don’t use decimals unless cents are included, e.g. $20.50 but not $20.00.

Fractions

Spell out fractions.


Yes: one-third
No:

Percentages

Use the % symbol instead of spelling out "percent."

Spaces

Use only one space after a period, not two.

Writing Positively

To avoid ambiguity in your writing, write positively. Negative words can make sentences difficult
for readers to understand.


Yes: To win the prize, subscribe to our email newsletter.
No: You can’t win the prize if you don’t subscribe to our email newsletter.

Punctuation

Making a word possessive

When a possessive doesn't end in -s, add 's.
Example: The woman’s self-care routine.


When a possessive ends in -s and is SINGULAR, also add an ‘s
Example: Jess’s lab results


When a possessive ends in -s and is PLURAL, just add an apostrophe.
Example: The doctors’ consensus

Colons

Use a colon to offset a list.


Example:

Every ZOOM+Care visit has five Moments of Truth: the Search/Schedule Moment,
the Welcome Moment, the Healing Moment, the Transition Moment, and the Follow-Up Moment.

Commas

When writing a list, ZOOM+Care uses the serial (AKA Oxford) comma.


Yes: I like ZOOM+Care because they’re quick, quality, and convenient.
No: I like ZOOM+Care because they’re quick, quality and convenient.

Em Dashes

Use an em dash (—) without spaces on either side to offset an aside.


Examples: Our Help Team—located at our central headquarters—is here to answer any
questions you might have.

Hyphens

Hyphens are tricky, but important. We hyphenate modifiers for clarity—after all, a “large-animal
veterinarian” is very different from a “large animal veterinarian.”

If two or more words are acting as an adjective before a noun , use hyphens.

  • Our ultra-affordable Super Clinic provides ER-level care.
  • The doctor gave me a pain-free exam.
  • I’m looking for an on-demand healthcare experience.

If they come after the noun, leave them out.

  • The Super Clinic is ultra affordable.
  • The exam was pain free.
  • ZOOM+Care is healthcare on demand.

We don’t use hyphens after an adverb.

  • Yes: The smartly dressed doctor entered the exam room.
  • No: The smartly-dressed doctor entered the exam room.

Periods

Periods go inside quotation marks.

Periods go outside parentheses when the parenthetical is part of a larger
sentence.

  • Example: ZOOM+Care Chat makes it possible to get care without setting foot in
    a clinic (or leaving your couch).

Periods go inside parentheses when the parenthetical part stands alone.

  • Example: Thanks to ZOOM+Care Chat, you can get care without setting foot in a clinic. (Or
    leaving your couch, for that matter.)

(Note: the above rules apply for question marks and exclamation points, too.)

Exclamation Points

Obviously, we love exclamation points, but use them sparingly. You don’t want to sound TOO
excited, do you?


A few rules: Only one exclamation point should appear at the end of an exclamation.

  • Yes: We’re hellbent on delivering better, faster care—at a fraction of the cost!
  • No: We’re hellbent on delivering better, faster care—at a fraction of the cost!!!

Note: A good rule of thumb is to limit exclamation points to 1-2 uses in total in one piece.

Semicolons

Avoid using semicolons whenever possible. Try an em dash (—) instead, or simply start a new
sentence.

Writing About ZOOM+Care

Refer to ZOOM+Care as “we,” not “it.”


When writing the full name, use the following format: ZOOM+Care


We also use Zoom as a nickname. In this case, initial cap only.
As a verb, all initial cap for emphasis: “Let’s Zoom!”
We are Zoomers.

Clinic Naming

Super goes to ZOOM+Care Super Clinic. The nickname is the Super Clinic or Super.

All other clinics go to ZOOM+Care and their neighborhood modifier. For example:

  • ZOOM+Care NW Lovejoy
  • The nickname is NW Lovejoy.

See ZOOM+Care Clinic Names for the full list.

Service Line Naming

All service lines are their technical names. For example:

  • Orthopedics
  • Pharmacy
  • Internal Medicine
  • Mental Health

When writing out the full service name in a title, header, or the first reference within a

paragraph, include ZOOM+Care:

  • ZOOM+Care Orthopedics
  • ZOOM+Care Pharmacy
  • ZOOM+Care Mental Health