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.


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