Capitalization, Abbreviations, and Indentation

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Capitalization is to write the first letter of a word with a capital letter (uppercase) and the remaining letters in lowercase.

English capitalization basic rules:

  • The pronoun ‚ÄúI‚ÄĚ: My sister and I watch TV.

  • The first letter of a sentence: My name is Fernanda.

  • Names and Titles: This is Mr. Jones.

  • Cities and Countries: I live in Bogot√°, Colombia.

  • Nationalities and Languages: I am Brazilian, and I speak Portuguese.

  • Days / Months / Holidays: Today is Sunday, February 14th. It‚Äôs Valentine‚Äôs Day!

Abbreviations are any shortened form of a word. Two common types of abbreviations are acronyms and initialisms.

An acronym is an abbreviation formed from the initial letters of other words. You can pronounce it as a word.

  • NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)

  • PIN (Personal Identification Number)

  • LASER (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation)

An initialism is an abbreviation formed from the initial letters of other words. You cannot pronounce it as a word.

  • DIY (Do It Yourself)

  • USA (United States of America)

  • DVD (Digital Versatile Disk)

You can form other abbreviations by removing a few letters of a single word.

  • Titles: Mr. Jones (Mister) / Dr. Gonzalez (Doctor)

  • Times / Dates: 10 am (ante meridiem) / **Jan. **(January) / Mon. (Monday)

  • Places: 5th Ave.*(Avenue) / Main St(Street)

  • Units of measurement: 20 g(grams) / 80 oz (ounces)

Be careful!

These abbreviations are only for writing. Say the complete word when speaking. Also, the punctuation may vary when using American English and British English:

American English: abbreviations always finish with a period (Mr. / Dr. / Mon. / etc.).

British English: abbreviations only finish with a period when they do not end with the same letter of the original word (Mr / Dr / Mon. / etc.).

When writing a paragraph, it is necessary to pay attention to its format. There are two formats you can use:

  • First-line Indent: start your writing further away from the edge of the paper. It creates a faster and also linear experience for the reader. It is common in fiction, narrative, biography, and scholarly publications.

  • Block: start your writing at the edge of the paper and use a margin of white space between paragraphs. In this way, the reader understands there is a new paragraph. It creates an idea of specific information in each paragraph. It is common in business guides and technical manuals.

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