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Table of Contents 5. Grammar and Usage 5.1 Precision in Language 5.2 Parallelism 5.3 Clarity in the Use of Pronouns 5.4 Pronoun Case of Linking Verbs 5.5 Passive Voice 5.6 Ambiguity in Conjoined Noun Phrases 5.7 Verb Agreement 5.8 Placement of Adverbs 5.9 Modification in Prepositional Phrase 5.10 Problematic Words and Phrases

6. Punctuation 6.1 Boldface and Color 6.2 Spaces between Sentences 6.3 Commas in Pairs 6.4 Serial Comma 6.5 Commas with Direct Address 6.6 Commas with Restrictive and Nonrestrictive Phrases 6.7 Semicolons to Separate Clauses 6.8 En Dash Meaning To 6.9 Slashes 6.10 Smart Quotation Marks 6.11 Vertical Lists—Punctuation and Format

7. Spellings, Distinctive Treatment of Words, and Compounds 7.1 Compound Terms


7.2 Italics for Key Terms

8. Names and Terms 8.1 Terms Specific to Independent Study 8.2 Name Consistency 8.3 Courses of Study

9. Numbers 9.1 Numbers Zero through One Hundred 9.2 Month and Day

10. Abbreviations 10.1 Abbreviating Independent Study 10.2 Clipped Terms

5. Grammar and Usage 5.1 Precision in Language Pay close attention to the literal meaning of sentences. For example, the meaning of some metaphors may be very obvious to native speakers of English, but confusing to nonnative speakers. (See Kohl 2.1.)

BYU Independent Study course content is not designed to be easy, so students must study carefully to do well in the course.

Not

BYU Independent Study course content is not watered down, so students must study carefully to do well in the course.


5.2 Parallelism Kohl says that parallel structure—a series of similar sentence elements—is often essential for clear communication and should be practiced in writing. Compound structures can link words, phrases, dependent clauses, or sentences: every element of parallel structure needs to function similarly. (See Kohl 6.5 and Chicago 5.212.)

The Customer Service Department can answer any questions that you have and are happy to solve any problems you are experiencing.

Not

The Customer Service Department can answer any questions that you have and solve any problems you are experiencing.

5.3 Clarity in the Use of Pronouns Kohl says that the pronouns it, they, them, and there are often problematic because they could refer to more than one item. It is important to clarify what pronouns in a sentence are referring to. (See Kohl 5.1.)

If you find an error in your course, refer the error to the Corrections Department at 1-800-423-8964.

Not

If you find an error in your course, refer it to the Corrections Department at 1-800-423-8964.


5.4 Pronoun Case of Linking Verbs A pronoun used as a complement of a be-verb (or other linking verbs) should be used in the nominative case in order to be consistent throughout Independent Study publications. (See Chicago 5.43.)

Sally picked up the phone and, finding the call was for her, answered, “This is she!” What was the conversation Sally had with the caller?

Not

Sally picked up the phone and, finding the call was for her, answered, “This is her!” What was the conversation Sally had with the caller?

5.5 Passive Voice Passive voice is used more in English than in other languages, so Kohl suggests that you avoid the passive voice whenever possible. Active voice is usually less wordy and more concise than the passive. (See Kohl 3.6 and Chicago 5.115.)

The student gave the paper to the instructor.

Not

The paper was given by the student to the instructor.

5.6 Ambiguity in Conjoined Noun Phrases Compound nouns that are conjoined by coordinating conjunctions sometimes create an ambiguity that can be difficult for translators to interpret. In the example below, the word portfolio was placed before the words instructor-graded exams so that the reader wouldn’t think that the portfolios are also instructor-graded. Be aware of these types of ambiguities in writing. (See Kohl 4.6.)


The portfolios and instructor-graded exams are sent to the instructor as soon as they are submitted.

Not

The instructor-graded exams and portfolios are sent to the instructor as soon as they are submitted.

5.7 Verb Agreement Make sure that verbs agree with the nouns they modify. Verb agreement can be confusing when the subject of the sentence is not obvious or when it is difficult to distinguish whether or not the noun that the verb is modifying is plural or singular.

Are the instructor-guided course and interactive course similar?

Three hundred dollars isn’t too pricey for one course.

Not

Is the instructor-guided course and interactive course similar?

Three hundred dollars aren’t too pricey for one course.


5.8 Placement of Adverbs An adverb should be placed as near as possible to the word it modifies. Placing an adverb near the word it modifies will avoid ambiguity and make sentences clearer. (See Chicago 5.165.)

Our instructors immediately grade assignments to send back to students.

Not

Our instructors grade assignments to send back to students immediately.

5.9 Modification in Prepositional Phrase Kohl 4.2 says that because “prepositional phrases don’t have to immediately follow whatever they are modifying. As a result, they are a source of ambiguity that often confuses readers and that can lead to incorrect translations.” Try to move prepositions close to the phrases they modify (if possible) to avoid ambiguity. (See Kohl 4.2.)

On our website, you can find all types of classes that you may want to take.

Not

You can find all kinds of classes that you may want to take on our website.


5.10 Problematic Words and Phrases Regarding words, the difference between good usage and common usage is quite large. When writing, make sure that you understand the correct definition of the words you are using. Otherwise, translators may have difficulty translating. Although the dictionary will help define those words, a usage dictionary is preferable. (See Chicago 5.220.)

In the past, Independent Study’s instructors had fewer students in middle school. But recently, more middle school students have been enrolling.

Not

In the past, Independent Study’s instructors had less students in middle school. But recently, more middle school students have been enrolling.

6. Punctuation 6.1 Boldface and Color To remain consistent throughout all Independent Study courses, avoid boldfacing and coloring words in text. The use of boldface and color in titles, headings, and subheadings is permitted. (See Chicago 6.3.)

BYU Independent Study is a nonprofit online educational program that offers more than 550 online courses.

Not

BYU Independent Study is a nonprofit online educational program that offers more than 550 online courses.

6.2 Using Spaces between Sentences


Never use two spaces after a period between sentences. One space is sufficient. (See Chicago 2.9.)

Certified instructors teach all online courses. The courses engage students with multimedia, video, animation, and interactive labs.

Not

Certified instructors teach all online courses. The courses engage students with multimedia, video, animation, and interactive labs.

6.3 Commas in Pairs If a comma is used between two words (such as Tacoma, Washington), then the second word (Washington) should also be followed by a comma if the phrase continues beyond the word. (See Chicago 6.17.)

Instructor Doolittle is from Provo, Utah, and has worked for Independent Study for five years.

Not

Instructor Doolittle is from Provo, Utah and has worked for Independent Study for five years.

6.4 Serial Comma Commas often divide listed items in a sentence. When a conjunction sets off the last item in a list, a comma should precede the conjunction to provide clarity and to avoid inconsistencies within the text. (See Chicago 6.18.)


Independent Study offers classes for students in middle school, high school, and college.

Not

Independent Study offers classes for students in middle school, high school and college.

6.5 Commas with Direct Address Chicago 6.38 says to use commas to set off names in direct address in informal settings and to use colons in formal settings. Because colons are more professional, use colons when addressing students, instructors, and faculty.

Dear Instructor Whinnimaker:

Not

Dear Instructor Whinnimaker,

6.6 Commas with Restrictive and Nonrestrictive Phrases


A phrase that is restrictive (that is essential to the meaning of the sentence) should not be set off by commas. A phrase that is nonrestrictive (that is not essential to the meaning of the sentence) does need to be set off by commas. (See Chicago 6.26.)

Students who study hard will do well in our Independent Study courses.

Parents, who should be responsible for their children, should help the student in the course.

Not

Students, who study hard, will do well in our Independent Study courses.

Parents who should be responsible for their children should help the student in the course.

6.7 Semicolons to Separate Clauses Semicolons separate two independent clauses that aren’t joined by a conjunction. But Kohl suggests that you avoid this use to promote simplicity in text. (See Kohl 8.10.1 and Chicago 6.54.)

Independent Study is open Monday – Friday. It is closed on all national holidays.

Not

Independent Study is open Monday – Friday; it is closed on national holidays.


6.8 En Dash as To En dashes are primarily used to connect numbers and words. To be parallel, never use an en dash in place of the word to when preceded by the word from. (See Chicago 6.78.)

Independent Study is open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. MST.

For more information about the Cold War, see chapters 2 – 5.

Not

Independent Study is open from 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. MST.

For more information about the Cold War, see chapters 2-5. 6.9 Slashes Slashes can be difficult for translators to work around and can cause confusion for nonnative speakers. So, avoid slashes as much as possible. Replacing the slashes with the words or or and will be sufficient. (See Chicago 6.104 and Kohl 8.11.)

Independent Study offers all levels of high school history courses, including 041, 043, 051, and 053.

Not

Independent Study offers HIST 041/043/051/053 courses.

6.10 Smart Quotation Marks All quotation marks should be in typographical quotations marks (also known as smart or curly quotes). Because of certain software programs, these marks are often typed incorrectly, but it is important that they are properly formatted. (See Chicago 6.112.)


Student Haley Brown says about Independent Study courses: “I love that we are allowed to take the course at our own pace.”

Not

Student Haley Brown says about Independent Study courses: "I love that we are allowed to take the course at our own pace."

6.11 Vertical Lists—Punctuation and Format Vertical lists should be introduced by a complete sentence and followed by a colon. Items will not need punctuation unless the sentences are complete sentences. (See Kohl 3.8 and Chicago 6.124.) Follow these procedures to change a student’s grade: 1. Go into the student’s grade book (in BrainHoney). 2. Click on the score of the student’s assignment, under Scores. 3. Go into the window that pops up, click on the yellow box with the

student’s old grade, and input the new one. Not Follow these procedures to change a student’s grade: 1. Go into the student’s grade book (in BrainHoney) 2. Click on the score of the student’s assignment under Scores 3. Go into the window that pops up click on the yellow box with the

student’s old grade and input the new one.

7. Spellings, Distinctive Treatment of Words, and Compounds 7.1 Compound Terms Chicago 7.77 says, “the most common spelling questions for writes and editors concern compound terms—whether to spell as two words, hyphenate, or close up as a single word.”


The first place to look for answers is in the dictionary, but after that, Chicago is the best place. It has a ten-page chart that explains the uses of compounds. (See Chicago 7.85.)

Sally is a twelve-year-old student of Independent Study. Megan is ten years old and will take Independent Study courses in one year.

Not

Sally is a twelve year old student of Independent Study. Megan is ten-years-old and will take Independent Study courses in one year.

7.2 Italics for Key Terms Italicize key terms in course content. Chicago also says to set key terms in roman after the first occurrence. (See Chicago 7.54.)

A widow is a small line that is isolated at the top of a page and is separated from the rest of the paragraph by a page break. Avoid widows as much as possible.

Not

A widow is a small line that is isolated at the top of a page and is separated from the rest of the paragraph by a page break. Avoid widows as much as possible.

8. Names and Terms 8.1 Terms specific to Independent Study

Guide for Course Instructors: This is an instruction book for authors who are writing an Independent Study course. This term should always be italicized and capitalized in text.


Authors, use Guide for Course Instructors as source.

Not

Authors, use “guide for course instructors� as source. Instructional designer: This refers to a professional in Independent Study who works with the author to create new courses or improve old ones. Always lowercase this term.

Whenever you find an error in the course, contact our instructional designers.

Not

Whenever you find an error in the course, contact our Instructional Designers.

Instructor-graded assignments: The instructors grade these assignments. This term should be lowercased and hyphenated in text.

If you are enrolled in a paper or online course, use this form to submit an instructor-graded assignment.

Not

If you are enrolled in a paper or online course, use this form to submit an Instructor graded assignment.


Instructor-guided course: This is a 500-level course that has more interaction between the instructor and the student. The term should be hyphenated and lowercased in text.

Our new instructor-guided online courses are formatted like the new online course.

Not

Our new instructor-guided online courses are formatted like the new online course.

Learning Checkpoint: This is a meeting that students have with their instructors. When referring to the official name, it is capitalized. But when it is just referring to the meeting in general, the shortened term is lowercased checkpoint.

Students enrolled in instructor-guided courses are required to complete four Learning Checkpoints with the instructor of their course.

Not

Students enrolled in instructor-guided courses are required to complete four learning checkpoints with the instructor of their course.

BrainHoney: This is Independent Study’s learning management system, and it should always be one word with B and H both capitalized.

Employees use BrainHoney to find information about and help enrolled students.


Not

Employees use Brainhoney to find information about and help enrolled students.

8.2 Name Consistency When introducing BYU Independent Study, the acronym BYU should always precede Independent Study. Afterwards, you do not need BYU to precede Independent Study.

BYU Independent Study is a nonprofit organization. . . . One of the great advantages of Independent Study is that you can take classes at your own pace.

Not

BYU Independent Study is a nonprofit organization. . . . One of the great advantages of BYU Independent Study is that you can take classes at your own pace.

8.3 Courses of Study Official names of courses of study are capitalized, but the general names are not. (See Chicago 8.85.)

The course History 041 is very popular for high school students.

Independent Study offers a jogging course for students looking for exercise.

Not


The course history 041 is very popular for high school students.

Independent Study offers a Jogging Course for students looking for exercise.

9. Numbers 9.1 Numbers Zero through One Hundred Spell out numbers zero through one hundred in all contexts. (See Chicago 9.2.)

There are on average twenty students enrolled in each course.

Not

There are on average 20 students enrolled in each course.

9.2 Month and Day Always use the month-day-year date form, not the day-month-year.

Please request the exam by June 25, 2013, and complete by July 25, 2013.

Not

Please request the exam by 25 June 2013, and complete by 25 July 2013.

10. Abbreviations


10.1 Abbreviating Independent Study Do not change Independent Study to the initialism IS as this abbreviation is only appropriate in notes, bibliographies, and parenthetical references. (See Chicago 10.3.)

Independent Study accommodates all levels of education.

Not

IS accommodates all levels of education.

10.2 Clipped Terms Clipped terms can be confusing for nonnative speakers and can cause unnecessary variation, so Kohl suggests that you avoid them altogether. (See Kohl 9.13.)

Independent Study high school courses are designed to help students learn material, memorize vocabulary, and improve writing skills.

Not

Independent Study high school courses are designed to help students learn material, memorize vocab, and improve writing skills.


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