Guideline B: Writing for an international audience

B4: Punctuation



Punctuation


Guideline B4-1


Do not use a slash to form the construction and/or ; do not use a slash to mean and or or.

Avoid using the construction and/or because it is ambiguous in English and does not exist in other languages.

Example: When you say Close and/or lock the door, the translators have to choose among the following possible phrases:

The translated information will be more technically accurate if you make the choice yourself. Usually it is better to say or to indicate that it is not necessary to do both. In most situations, it is obvious that you could do both.


Guideline B4-2


Avoid forming plurals by adding “(s)” to indicate either singular or plural form. Include both forms if necessary.

Avoid this format even when space is a problem (such as, in messages, headings, captions, tables, or art callouts). Other languages form the plural of a noun in many different ways. Include in your sentence either the singular form, the plural form, or both forms.


Guideline B4-3


Refer to the symbol < ’ > as an apostrophe and the symbol < ' > as a single quotation mark.

The apostrophe and the single quotation mark are not usually differentiated in data processing environments, and are not readily distinguishable on many presentation devices. In general English usage, however, the apostrophe indicates contractions (for example, we're for we are), or shows possession (for example, John's car). The single quotation mark is a string delimiter, for example, 'This is a message.'