Geography: Stand-alone cities I

December 20, 2001: Issue 4

SIM STYLE: Stand-alone cities
Many U.S. cities and several foreign cities are so well-known that they require no accompanying state or country designation. This doesn’t mean you CAN’T name the state or country if you feel it’s needed; it simply means that in most cases the city name alone is sufficiently clear.

Two notable exceptions: 
• Portland (Maine or Oregon?)
• Kansas City (Kansas or Missouri?)
For more information, including a complete list of stand-alone cities, see Issue 55, or go to the Stand-Alone Cities section in the SIM stylebook.

GRAMMAR: If you only knew …
Did the Smiths only choose neutrals for their master bath, or did they choose only neutrals? There’s a difference.
The word “only” can show up almost anywhere in a sentence, but its proper placement depends on what you’re trying to say. To put “only” in its place, make sure it shows up right before the word you’re trying to single out.

Check out the different meanings of the following examples:

• Only the Smiths chose neutrals for their master bath. (No one else did.)
• The Smiths only chose neutrals for their master bath. (They did nothing else in the decorating process.)
• The Smiths chose only neutrals for their master bath. (They chose no other colors.)
• The Smiths chose neutrals only for their master bath. (They didn’t choose neutrals anywhere else.)

That said, the point of putting “only” in its place is clarity. If no one will
misunderstand your meaning, put “only” where it sounds most natural (such as “I’m only going to say this once,” rather than the more technically correct “I’m going to say this only once”).

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Hyphenated Words: Mid-

March 10, 2005: Issue 82

SIM Style: Modern issues

Use midcentury or midcentury modern to refer to the decorating style prevalent from 1945 to 1965. You don’t need to specify 20th, and note: no hyphens or caps. For other centuries, follow the hyphenation rules for prefixes (in the SIM Stylebook under Hyphens).
correct: in the mid-18th century
correct: by mid-19th-century standards

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Web Tips: Track changes in Word

September 22, 2005: Issue 106

Having trouble with the Track Changes feature in Microsoft Word 2004 (the OSX version)? Turn off those pesky balloons. As long as theyre on, struck-through text will disappear entirely, and the program will run slower.

To deactivate them: Under the Word pull-down menu, choose Preferences. Click the Track Changes button, then uncheck the Balloons box.

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Web Tips: Long Web addresses

October 9, 2003: Issue 69

SIM STYLE: Does SIM have a style on dealing with especially long
Web addresses?
Yes, but first we must make the distinction between a Web site and a Web page. Let’s look at two examples:

The first is long, but it’s the full address for a Web site. We know it will take us to the sponsoring organization’s home page because it ends in “.com” (it could also end in “.net,” “.org,” or any number of other extensions). We may have to break the address over two lines (see “Rerun” below), but if we’re going to run it, we have to run the whole thing.

The second example directs readers to a specific page within a Web site. The slash after the “.com” tells the Web browser to go to that site, then look for a file in a subdirectory. Each subsequent slash takes the browser into another subdirectory. Sending a user to a specific page this way is called “deep linking,” and it’s something we should avoid.

Not only is it hard on readers (who wants to have to type that all in exactly right?), companies aren’t particularly fond of it, as it allows users to bypass pages of advertising. Addresses for specific Web pages tend to change frequently, too, so a link that worked when your magazine went to service bureau may no longer work when it hits the newsstands.

So what should you do? Send readers to a Web site, then tell them how to navigate to the appropriate information. In this case, something like this:
correct: For more information, visit Click on “Resources,” then “20 Reasons to Work Here.”

GRAMMAR: Aren’t concrete and cement the same thing?
Nope. It’s ALWAYS a concrete patio, concrete floors, or concrete countertops, never cement. Cement is the dry powder that goes into a concrete mix.

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Web Tips: Internet terms

June 6, 2002: Issue 25

SIM STYLE: What is our style on the most common Internet terms?
The following are all correct; note capitalization and word separation.
the Internet
the Net
World Wide Web
the Web
Web site
e-mail (noun, verb, or adjective)
home page

Note: “Worldwide” in all other uses is one word.

GRAMMAR: What’s the difference between compliment and complement?
These words are easy to read over and use incorrectly, even when we know their proper meanings. Do a double take anytime you see one and make sure it’s right. “Compliment” implies praise or gratitude. “Complement” denotes something that adds to or completes something else.   
correct: Over dinner, the homeowners complimented the designer for her deft use of complementary materials. Touched, she quickly took the bill and said, “My compliments.”

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Web Tips: Facebook links

June 4, 2009: Issue 292

Facebook by the book

Facebook has clear rules for how to link or refer to its site. The goal is to distinguish between our brands and the Facebook brand.

Don’t use wording that implies a partnership.
incorrect: Check out the Facebook page.
correct: Check out the page on Facebook.
correct: Find us on Facebook.

Connect our names to our pages.
example: Share your wildlife photos at the Nature’s Garden page on Facebook.
Hyperlink “Nature’s Garden” or “Nature’s Garden page.” (Do not hyperlink “Facebook” unless the link goes to the Facebook log-in page.)

You can also use Facebook badges to link to our pages.

Find CEs on Facebook: Be our fan. Ask us grammar questions. Share your favorite typos. Start here.

Winner: Congratulations to Deb Wagman, the winner of last week’s contest. We drew her name at random from the people who knew that New York City was originally assigned the area code 212 because it was the fastest area code to dial on a rotary phone. Stop by the CE department to claim your prize, Deb.

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Web Tips: Computer commands

August 15, 2002: Issue 32

SIM STYLE: Computer commands
SIM style is full of quirky little symbols. Not sure how to get a thin space or make a dimension-x? Can’t get a word to break in the right place? Struggling to make a fraction? The solutions to these problems and more are as close as your SIM Stylebook.

For more information, see Computer Commands section in the SIM Stylebook.

For information on accent marks, see Accent Marks section in the SIM Stylebook.

GRAMMAR: Is it compared to or compared with?
There really is a difference. If you’re likening one thing to another, use compared to. If you’re examining two or more items’ similarities or differences, use compared with.
correct: Joking about the long, extensive kitchen remodeling, Olivia compared the project to an archaeological dig.
correct: The study indicated that 80 percent of homeowners planned to remodel a bath, compared with just 30 percent who planned to update a kitchen.

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Web Tips: Breaking web addresses III

January 24, 2008: Issue 223

Yes, we have rules for where to break Web addresses. But the best option is not to break them at all.
Forecast; 847/622-
0416; forecastltg


To keep a Web address intact without forcing a return: With InDesign, select the entire address. Make sure you’re working in character mode (the A is selected in your control window, not the paragraph mark). In the flyout menu at the far right of your control window, select No Break.

If you must break it: Here are the rules.

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Web Tips: Breaking web addresses II

September 15, 2005: Issue 105

When you break a Web address over two lines, do it at a punctuation mark, and always push that punctuation mark to the second line. Hyphens should never appear in a Web address unless they are part of the address.
Web address:




correct: www.bhg

You can stop a Web address from breaking without using returns. Highlight the whole address, then click on the arrow at the top right of the character menu and select No Break. If later editing changes your text wrap, you wont be left with an awkward break in type.

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Web Tips: Breaking web addresses I

March 14, 2002: Issue 14

SIM STYLE: Can I break a Web address over two lines?
Keeping the address on one line is ideal, but if that’s not possible, it may be broken. If the address breaks at a period, split it BEFORE the period so readers naturally continue reading to the next line. If the address breaks at a slash, split it AFTER the slash.
correct: For more information visit
correct: For more information visit

Never insert a hyphen into a Web address to break it over two lines. If an address naturally contains a hyphen, you may break it BEFORE the hyphen, which serves as a cue to readers that the hyphen is part of the address. Long Web addresses that can’t be broken are likely to leave you with awkward spacing elsewhere. Tweaking breaks on the lines before and after the address can sometimes prevent that.

For more information, see Web Site Addresses in the Addresses
section in the SIM Stylebook.

GRAMMAR: Is it “free reign” or “free rein”?
A king or queen reigns over the land; a driver reins in a horse. When you are given control of a project, you may believe you have “free reign.” But unless you’re working with a limitless budget and answering to no one, you’ll quickly find yourself still hitched to the cart. In reality, your reins have simply been loosened: You’ve been given “free rein.”

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