Ranges: Page ranges

August 21, 2003: Issue 66

SIM STYLE: Out on the (page) range
Around here, where we’re constantly looking at issue maps, story lineups, tracking documents, and contents memos, we think of stories by the number of spreads they occupy in a magazine. So when it comes time to direct readers to those stories in editor’s letters, TOCs, and other references, we have a tendency to identify the full range of pages they cover. That’s almost always unnecessary. Simply point readers to the beginning of a story or section.
unnecessary: See “The Best Story Ever,” on pages 36-42.
better: See “The Best Story Ever,” page 36.

There are times when we want to point out to readers the value of a large section, and in those cases, we may choose to use a range of pages.
correct: See our bonus special section, pages 32-63.

This tactic is best utilized if the reference doesn’t already specify the number of pages in the section, as in the above example. If it does, give just the beginning page number.
correct: See our bonus 32-page special section, starting on page 32.

GRAMMAR: When it comes to dimensions and units of measure, why do some plural subjects take a singular verb?
They don’t. The confusion here is that some subjects that appear to be plural on first glance are actually singular.
example: The extra 100 square feet make/makes a world of difference.
We’re talking about square feet, and we’ve got 100 of them, so the subject must be plural, right? Wrong. We’re talking about ONE SPACE that measures 100 square feet. The subject is actuallysingular, and the correct verb is “makes.”

Check out these more obvious examples.
correct:She says 12 feet is [not “are”] too deep for the pool.
correct:She says 80 degrees is [not “are”] a perfect temperature to picnic.

It goes without saying that we’re talking about ONE DEPTH and ONE TEMPERATURE here. When you’re confused about dimensions, apply the same logic. If the subject refers to one area, keep the verb singular.

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