What's in a Name?
By Mamie Webb Hixon

What's in a name? Everything including a comma—if Jr. or Sr. follows the name. If a Roman numeral designation follows a name, the comma is omitted:

Henry VIII Adlai Stevenson III
Pope John Paul II The Reverend Leon Rankins III

Roy Jones, Jr. OR Roy Jones Jr.
The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. OR The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Lou Gossett, Jr. OR Lou Gossett Jr.
Hank Williams, Jr. OR Hank Williams Jr.
Sam Webb, Jr. OR Sam Webb Jr.

The second option without the comma preceding the title Jr. is preferred since Jr. is considered a part of the person's name. If, however, the title is an additive or a parenthetical element like a professional, descriptive, or working title, then the comma is required:

William E. Cosby, Ed.D Gerald McKenzie, Attorney at Law
Sarah Wynder Haynes, Ph.D. Ross Goodman, Esq.
Percy Goodman, M.D. Marie Young, County Commissioner

While commas separate a name from a title, commas are not used to set off nicknames or surnames (nicknames are, however, placed in quotation marks unless the nickname is the name the person is known or called by):

Catherine the Great The Iron Lady
Michael "Air" Jordan Honest Abe
General Daniel "Chappie" James Ike

Commas are not necessary when a professional title precedes a name:

Secretary of State
Colin Powell
Condoleezza Rice, National Security Advisor
President George W. Bush Al Henderson, Editor
The Honorable Nancy Gilliam Nettie Eaton, Principal

When in doubt, consult a grammar handbook or stylebook.



Use lie, lies, lying, lay, and (have) lain with people and inanimate objects:

Tourists are lying on the beach enjoying the sun.

The forms are lying on your desk.

Trees were lying on the streets after the hurricane.



The term via, Latin for "by way of," should be used only in routing instructions.

Send the information via fax or email.

The equipment is being shipped to Pensacola via Mobile.

The project was funded through a federal grant.



Use standard rules for forming the plural of last names.
Stewart - the Stewarts Kennedy - the Kennedys
Keeping up with the Joneses Lynch - the Lynches
Rodriguez - the Rodriguezes Bui - the Buis
Illianes - the Illianeses Marx - the Marxes
Williams - the Williamses


Diction in the Real World

By Leslie Young

In the business world, proper use of written words can be the deciding factor between making a deal or not making the deal. Some business people may except the fact that they cannot write properly. However, they should be adviced that proper grammar is a principle key to producing documents that will be read by others. If business people are not sure of their grammar, they should be sure and ask someone for help or simply look the information up themselves. Beside having proper grammar in writing, a person who knows how to use proper grammar when speaking has an advantage over those individuals who do not know their grammar rules. Should a businessman or businesswoman become a supervisor, he or she also needs to know proper grammar in order to help his or her personal. What good would a boss who didn't know grammar be if the workers banked on him as a resource? Being that the workers depend on their bosses, the boss needs to know correct grammar for writing and speaking purposes. If business people are not particularly great with grammar, they shouldn't become alarmed; they should be enthused because a place like the University of West Florida's Writing Lab exists. Due to the highly trained staff in The Lab, business people will encounter imminent lab assistants ("labbies") who will help them reach their grammar goals. Getting help from the Grammar Hotline will have a profound affect on your writing. Professionals everywhere, have no fear; for the Writing Lab and its "grammar labbies" are here to council.

Did you notice that all of the bold-faced words above are incorrect? For future reference, know the differences between the two forms of each of the words above:

accept vs. except: accept means "to take"; except means "to omit," or it can be the preposition "but."
advice vs. advise: advice is a noun that means "tips or suggestions"; advise is a verb that means "to give advice."
principal vs. principle: principal is an adjective that means "main or primary"; principle is a noun that means "beliefs or morals."
be sure and vs. 
be sure to
Never use "be sure and."
beside vs. besides: beside means "alongside"; besides means "in addition to."
personal vs. personnel: personal is an adjective; personnel is a noun that refers to workers.
banked on vs. depended on: Never use banked on because it is colloquial.
being that vs. because: Never use "being that."
enthused vs. enthusiastic: enthused is a colloquial adjective.
due to vs. because of: due to means "caused by" and must follow only a be -verb; because of means "as a result of" and is used to introduce an adverb phrase.
imminent vs. eminent: imminent means "sure to happen"; eminent means "distinguished" or "elite."
affect vs. effect:  affect as a verb means "to change, alter, or influence"; effect as a noun means "consequence or result."
counsel vs. council: counsel is a verb that means "to advise" and a noun meaning "lawyer"; council is a noun.

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