ClearTips: Edit yourself

10. Consistency

Consistency is one of the main things an editor looks for in a piece of writing, consistency in the style of spelling, of punctuation, and of writing numbers as words or figures. To be inconsistent is to be sloppy—say, by alternating between travelled and traveled, 10 and ten, or % and percent. So, above all, be consistent, even if eccentric. The idea is to pick one style and stick to it. The best way to keep track of the styles you have chosen is to write them on a style sheet.

In the examples that follow, the styles consistently chosen in the right-hand column reflect the preferences of most editors today. In most of the examples, it would have been acceptable (but not preferable) to have consistently chosen the alternative style.

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