Writing Tip: En Dashes

En dashes are a rare punctuation mark—while hyphens and em dashes are common, en dashes primarily come into play in two specific scenarios:

1. To indicate a range

An en dash can indicate “from this to that”—number ranges, date ranges, and any other range that’s from one thing to another:

  • The passage contained verses 15–20.
  • The conference will be held April 10–15.
  • They took the Bellingham–Seattle train.
  • They have a love–hate relationship.

Please note that the dash implies “from this to that”; saying “from April 10–15” is redundant.

  • Incorrect: The conference will be held from April 10–15.
  • Correct: The conference will be held April 10–15.

2. To connect words

We use hyphens to connect compound adjectives, like “brand-new software.” This connects one word (“brand”) to one word (“new”).

But when we want to connect one word to multiple words, we use an en dash. The en dash will take place of the hyphen, indicating that you’re not just connecting one word to another. This is often seen in proper nouns or used with prefixes:

  • They created new Logos Bible Software–branded tools.
  • They began an anti–human trafficking movement.

The en dash avoids confusion—for example, in the case of “anti–human trafficking,” a hyphen would be describing the trafficking as “anti-human,” which has a very different meaning!

To create an en dash on your keyboard, use Alt + 0150 on a PC or Option + hyphen on a Mac.

Writing Tip: Biblical Books & Abbreviations

When referring to a biblical book in running text, spell out the name of the book and lowercase the word “book”:

  • We studied the book of Revelation.
  • The sermon covered the book of Ruth.

One exception is for Gospels: if you’re referring to a specific Gospel, capitalize the word “Gospel” (alternatively, using the term “gospel” in reference to “good news” should be lowercased):

  • She read from the Gospel of Matthew.
  • He shared the gospel with his congregation.

When space is at a premium, abbreviations may be used for book names. Please keep abbreviations consistent throughout written copy—for example, if you abbreviate one heading, please abbreviate in the rest of the headings within that same deliverable.

Here are the standard abbreviations for each biblical book (shown in alphabetical order). Don’t forget to include the period after each abbreviation!

Old Testament books:

Amos Amos
1 Chronicles 1 Chron.
2 Chronicles 2 Chron.
Daniel Dan.
Deuteronomy Deut.
Ecclesiastes Eccles.
Esther Esther
Exodus Exod.
Ezekiel Ezek.
Ezra Ezra
Genesis Gen.
Habakkuk Hab.
Haggai Hag.
Hosea Hosea
Isaiah Isa.
Jeremiah Jer.
Job Job
Joel Joel
Jonah Jon.
Joshua Josh.
Judges Judg.
1 Kings 1 Kings
2 Kings 2 Kings
Lamentations Lam.
Leviticus Lev.
Malachi Mal.
Micah Mic.
Nahum Nah.
Nehemiah Neh.
Numbers Num.
Obadiah Obad.
Proverbs Prov.
Psalms Ps. (plural Pss.)
Ruth Ruth
1 Samuel 1 Sam.
2 Samuel 2 Sam.
Song of Solomon Song of Sol.
Zechariah Zech.
Zephaniah Zeph.

 

New Testament books:

Acts Acts
Apocrypha Apoc.
Colossians Col.
1 Corinthians 1 Cor.
2 Corinthians 2 Cor.
Ephesians Eph.
Galatians Gal.
Hebrews Heb.
James James
John John
1 John 1 John
2 John 2 John
3 John 3 John
Jude Jude
Luke Luke
Mark Mark
Matthew Matt.
1 Peter 1 Pet.
2 Peter 2 Pet.
Philippians Phil.
Philemon Philem.
Revelation Rev.
Romans Rom.
1 Thessalonians 1 Thess.
2 Thessalonians 2 Thess.
1 Timothy 1 Tim.
2 Timothy 2 Tim.
Titus Titus

Writing Tip: Common Branded Terms

We deal with so many lines of business, brands, and projects on a daily basis—and each has its own set of terms that we use to brand its features.

To keep our communications consistent, we’ve created a list of branded terms. Terms should always be written as they appear on this list (including capitalization, italics, and punctuation).

We use these standards for a few reasons:

  1. Branding a term lets the customer know that it’s important and associated with a product.
  2. Consistency and repetition strengthen the brand in our customers’ minds.
  3. Maintaining consistency also makes us look smart and credible.

Here are some branded terms that are commonly missed:

  • Pre-Publication or Pre-Pub
  • Community Pricing
  • Dynamic Pricing
  • Faithlife Groups
  • Free Book of the Month
  • Reftagger
  • Verse of the Day

On the flip side, some terms are not branded, though we often try to capitalize them as though they are. They make sense as general terms, and we don’t want to overbrand our copy—having too many capitalized words can look sloppy, and many terms aren’t unique to our business.

Here are some commonly confused nonbranded terms:

  • top product
  • monthly sale
  • prayer list
  • reading plan
  • wish list

Check out the Branded Terms Lexicon on the Wiki for a comprehensive list of branded terms (bookmark this!): http://wiki/Branded_Terms_Lexicon

Writing Tip: Possessives Ending in “S”

Which is it—Jesus’s disciples or Jesus’ disciples?

It depends on who you ask, but in our style guide, we just use the apostrophe (which is a departure from the Chicago Manual of Style).

  • Logos’ training seminar
  • The disciples’ feet

This goes for plurals ending in “s”; irregular plurals take an apostrophe and an “s”:

  • The women’s conference
  • Children’s ministries

Writing Tip: Spaced-Out Ellipses

Ellipses should be spaced out in marketing copy (“. . .”). They’re primarily used to show that text is omitted.

They can also be used as a point of suspension (Our lowest price . . . ever!), though those can usually be replaced with an em dash (Our lowest price—ever!).

When part of a sentence is omitted, we can use an ellipsis with spaces on each side to show which part is missing. If the sentence ends directly before the omission, leave the ending punctuation (usually a period), followed by the three spaced-out periods (see the third example below).

Let’s cut down these sentences: “Ellipses omit text that isn’t needed. The periods are tricky and should be spaced out.”

  • Ellipses omit text that isn’t needed. The periods . . . should be spaced out.
  • Ellipses omit text that isn’t needed. The periods are tricky . . .
  • Ellipses omit text that isn’t needed. . . .

Pro tip: Use nonbreaking spaces to avoid breaking your ellipses over two lines.

Writing Tip: Formatting Dates

For dates that include the month or the month and year, just use the numeral for the date (this will be the case for the vast majority of marketing copy):

  • January 1
  • January 1, 2015

If no month is included, turn the numeral into an ordinal, preferably spelled out. If it’s used with a numeral, it should never be a superscript—keep it the same text size as the digits:

  • We’ll meet on the twentieth.
  • The meeting was on the 20th.

When space is at a premium (H1s, email subject lines, etc.), feel free to abbreviate the month, so long as it’s consistent.

  • Claim your discount before Feb. 20!

Use these preferred month abbreviations, always including the periods as they appear here:

January Jan.
February Feb.
March Mar.
April Apr.
May May
June June
July July
August Aug.
September Sept.
October Oct.
November Nov.
December Dec.

Writing Tip: Formatting Quotes

Whenever you include a quote in your copy, it’s important to show the source. If the quote stands alone (in its own paragraph, as a social post, etc.), it should be formatted like this:

“For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.’” —1 Corinthians 1:19

“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probably explanation is that we were made for another world.” —C.S. Lewis, author

Here are some key points:

  • Always use curly quotation marks in any context (here’s how).
  • Keep double quotation marks around the whole quote.
  • If there’s a quote within a quote, surround it with single quotation marks.
  • For the attribution, end with a space, em dash, and source (no space between the em dash and the source). Alternatively, you could begin a new line with the em dash if it makes more sense in context.
  • If there’s a verse range, use an en dash (“Proverbs 3:3–6”).
  • If there’s a job title or department associated with the source’s name, use these capitalization guidelines.

Going into more depth with formatting, let’s look at how to use punctuation with quotes.

Check out this (overly complicated) example from The Chicago Manual of Style:

“Don’t be absurd!” said Henry. “To say that ‘I mean what I say’ is the same as ‘I say what I mean’ is to be as confused as Alice at the Mad Hatter’s tea party. You remember what the Hatter said to her: ‘Not the same thing a bit! Why you might just as well say that “I see what I eat” is the same thing as “I eat what I see”!’”

Hopefully none of us ever need to write something so complex, but it shows us some great examples.

Let’s break this down into some main points:

  • Keep double quotation marks around the whole quote.
  • If there’s a quote within a quote, surround it with single quotation marks.
  • If there’s another quote within that quote, return to double quotation marks, continuing to alternate the two with each level. (Please note that this is very rare and should be avoided or reworked when possible.)
  • Periods and commas generally stay inside closing quotation marks:

“I wish I could study the Bible in depth,” she said.

He said, “You should try Logos Bible Software.”

  • Colons and semicolons are placed outside closing quotation marks:

She wanted to sing “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”; he wanted to sing “Amazing Grace.”

  • Question marks and exclamation points stay inside the quotation marks when part of the quoted text. Otherwise, they fall right outside the closing quotation marks.

Did she say “I love Logos Bible Software”?

“I love Logos Bible Software!” she said.

Writing Tip: Job Titles & Departments

In most cases, job titles are lowercased:

  • He is the professor of biblical studies.
  • Jane Smith, president and CEO, will speak at the meeting.
  • Author, speaker, and writer John Smith will attend the conference.

However, there are a few exceptions where capitalization is necessary.

  1. In title-cased text, capitalize job titles as you would any other term.
  2. When the title is used before someone’s name, as part of their name, it should be capitalized.

President Barack Obama gave his address.

Editor in Chief Jane Smith will review the publication.

  1. If the title is a proper term, use the correct capitalization.

He has been appointed the John A. Smith Professor of History.

And similar rules apply to departments, too! In general, lowercase department names unless they’re used as the name itself or have a proper name:

  • The marketing department will run the promotion.
  • All promotions requests go through Marketing.
  • The university’s department of history is holding an open house.
  • The John A. Smith Department of History is holding an open house.

Writing Tip: Best-Selling, Bestselling & Best Seller

We often talk about best sellers, some of our best-selling titles by bestselling authors.

Here’s how to distinguish each usage:

  • Best-selling (with a hyphen) is used to describe the product that has sold the best (whether it’s within our ecosystem, nationally, over the years, etc.):

This is one of our best-selling resources.

  • Bestselling (without a hyphen) is used in a colloquial sense, usually in terms of something besides the product itself. One of the most common usages is to describe an author—we’re not literally selling the author, but they’ve written a best-selling title:

She’s a bestselling author.

  • Best seller (two words) is the noun for a best-selling product:

This resource is a best seller.

Writing Tip: Spelling Out Centuries

Ordinal numbers with centuries should always be spelled out:

  • the twenty-first century

However, since this can take up a lot of space, feel free to substitute numerals where appropriate (H1s, email subject lines, or other scenarios where space is at a premium):

  • the 21st century

If the century is used as an adjective (typically placed before the noun), use a hyphen. If it stands alone or comes after the noun, remove the hyphen.

  • I love literature from the twentieth century.
  • I love twentieth-century literature.

For parts of centuries, only hyphenate when it’s used with “mid-”. “Early” and “late” should be left without hyphens.

  • This book was written in the mid-twentieth century.
  • This book was written in the early twentieth century.
  • Mid-twentieth-century literature is valuable.
  • Early twentieth-century literature is valuable.