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June 11, 2019


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Here are some possible edits:
Upscale, Women's Boutique (assuming "Shop" is the name of the store)
Congratulations, Graduates!
Deep-fried Milky Way, Deep-fried Snickers

Rebecca Robin

I maintain that signs should not share the same punctuation requirements as print. Signs are designed to quickly impart a message with an efficiency of words, images and symbols. While working as a professional, award-winning signage designer with high profile projects world-wide, I strove to include punctuation only when its omission resulted in misunderstanding.

Business Writing Blog


Thanks for responding to the proofreading challenge. I agree with your comma between the words CONGRATULATIONS and GRADUATES. It's necessary because the message is directly addressing the graduates.

And I agree with your apostrophe for WOMEN'S. It's perfect for a plural noun that does not end in "s."

I would not use a comma between UPSCALE and WOMEN'S. In my mind, the adjectives are not equal. I think it's a women's boutique that happens to be upscale.

To test for the need for a comma, ask yourself whether you could insert "and" between the adjectives and have the phrase sound right.

"Upscale and women's boutique"? No, probably not. Therefore, no comma.

I agree with your hyphens for the deep-fried food. I'm still trying to imagine what it tastes like!

Again, thanks for weighing in.


Business Writing Blog

Hi Rebecca,

Thanks for commenting. I appreciate your point of view as a signage designer.

I would suggest that hyphens such as the one in DEEP-FRIED, and apostrophes like the one in WOMEN'S are integral parts of the word. I would never leave them out. A hyphen doesn't even take any additional space.

For the comma between CONGRATULATIONS and GRADUATES, I can see your point. Still, a comma takes up so little room that I would lobby for inserting it and being correct.

I do hear you, and I am glad you shared your opinion. I'll be watching for signs that present your point of view.


Rebecca Robin

Lynn, I agree with you regarding deep-fried and women's. In sign design, often punctuation is left off the end of a line with the line break taking the place of a comma.

Thank you for your posts. I enjoy reading them.

Business Writing Blog

The line-break style makes sense. I just have to get used to it! Thanks, Rebecca.


Our local grocery store, Rosauers, had their name legally changed from Rosauer's to eliminate the need for the apostrophe between "r" and "s."

Business Writing Blog

Maureen, interesting! That's one solution.

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