Notes From A Word Nerd, Issue 1

Here are a few simple rules to help all the wonderful Movie Pilot Creators produce cleaner copy, sleeker stories and appropriately edited exposés.

American-English Spelling

American English is the rule that Movie Pilot favors; we do not favour (see what I did there?) the Queen’s English, unfortunately. As a quick rule of thumb, to spell in the American style, you’ll often have to drop the “u” — as in rumor, armor and humor — or swap out an “s” for a “z” — as in apologize, hypnotize and idolize.

Text Following Colons

If a colon is chased by a complete sentence or proper noun, then the first letter after the colon is uppercased. If not a complete sentence or a proper noun, then lowercase the first letter of the word following the colon. Check out these examples:

Here is a list of my favorite Marvel characters: Doctor Strange, Wolverine, Magneto and Thor.

These are some of the coolest weapons used on The Walking Dead: revolver, RPG, crossbow and shank.

Nikki told me her secret crush: It’s Ramsay Bolton.

Colon Use In Headlines (Movie Titles Notwithstanding)

In a headline, quoted text that comes before or after a colon does not require quotation marks, as the colon denotes quoted text. Plus, it just looks awkward. Following are two examples, the first being correct and the second incorrect:

There Will Be A Finality To Moments Of Phase 3: Kevin Feige Reveals That The Marvel Cinematic Universe Is Changing

‘Yeah, I’m Back’: ‘Avengers’ Director Joss Whedon Has Had A Change Of Heart And Would Like To Return To The MCU

Double Quotes (“”) And Single Quotes (”)

Double quotes do not exist in headlines or subheads. Rather, they are used to show a block of quoted text in body copy. In headlines and subheads, single quotes are used to indicate quoted text or the title of a movie, TV show, episode title or most other works of art.

Within a quotation, use single quote marks to indicate another quote, like so:

Ygritte: “Can we not talk about that here? ‘I’m Jon Snow — I’ve killed dead men and Qhorin Halfhand, but I’m scared of naked girls!'”

Quotes And Indicating Sarcasm, Or Not

When it comes to body copy, use quotation marks to show that a word is not being used in its literal sense. Quote marks should not be used to quote one to two words in text as this will read as sarcasm, rather than a person’s statement.

E.g. Daisy Ridley said she’s “very excited” to be working with Mark Hamill.

In this instance, the quote marks should be removed as it reads as ridicule. Rather, a better way to express this same sentence might be:

Daisy Ridley said Mark Hamill is “amazing to rehearse with” and she’s “very excited to be doing the rest of the stuff” with him.

BONUS: Surprisingly Commonly Misspelled Names

David Ayer, director of Suicide Squad, is oftentimes misspelled as Ayers.