Do you make this very common copywriting mistake?

I see it all the time… from newbies as well as master copywriters…

…the improper use of plurals with numbers — especially when writing years.

For instance, I often see “the 1980’s” when it should be “the 1980s.”

Here’s an easy way to figure out what’s proper: Would you use a possessive if you spelled it out?

“For crap sake… I just wish we could just go back to the nineteen-eighties.”

Nope… no possessive needed here, although we could do with a bit more refinement.

If you’re going to eliminate the first two numbers in a year, use an apostrophe to indicate the missing numbers.

For instance, you’d write, “the ’80s,” not “the 80s.”

For conundrums like this, I like to use the AP Stylebook. It’s influenced my writing enormously over the decades. But some writers prefer the Chicago Manual of Style. I think it’s unbearably clunky.

I don’t know if it’s still true, but it used to be that journalists on the East coast adhered to the Chicago Manual of Style while the westerners preferred the AP.

I do know that the AP Stylebook is available online and updates regularly.

© 2016 Chris Marlow, All Rights Reserved

P.S. — Did you know that there is only ONE resource in the world that has nearly 100 statistical pricing charts for common and not-so-common copywriting jobs? It’s in one place only and that is the S.S. Treasure Hunt. Become a member and you will always be able to price your jobs correctly!

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About Chris Marlow

The original copywriter's coach, Chris Marlow has worked with copywriters since 2003. Her acclaimed Marlow Marketing Method™ Client Acquisition Course has produced hundreds of successful copywriters. Chris' S.S. Treasure Hunt membership site not only houses this course but four more on the subjects of Copywriting, Advanced Copywriting, Productivity, and Closing Clients. The S.S. Treasure Hunt also contains the world's only statistical pricing database for about 100 copywriting jobs. Chris has put together this resource to give copywriters everything they need to succeed — and nothing they don't. Chris is committed to helping copywriters focus on what's important, saving them from the time- and money-wasting Bright Shiny Object Syndrome so prevalent on the Internet.
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