(Shamelessly stolen from one of the neatest places on the web.)
Reviews use an informal, conversational tone, though not at the cost of clarity or correctness. Reviews require neither excessive formality nor excessive casualness to express opinions.
Extended metaphors can provide gentle uplift and support, but they make poor lifeboats. They may be apt, but are without question overworked.
Avoid unnecessary jargon, trendy constructions, vagueness, and buzzwords. Omit needless words. Make sure that pronouns point the way to their referents like the tidy signposts they are. Strive for brisk pacing and precise explanation. Limit the use of opaque idioms and pop culture references to non-essential points.
ON STYLIZED NAMES AND TITLES
With your tUnE-yArDs’, your A$AP Rocky’s, your untitled unmastered.’s, and your ANOHNI’s, it seems that, more than ever, artists are choosing to toy with grammar conventions to... express themselves, I guess? Not quite sure what Ty Dolla $ign is trying to convey other than utter confusion—“Dolla $ign” just plain hurts my head.
So, it's PMA’s official policy to ignore these stylistic choices because, more often than not, it disrupts clarity—and remember, ¢L@RiTy F!r$t!
tUnE-yArDs becomes Tune-Yards;
A$AP Rocky becomes ASAP Rocky;
untitled unmastered. becomes Untitled Unmastered (the full-stop only appears at the end a sentence);
ANOHNI becomes Anohni.
ON QUOTATION MARKS AND ITALICS
Song and article titles should be wrapped in quotation marks with all punctuation not part the title outside the quotation marks.
On lyrics and quotes, leave all punctuation inside the quotation marks.
All quotation marks should be curly (“”), not straight ("").
Meanwhile, album titles should always be italicized. For consistency, newspapers, magazines, books, films, television shows, and other works of art should also be italicized.
“Yesterday”, from The Beatles album Help!, was voted the No. 1 pop song of all time by Rolling Stone in 2000. “Help!”, one of John Lennon’s favorite Beatles songs, did not make the list.
ON QUOTING LYRICS
Because the overall impact of song lyrics has much to do with the physical placement of the words, put a slash (/) between the lines to denote a line break.
“Yesterday/All my troubles seemed so far away/Now it looks as though they’re here to stay.”
Quoting four or more lines from a song should generally be avoided.
ON QUOTING PROFANE AND VULGAR LYRICS
PMA policy is to never censor an artist’s creative decisions, including the use of racial epithets and other words used to target marginalized people. We have no list of “unprintable words.”
Final notes on common punctuation questions.
- Use a hyphen (-) to join words to indicate they have a combined meaning.
- Use an em dash (—) to denote a break in a sentence or to introduce a parenthetical element within the sentence. Em dashes should be used without spaces. Note: our CMS does not recognize a double-hyphen (--) as an em dash, so please add them manually.
- Do not use en dashes (–).
Considering that Help! functions as The Beatles’ fifth album and as the soundtrack to their second film—while filming, they continued to release non-LP singles on a regular basis—it’s not entirely surprising that it still has some of the weariness of Beatles for Sale.*
Also, we like serial commas. 😊