Grammar in Social Media - Grammar

AMA Manual of Style - Stacy L. Christiansen, Cheryl Iverson 2020

Grammar in Social Media

Scientific articles often have a life beyond their formal full-text publication. Many publishers, institutions, and individuals post information about scientific content on various social media platforms, with Twitter and Facebook being 2 of the most popular. Because these posts have strict space limits (Twitter allows just 280 characters, including spaces) or expectations of brevity from social media followers, it is usually not possible, or even desirable, to strictly adhere to grammar, punctuation, and usage norms. However, some standards are necessary to ensure clarity.6

■Use proper capitalization; capital letters do not take up more characters than lowercase.

■Use basic punctuation to help ensure clarity.

■Avoid texting jargon, such as “U” for “you” or “L8” for “late”; these abbreviations are too colloquial and not widely understood.

■Contractions are appropriate, as are easily recognized symbols such as &, <, and =.

Principal Author: Stacy Christiansen, MA


1.Bernstein TM. The Careful Writer: A Modern Guide to English Usage. Free Press; 1998.

2.The Chicago Manual of Style: The Essential Guide for Writers, Editors, and Publishers. 17th ed. University of Chicago Press; 2017.

3.The Associated Press Stylebook. Associated Press; 2019.

4.Burchfield RW. Fowler’s Modern English Usage. Rev 3rd ed. Oxford University Press; 2004.

5.The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. 5th ed. Houghton Mifflin Co; 2016.

6.Fogarty M. Grammar Girl’s Strunk & Twite: an unofficial Twitter style guide. December 2009. Accessed December 9, 2018.

Additional Readings and General References

Fogarty M. Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing. Henry Holt & Co; 2008.

Follett W. Modern American Usage: A Guide. Wensberg E, ed. Hill & Wang; 1998.

Garner BA. Garner’s Modern American Usage. 3rd ed. Oxford University Press; 2009.

Greenbaum S. Oxford English Grammar. Oxford University Press; 2011.

Lester M, Beason L. The McGraw-Hill Handbook of English Grammar and Usage. 2nd ed. McGraw-Hill; 2013.

Pinker S. The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century. Viking; 2014.

Strunk W Jr, White EB. The Elements of Style. 3rd ed. Macmillan Publishing Co Inc; 1994.

The University of Chicago Press Editorial Staff. But Can I Start a Sentence With “But”? Advice From the Chicago Style Q&A. University of Chicago Press; 2016.