ChanteSez … Keep it 100

I like the saying “Keep it 100.” Since it’s a reference to “100 percent,” let’s talk about using “percent” in your writing.

  • Always spell out “percent.”
  • Exception: headlines or titles, where it’s OK to use the % symbol.
  • If you’re comparing percentages, always use “percent” after both figures. For example, “The business has seen an increase of between 40 percent and 50 percent compared to last year.”
  • Speaking of figures, always use numerals when pairing them with “percent” — even when they’re single digits. For example, “She decreased the errors in her writing by 8 percent after reading ChanteSez every week.”



ChanteSez … Are you hungry yet?

If so, feast your eyes on these food-related words — a primer on what’s capitalized and what’s not.

  • french fries — no caps … and no offense to our Francophile friends
  • french toast — no caps
  • Brussels sprouts — the “B” is capitalized, and like the city, takes an “s” on the end
  • barbecue — lower-case, but note that it’s spelled out and with a “c”

And of course, Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family and friends! May it be a fun, filling, safe and blessed holiday for you!

ChanteSez … Hootie Who!

Anytime I can work an OutKast reference into a ChanteSez, it’s a good day. And yes, I know that the song title is actually “Hootie Hoo.” But that’s beside the point … kind of like asking which is the better group: OutKast or A Tribe Called Quest.

(Leave me a comment if you can call it. I couldn’t when my cousin put the question on Facebook.)

So, on to today’s lesson. What’s the difference between “who” and “whom”? To state the obvious, the letter “m.” And that’s the key to remembering when to use these pronouns.

Replace the who/whom with the word “him.” Notice that both “whom” and “him” end with the letter “m.” If “him” fits, use “whom.”

So remember: Him = whom.

Here’s the tip in action. You’ll have to rephrase the sentence in your mind for this tip to work, but it’s easy.

For whom the bell tolls.

  • Rephrase: Who does the bell toll for? It tolls for “him,” so “whom” is correct.

To who should I give the ball?

  • Rephrase: Should I give the ball to “him”? Yes, so “whom” is the word to use here, not “who” as shown incorrectly above.

He said the woman with whom he traveled was a relative.

  • Rephrase: He said he traveled with her, a relative. Since “her” is the feminine pronoun sibling of “him,” “whom” is correct here.

ChanteSez … Congratulations, Mr. President!

Since we’re fresh off the re-election of President Barak Obama, today’s ChanteSez Tip of the Day highlights a few political terms.

  • President is always capitalized before a name, as in the sentence above. Don’t ever abbreviate it (pres., prez, etc.).
  • Unless there would be confusion, it’s OK to omit the president’s first name on first reference. For example, “President Kennedy was one of the country’s most beloved leaders.”
  • But don’t put “former” or “ex” in caps. “History will show that former President Reagan was one of the country’s most divisive heads of state.”
  • Election Day may not be an official holiday, but it is capitalized.
  • Political parties are capitalized, but political ideas (democracy, communism, etc.) are not. For example, “Rep. John Lewis is a longstanding member of the Democratic Party, and he is a firm supporter of the democratic process. He considers himself to be a strong and unapologetic liberal.”