Top Writing Mistakes in Storyboards

Recently we asked our instructional designers and storyboard editors what mistakes they were finding (and constantly fixing) during storyboard edits. Here are the top mistakes we identified—with information on how to correct them.

Incorrect spacing

When I learned to keyboard, two spaces after a period was the norm. The norm now is to use single spacing after a period. Because of my muscle memory, I still have to correct my spacing at times. Here is the good news—if you need to fix your double-spacing muscle memory, do a find/replace in Word. Just type a double space in the Find what field, and a single space in the Replace with field, and then click the Replace All button. Problem solved!

Incorrect use of “i.e.” and “e.g.”

In our storyboards, we don’t ever use these abbreviations in narration (because it is more of a writing convention than a speaking convention). If they are used onscreen, we have found they are often used incorrectly. Here is the difference:

  • “I.e.” is the abbreviation of the Latin words id est, which mean “that is.” This term is used to explain or describe what you’ve just said in a different way (i.e., you would use it to say the same thing in other words). If you can use the phrase “in other words” in place of “i.e.”, you have used it correctly.
  • “E.g.” is an abbreviation for the Latin words exempli gratia, which mean “for the sake of example.” This term is used just before you give an example of something (e.g., the example given here). If you can use the words “for example” in place of “e.g.”, you have used it correctly.

Incorrect use of “the dash”

When editing storyboards, we find writers use the wrong type of dash when they join two words, show a range, or join parts of a sentence.

There are three types of dashes: the regular dash or hyphen, the en-dash (the width of a typeset ‘N’), and the em-dash (the width of a typeset “M”).


The goal is consistency, whatever type of dash you use, you’ll want to make sure it is used consistently in the document—and eventually in your course. There are two decisions you’ll need to make:

  • Which type of dash should be used for what situation?  The use can vary based on which style guide you are using.  Here’s what we use at Artisan.
    • Use a dash (hyphen) to join words: single-spaced, e-learning.
    • Use an en-dash to show a range: May 1–15.
    • Use an em-dash when joining parts of a sentence—such as when adding information to the sentence. However, when using Articulate Storyline, we use two hyphens instead of an em-dash–Storyline doesn’t format the em-dash properly.  NOTE: Microsoft Office may automatically change two hyphens in a row to an em-dash, depending on your settings. You may want to turn off automatic formatting if you are writing for a Storyline course.
  • Will the dash have spaces around it?
    • According to GrammarGirl, it is no longer the norm to put spaces on either side of a dash. The Associated Press is the only style guide using spaces on either side of an em-dash, so if the Associated Press is your style guide, add them!

These are our top three. What errors are you finding? Let me know, and I’ll give my suggestions on how to fix them in my next post.

Desiree Pinder
Artisan E-Learning

4 Responses to “Top Writing Mistakes in Storyboards

  • Philscbx
    7 years ago

    According to GrammarGirl, it is no longer the norm to put spaces on either side of a dash.
    The Associated Press is the only style guide using spaces on either side of an em-dash..

    When I write technical instructions for motoring forums – I always use space around dash within the topic.
    Instead of run on of unnecessary filler. Plus single space after two lines of type by default.

    Screen is easier to read and comprehend. They are not reading a book 10″ from face.
    Screen may easily be 3-5 feet away.

    This style of spacing – just happened.
    Topic stays on track – eyes never missing a line.
    Giving reader a sense of real time – as if they hear the speaker live pause during presentation.

    Ever notice emails sent stacked tight line after line – replies not even close to what was written?

    Cheers – Twitter Steered me here.

    • desiree_pinder
      6 years ago

      I just saw this note (a YEAR later). Thank you for the post. I had no idea. I will definitely start working with the “new” way of using the dash. Thank you!

      • Philscbx
        5 years ago

        Funny, coming by here a yr later-
        I wish these were time stamped –
        to see what time of day it was.
        Sometimes weary eyed being up all night,
        I wouldn’t take it too seriously, Lol.

  • who cares
    7 years ago

    3 kinds of dash? How about just one? Isn’t that enough?

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