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Writing Books/serif tags at top/bottom of letters I can't see


Dear Cathy,
I've been studying your instructions at I've hit a snag in your distinction between serif and sans serif fonts. You say serifs are the tags at the top and bottom of letters in certain fonts and give examples of Courier New as a serif and Ariel as a sans serif font. I'm going blind trying to see the "tags" at the top or bottom of the courier new(12) letters - i and m - in your examples. Maybe I don't understand what you mean by "tag" in this case. I'm amazed by all the information you put at and wish to understand it thoroughly.
Thank you very much,
tutorjb1 - JB :)

Hi, Jefferson!

I understand your confusion and hope I can explain it for you. The "tags" aren't at the top of EVERY letter, just some of them in a serif font. For example, on a capital "I", you can either put bars at the top and bottom to identify it, or not. In Courier New, there are bars at the top and bottom (hence "tags"). In Arial, there are too, but smaller. But if you look at other capital letters in Courier versus Arial, like the a capital "A", it's more apparent. Courier has a small bar that comes off the top and bottoms of the letters. Arial doesn't.

If you type the same text in the two fonts, it might help explain it.

You might also look at this very site. AllExperts uses a San Serif font to display an answer to you. But if you do a follow-up reply or question, the text in the box appears as a serif font.

Hope that helps!


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Cathy Clamp


I'm happy to answer questions about any aspect of writing novels, from the beginning kernel of an idea through completion. I can help with writing a query letter and synopsis to an agent or editor. I can explain publishing terminology and acronyms. I can also assist with questions about verifying the credentials of agents/publishers and how to proceed once you've been accepted for publication. I can teach the rules of formatting a manuscript, creating viable plots, characterization and flow in the following genres: romance, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, suspense, horror, women's fiction, mainstream and mystery.


I'm a USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Tor/Forge Books. Along with a co-author, I've published fifteen novels (combination of mass market and trade softcover) since 2003, and have contracts for four more books through 2011.

Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Western Outdoor Writers, Horror Writers of America.

Tor/Forge Books, Western Reflections Publishing, BenBella Books, Running Press, Wild Child Publishing. Many others.

My educational background is limited to real life experience of publishing novels commercially for the past five years.

Awards and Honors
USA Today bestseller, Waldenbooks Mass Market Paperback Top 20 bestseller, Nielsen BookScan Top 20 bestseller, RT BOOKreviews Career Achievement Award winner, 2009, Book Buyers Best Award for Paranormal, Romantic Times Best Werewolf Novel, Write Touch Readers Award, EVVY Best Historical Chronicle Award, The Lories Best Paranormal. Many others.

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