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How to word a commemorative plaque

A commemorative plaque is used to record the words of a group or family in memory of a person or event. The most common type of commemorative plaque is the memorial plaque, which is dedicated to a person who died. Beyond that, there are plaques to remember events, such as the founding of an institution, the ground-breaking for a building or the creation of an event. The wording of a commemorative plaque will last for years, if not centuries, so carefully selecting the wording is important not only to you, but for posterity.

Select an appropriate opening. Memorial plaques will usually start with "In Memory" or "In Loving Memory," though other phrases like "Dedicated To" or "In Honor Of" are also good. General commemorative plaques are more flexible, but will usually start with something to the effect of "Commemorating," "Honoring" or "In This Place" for location-specific events.

Record the essential details of the commemoration. For people, include the full name, birth date, death date (if applicable), and optionally hometown, education and family names. For events or locations, include the data relevant to the plaque installation, for example, the date of a significant battle, the location of an historic event or the ground-breaking for an important building.

Specify the reason for commemoration. Use formal style (e.g., no contractions, complete sentences) to match the tone of the honour intended with the plaque. Include favourite quotes, family thoughts, a brief description of historical significance or the connection between the event and the location. Consider the amount of space you have available and what you want to say on the plaque. Generally, a plaque should contain no more than four or five sentences, though larger plaques can have more words. Make sure the size of the font will be readable.

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About the Author

James T Wood is a teacher, blogger and author. Since 2009 he has published two books and numerous articles, both online and in print. His work experience has spanned the computer world, from sales and support to training and repair. He is also an accomplished public speaker and PowerPoint presenter.