Friday, January 24, 2014

Fun Friday: Fumblerules of Grammar by William Safire

Since I've been propped up with a healing toe post-toenail removal and immersed in rewriting a novel at a publisher's request, I have nothing new to offer. Here are some golden rules of writing by Pulitzer Prize winning author William Safire (1929-2009).

1.  Avoid run-on sentences they are hard to read.
2.  Don't use no double negatives.
3.  Use the semicolon properly, always use it where it is appropriate; and never where it isn't.
4.  Reserve the apostrophe for it's proper use and omit it when its not needed.
5.  Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
6.  No sentence fragments.
7.  Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
8.  If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
9.  Steer clear of incorrect forms of verbs that have snuck in the language.
10. Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixed metaphors.
11. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
12. Never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
13. Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.
14. If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times, resist hyperbole.
15. Also, avoid awkward or affected alliteration.
16. Always pick on the correct idiom.
17. Avoid commas, that are not necessary.
18. If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
19. A writer must not shift your point of view.
20. Eschew dialect, irregardless.
21. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.
22. Don't overuse exclamation marks!!!!
23. Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of ten or more words, to their antecedents.
24. Hyphenate between syllables and avoid un-necessary hyphens.
25. Write all adverbial forms correct.
26. Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
27. Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
28. In statements involving two word phrases, make an all out effort to use hyphens.
29. Avoid colloquial stuff.
30. Last but not least, avoid clich├ęs like the plague, seek viable alternatives.

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