Friday, December 2, 2016

Safire Rules

50 pretty good grammar rules

1. No sentence fragments.

2. Avoid run-on sentences they are hard to read.

3. A writer must not shift your point of view.

4. Do not put statements in the negative form.

5. Don't use contractions in formal writing.

6. The adverb always follows the verb.

7. Make an all out effort to hyphenate when necessary but not when un-necessary.

8. Don't use Capital letters without good REASON.

9. It behooves us to avoid archaisms.

10. Reserve the apostrophe for it's proper use and omit it when its not needed.

11. Write all adverbial forms correctly.

12. In their writing, everyone should make sure that their pronouns agree with its antecedent.

13. Use the semicolon properly, use it between complete but related thoughts; and not between independent clause and a mere phrase.

14. Don't use no double negatives.

15. Also, avoid awkward or affected alliteration.

16. When a dependent clause precedes an independent clause put a comma after the dependent clause.

17. If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times: Resist hyperbole.

18. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.

19. Avoid commas, that are not necessary.

20. Verbs has to agree with their subjects.

21. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.

22. “The male pronoun embraces the female” is a nonsexist standard that should be followed by all humankind.

23. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.

24. The passive voice should never be used.

25. Writing carefully, dangling participles should be avoided.

26. Unless you are quoting other people's exclamations, kill all exclamation points!!!

27. Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.

28. The rigid rule of “i before e except after c” raises spelling to a sceince.

29. Proofread carefully to see if you any word out.

30. Use parallel structure when you write and in speaking.

31. Boycott eponyms.

32. Ixnay on colloquial stuff.

33. Of all the rules about indefinite pronouns, none is useful.

34. Zap onomatopoeia.

35. Resist new verb forms that have snuck into the language.

36. Better to walk through the valley of the shadow of death than to string prepositional phrases.

37. You should just avoid confusing readers with misplaced modifiers.

38. One will not have needed the future perfect tense in one's entire life.

39. Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences — such as those of 10 or more words — to their antecedents.

40. Eschew dialect, irregardless.

41. Remember to never split an infinitive.

42. Take the bull by the hand and don't mix metaphors.

43. Don't verb nouns.

44. De-accession euphemisms.

45. Always pick on the correct idiom.

46. If this were subjunctive, I'm in the wrong mood.

47. Never, ever use repetitive redundancies.

48. “Avoid overuse of ‘quotation “marks.”’’

49. Never use prepositions to end sentences with.

50. Last but not least, avoid clichés like the plague.

–William Safire (1929-2009), columnist, author and language guy.

Editorial Comment: Sadly, not everyone will understand this advice.

PeezPix by Ted Pease


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