WHILE VISITING with a client last week, I noticed the following posted on the editor’s bulletin board. She was happy to share it with me…and I’m happy to share it with you.
I don’t know the source of this one. If you do, please let me know.
Good food for thought here—and it’ll give you a chuckle.
1. Avoid alliteration. Always.
2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
3. Avoid clichés like the plague. (They’re old hat.)
4. Employ the vernacular.
5. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
6. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
7. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
8. Contractions aren’t necessary.
9. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
10. One should never generalize.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
11. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
12. Comparisons are as bad as clichés.
13. Don’t be redundant; don’t use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.
14. Be more or less specific.
15. Understatement is always best.
16. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
17. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
18. The passive voice is to be avoided.
19. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
20. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
21. Who needs rhetorical questions?
22. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
Here’s a writing rule from Winston Churchill that I’ve always liked: “Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.”
How about you? Any favorite writing/grammar rules to share?