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HOW (NOT) TO SPEAK ENGLISH PROPERLY

(largely stolen from William Safire and then elaborated upon anonymously)
  1. A writer must not shift your point of view.
  2. Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
  3. Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.
  4. Always pick on the correct idiom.
  5. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
  6. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.
  7. Avoid clichés like the plague. (They're old hat)
  8. Be more or less specific.
  9. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
  10. Contractions aren't necessary and shouldn't be used.
  11. Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.
  12. Don’t over-use exclamation points!!!!!
  13. Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.
  14. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."
  15. Employ the vernacular.
  16. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
  17. Even IF a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
  18. Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.
  19. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than under-statement.
  20. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
  21. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
  22. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
  23. If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
  24. .If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times: Resist hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it correctly.
  25. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
  26. Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.
  27. No sentence fragments.
  28. One should NEVER generalize.
  29. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
  30. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.
  31. Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents.
  32. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
  33. Puns are for children, not groan readers.
  34. Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.
  35. The adverb always follows the verb.
  36. The passive voice is to be ignored.
  37. Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth earth-shaking ideas.
  38. Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
  39. Who needs rhetorical questions?
  40. Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
  41. Verbs HAS to agree with their subjects.

    And the last one...

  42. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

Laugh at MORE EXAMPLES OF BAD WRITING


Reasons to Hate the English Language
President George W. Bush mangles speech.
Medical malpractice is wrought upon the English language.
Newspaper headlines and classified ads prove journalists can't write English well, either.
Had fun? Let Ms. Nitpicker entertain you with more educational entries on grammar and writing.

Copyright © 1999 - 2013, Jane A. Leavell. All rights reserved.