47 RULES FOR WRITERS:
1. Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
(Remember, too, a preposition is a terrible word to end a sentence with)
3. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.
4. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
(Remember to never split an infinitive)
5. Be careful to use the rite homonym.
6. Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.
(Avoid alliteration. Always)
7. Be more or less specific.
8. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.
(Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary)
9. Employ the vernacular.
10. No sentence fragments.
11. Contractions aren't necessary and shouldn't be used.
(Contractions aren't necessary)
12. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
13. Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary;
it's highly superfluous.
(Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies)
14. One should NEVER generalize.
(One should never generalize)
15. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
16. Don't use no double negatives.
(Don't never use a double negation.)
17. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
18. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
19. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
20. The passive voice should never be used.
(The passive voice is to be ignored.)
21. Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical
words however should be enclosed in commas.
22. Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.
(Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.)
23. DO NOT use exclamation points and all caps to emphasize!!!
(Don't overuse exclamation marks!!)
24. Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
25. Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth
earth shaking ideas.
(Understatement is always best)
26. If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times:
Resist hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it
27. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
28. Use the apostrophe in it's proper place and omit it when
its not needed.
29. Puns are for children, not groan readers.
30. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
31. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
32. Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors
33. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "I hate
quotations. Tell me what you know."
34. Profanity sucks.
35. Do not put statements in the negative form.
36. capitalize every sentence and remember always end it with point
37. A writer must not shift your point of view.
38. Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long
sentences of 10 or more words, to their antecedents.
39. Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
40. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a
linking verb is.
41. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
42. Who needs rhetorical questions?
43. Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with
singular nouns in their writing.
44. Always pick on the correct idiom.
45. The adverb always follows the verb.
46. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
47. Avoid cliches like the plague (They're old hat).
(Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague; they're old hat; seek viable alternatives)
SOME NOTES from ON WRITING WELL, by William Zinsser
Aim for Simplicity "The secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components.
Every word that serves no function, every long word that could be a short word, every adverb that carries
the same meaning that's already in the verb, every passive construction that leaves the reader unsure of
who is doing what—these are the thousand and one adulterants that weaken the strength of a sentence."
Get Rid of Clutter! Why say "At this point in time,…." When you can simply say, "Now,…."
Avoid the Passive Voice: "Japan annexed Korea" has more punch than "Korea was annexed by
Use Adverbs and Adjectives Sparingly:
--Most adverbs are unnecessary: "He clenched his teeth tightly.
--And so are adjectives. "Like adverbs, they are sprinkled into sentences by writers who don't
stop to think that the concept is already in the noun."
--"Make adverbs and adjectives do work that needs to be done….If it's important to tell the reader
that a house was drab or a girl was beautiful, by all means use 'drab' and 'beautiful'."
Avoid Little Qualifiers like "a bit," "sort of," "quite".
Don't Use Exclamation Marks: they will make you sound immature!
Semicolons: Use them only with two closely related thoughts. "The semicolon is not meant ot bring the reader
to a halt; it is designed to make the reader pause."
Contractions: Don't use them in social science writing.
Keep Your Sentences Short: "If you find yourself hopelessly mired in a long sentence, It's probably
because you're trying to make the sentence do more than it can reasonably do—perhaps express two
dissimilar thoughts. The quickest way out is to break the long sentence into two short sentence, or even
three. There is no minimum length for a sentence that's acceptable in the eyes of God."
And Keep Your Paragraphs Short, Too: Paragraphs should be organized around a topic sentence,
and all other sentences in the paragraph should support that topic sentence. If your paragraphs run for
a page or more, you probably need to chop them up.
Writing in the First Person: Some scholars dislike it, but if it simplifies your writing, then by all
means do it. "It is the opinion of this author that…" sounds much clumsier than, "My opinion is that…"
Journalistic Questioning is a way of thinking of ideas. You need to ask these questions:
· Who - is doing this? - is going to do this? - did this?
· Why - are they doing it? are they going to do it? - did they do it?
· What - is it for? - will it be for? - was it for?
· Where - is it happening? - is it going to happen? - did it happen?
· To whom - is it happening? - is it going to happen? - did it happen?
· When - is it happening? - is it going to happen? - did it happen?
· How - are they doing it? - are they going to do it? - did they do it?
You can use this system of generating ideas to help you fill in mind-maps. You can also use brainstorming.