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How to write good (part two)

02/08/2012

Well, that proved to be popular. As I wrote yesterday, William Safire developed his 1979 (that’s a date, by the way, not a number!) rules for writers into a book, Fumblerules: A Lighthearted Guide to Grammar and Good Usage, from which these further examples are taken:

1. Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
2. Employ the vernacular.
3. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
4. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
5. Contractions aren’t necessary.
6. Foreign words and phrases are not à propos.
7. One should never generalize.
8. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
9. Comparisons are as bad as clichés.
10. Don’t be redundant; don’t use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.
11. Be more or less specific.
12. Understatement is always best.
13. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
14. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
15. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
16. Who needs rhetorical questions?
17. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
18. capitalize every sentence and remember always end it with a point

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