Thursday, February 26, 2015

Wrules to Liv By


1. Verbs HAS to agree with their subjects.
2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
3. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.
4. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
5. Avoid cliches like the plague. (They're old hat.)
6. Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.
7. Be more or less specific.
8. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.
9. Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
10. No sentence fragments.
11. Contractions aren't necessary and shouldn't be used.
12. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
13. Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.
14. One should NEVER generalize.
15. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
16. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
17. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
18. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
19. The passive voice is to be ignored.
20. Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.
21. Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.
22. Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
23. Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth earth-shaking ideas.
24. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."
25. 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.
26. Puns are for children, not groan readers.
27. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
28. Even IF a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
29. Who needs rhetorical questions?
30. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
31. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

Author brilliant and, alas, anonymous. Copy this one and post it over your desk.


  1. I'm good at the second one. I like to end sentences with a preposition.

    Morgan Mandel

  2. Morgan - I like to end sentences with a proposition. ;-)

    If exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement, I'd be out of a job:

  3. Great post...laughed AND learned all at once. I, too, am a fan of ending a sentence with a preposition.

  4. I just came across this, and had to share it with my English teachers. We've got writing assessments next week and they're starting to pull their hair out!

  5. Funny lines. Isn't it neat how we can learn so much through humor.

  6. Always nice to start the day with a smile.

  7. Stop please! I couldn't make it past 6. LOL.

  8. Geez ... I think someone found my 11th grade English notebook.

  9. This definitely needs to hang next to my computer. :-)


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice.