Monday, May 2, 2011

William Safire's Rules for Writers

The late William Safire was a presidential speechwriter, political columnist, and wordsmith. As a wordsmith, he understood the need for flexibility and creativity in writing. Here are his tongue-in-cheek rules for writers:

  • Remember to never split an infinitive.
  • The passive voice should never be used.
  • Do not put statements in the negative form.
  • Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
  • Proofread carefully to see if you words out.
  • If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be by rereading and editing.
  • A writer must not shift your point of view.
  • And don't start a sentence with a conjunction. (Remember, too, a preposition is a terrible word to end a sentence with.)
  • Don't overuse exclamation marks!!
  • Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents.
  • Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
  • If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
  • Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.
  • Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
  • Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.
  • Always pick on the correct idiom.
  • The adverb always follows the verb.
  • Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague; seek viable alternatives.

(ljs)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_skills/2011/05/william-safires-rules-for-writers.html

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