Wednesday, 18 February 2004

Style Guide

Here is a selection from an advice list for journalists that circulates in the United States. Its origin is unknown, but the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist William Safire certainly contributed to it.

1...Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
2...Prepositions are not good 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 clichés like the plague.
6...Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.
7...Be more or less specific.
8...Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.
No sentence fragments.
10..Contractions aren’t necessary and shouldn’t be used.
11..One should never generalise.
13..Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
14..Eliminate commas, that are not necessary.
15..Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.
16..Kill all exclamation marks!!!
17..Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
18..Use the apostrophe in it’s proper place and omit it when its not needed.
19..Puns are for children, not groan readers.
20..Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
21..Also, if you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
22..A writer must not shift your point of view.
23..The passive voice should rarely be used.
24..Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents.
25..Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
26..If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
27..Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.
28..Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
29..Always pick on the correct idiom.

And here is another of my own:
30..Quotations should be both correctly attributed and apt, or, as Goethe put it, “Während des Aufenthaltes in den Stationen ist die Benützung des Abortes nicht gestattet.”

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