Chicago Manual of Style, Grammar, Grammar Pet Peeves, Mignon Fogarty, writers, writing, Writing Advice, writing tips
Together we are slashing needless words and weak verbs. I thought we should lighten the load by throwing in some amusing takes on grammar rules. Because they are priceless, I will give it to you in two blog posts.
High school was eons ago, and although I was in Honors English, Mr. Julian Julian (yup, that was his name) didn’t make me diagram a single sentence. When editing my book I decided I should bone-up on “passive voice” and “split infinitives” (still not sure what the heck that is). I referred to serious tomes such as The Chicago Manual of Style, as well as the breezy and insanely popular Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing by Mignon Fogarty. I also turned to our friend Mr. Google because he knows everything.
I thought I found the definitive site for all things grammar at curiouser.co.uk. When I read down the list, I was chuckling by the fourth “Rule” and gaffawing by “Rule” seven. You will see what I mean.
For those of us who cringe when we hear a preposition at the end of a sentence, this list is like fingernails on a chalkboard.
Oops, I broke the “Rule” about not using clichés.
Oops, I broke the “Rule” about one-word sentences. So sorry again!
Rules for Writers
- Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
- Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
- And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction.
- It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
- Avoid clichés like the plague. (They’re old hat.)
- Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.
- Be more or less specific.
- Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.
- Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
- No sentence fragments.
- Contractions aren’t necessary and shouldn’t be used.
- Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
- Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.
- One should NEVER generalize.
- Comparisons are as bad as clichés.
- Don’t use no double negatives.
- Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
- One-word sentences? Eliminate.
- Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
- The passive voice is to be ignored.
- Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.
- Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.
- DO NOT use exclamation points and all caps to emphasize!!!
- Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
- Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth earth shaking ideas.
- Use the apostrophe in it’s proper place and omit it when its not needed.
- Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
Thank you to Jenni Larsen for submitting these rules to curiouser.co.uk.