A Handy Checklist for Writers
In his book Brain Train: Studying for Success (London: E & FN Spon, 1996), 164, Richard Palmer offers great insights on how to study... and enjoy it. One example of the information he delivers is this memorable list of Rules of Grammar for Report Writing:
- Remember to never split an infinitive.
- The passive voice should never be used.
- Punctuate run-on sentences properly they are hard to read otherwise.
- Don't use no double negatives.
- Use the semi-colon properly, always use it where it is appropriate; and never where it isn't.
- Reserve the apostrophe for it's proper use and omit it when its not needed.
- Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
- No sentence fragments.
- Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
- Avoid commas, that are not necessary.
- If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a lot of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
- A writer must not shift your point of view.
- Give slang the elbow.
- Conversely, it is incumbent upon us to avoid archaisms.
- Don't overuse exclamation marks!!!!
- Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 onwards or more, to their antecedents.
- Hyphenate between sy-llables; avoid un-necessary hyphens.
- Write all adverbial forms correct.
- Writing carefully: dangling participles must be avoided.
- Steer clear of incorrect forms of verbs that have snuck in the language.
- Take the bull by the hand: always pick on the correct idiom and avoid mixed metaphors.
- Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
- Never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
- Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.
- If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times, resist hyperbole.
- Also, avoid awkward or affected alliteration.
- Don't string together too many prepositional phrases unless you are walking through the valley of the shadow of death.
- ""Avoid overuse of quotation marks.""""
- For Christ's sake don't offend your readers' sensibilities.
- Last but not least, avoid clichés like the plague; seek viable alternatives.
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