Monday, October 26, 2009

Grammer Police

After struggling with the Laws of of English Grammar for several years, in the Seventh Grade, I finally declared war on the Prophets Wrenn and Martin. Which explains why I never quite got down to mastering the difference between a simple clause and a compound one, and have remained ever ignorant about participles, subjects and conjugates (even thinking of these words is like walking through minefields in the memory).

Which is why, I was really happy to receive these 31 very simple rules that I had to follow to ensure that everything I churned out was grammatically correct.

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.

And the last one...

31. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

Which of these rules do you always follow. Which ones do you never follow?


M.J. Nicholls said...

These laws are brilliant. I remember reading them online a few years ago and fainting with pleasure at their wisdom.

Thanks for the refresher!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I love these!

I break most of them, though, regularly. I love punning titles, employ fragments religiously, and start with conjunctions during dialogue. But I think we have to KNOW the rules to choose to break them.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Anonymous said...

Fantastic! Hubby and I laughed like crazy.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I tweeted this, btw, and it looks like it's getting picked up in a lot of different streams as retweets. Hope it brings you some new visitors.


dipali said...

Very nice!

Anonymous said...

Hilarious - and true!

I love punny titles though!

Cruella Collett said...

I love this!!! And I notice that I (frequently), though occasionally deliberately (like a million bulls in a china shop) break most of them. A lot.


Watery Tart said...

LOVE this list, Natasha!

Funny. I have the no contractions thing down from my professional writing, and had to go in and ADD a bunch to my dialog in CONFLUENCE to make it more realistic.

(and I like exaggeration to give a feel for the character and how they perceive.)

Tundiel said...

Hahaha, I think I break most of these on a day to day basis. *rolls eyes* Very amusing list, Natasha!

Jan Morrison said...

Well, why weed words when weary? Let readers (those that can) find there way thru the thicket of incomplete notions and dusty derangements. Go forth and walk there!

Elspeth Antonelli said...

I love this list; it's useful and funny at the same time. Thanks!


Lisa said...

These are fantastic! I must send this link all my writer friends.

Anonymous said...

I want this (or at least some of them ) on a T-shirt.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

Brilliant, aren't they? Like Niranjana, I would like many of them on a t-shirt!

And Elizabeth - thanks for the tweet - my counter statistics has jumped through the ceiling!


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