RULES OF GOOD WRITING AND SPEAKING

While cleaning out some old notebooks I found a class hand-out from my days at Ole Miss. I'm glad I hadn't lost it. I share it with you now.

  1. Don't use no double negatives.
  2. Make each pronoun agree with their antecedent.
  3. Join clauses good, like a conjunction should.
  4. About these sentence fragments.
  5. When dangling, watch your participle.
  6. Verbs has to agree with their subject.
  7. Just between you and I, run-on sentences they are hard to read sometimes don't you think? And you and me really know that we must make the objects of prepositions be objective, just as subjects of verbs must be subjective.
  8. Don't use commas, which aren't necessary.
  9. Try to not ever split infinitives.
  10. Its important to use your apostrophe's correctly, as all the Smith's know.
  11. Proofread your writing to see if you any words out.
  12. Correct speling is esential.
  13. Double subjects they are redundant and should be avoided.
  14. Placing a comma between a subject and predicate, is not correct.
  15. Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.
  16. Use a comma before non-restrictive clauses which are a common source of difficulty.
  17. In scholarly writing, don't use contractions.
  18. Avoid cliches like the plague.
  19. Parallel construction with co-ordinate conjunctions is not only an aid to clarity but also is the mark of a good writer.
  20. Mixed metaphors are a pain in the neck and should be thrown out with the bath water.
  21. A truly good writer is always especially careful to practically eliminate the very tiresome habit of too frequently using adverbs constantly and consistently.
  22. Being bad grammar, the writer will not use dangling participles.
  23. Do not use a foreign term when there is an adequate English quid pro quo.
  24. If you must use a foreign term, it is de rigor to use it correctly; to do otherwise is a compositional fox pas.
  25. It behooves the writer to avoid archaic expressions, firstly because it sounds affected to use them, and secondly because the reader or listener may not understand.
  26. Do not use hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it effectively.
  27. If you seen as many bad papers as I seen, you would not just let these lay on the page, but woud try hard to employ good grammar like I do.

RTJ--6/17/99

Arkansas Traveler's home page | Matters Literary