Apostate Café

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William Safire Rules of Writing

William Safire Rules of Writing
By William Safire

- Remember to never split an infinitive. - The passive voice should never be used. - Do not put statements in the negative form. - Verbs have to agree with their subjects. - Proofread carefully to see if you words out. - If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing. - A writer must not shift your point of view. - And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction. (Remember, too, a preposition is a terrible word to end a sentence with.) - Don’t overuse exclamation marks!! - Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more, to their antecedents. - Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided. - If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is. - Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors. - Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky. - Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing. - Always pick on the correct idiom. - The adverb always follows the verb. - Unqualified superlatives are the worst of all. - Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do. - Never, ever use repetitive redundancies. - Also, avoid awkward or affected alliteration. - Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague; seek viable alternatives. This essay was written by William Safire