It’s Christmas. Or nearly. What with all that gift shopping, turkey stuffing and holly wreath making, I’m guessing you don’t have a lot of time for reading e-zines.
So this month, I thought I’d keep it short with a few thoughts on how to write better. (More betterer?). OK. Here goes…
- To intentionally split an infinitive is a bad idea.
- A preposition is never the right word to end a sentence with.
- And you should never start a sentence with a conjunction.
- Make sure your verbs agrees with your subjects.
- If you start in one tense you should finished in it too.
- The active voice should be used wherever possible.
- If you’re, like, writing for a younger audience, yeah, you so don’t want to use teen slang.
- Short sentences, with their simple syntax, are always, or, at any rate, mostly, preferable to their longer cousins, where meaning can be submerged in a sea of dependent clauses (and parenthetical expressions).
- Latin should be persona non grata in copywriting.
- Avoid exclamation marks!!!
- Treat abstract nouns with a high degree of suspicion.
- S entences. Verbs. Need each other? Not always.
- Utilising jargon facilitates sub-optimal responsiveness.
- Always cheek your smelling.
- Some contractions ain’t right for formal writing.
- If you mix your metaphors you could be riding a runaway train down a slippery slope.
- Don’t use negative language.
- It’s OK to turn nouns into verbs if you can shoulder the burden.
- Never use a long word when a short one will accomplish the same objective.
- Always use the right number of dots for ellipsis………………
- Give your sentence more impact by putting the strongest word at the end of it.
*With acknowledgements to William Safire, American author, columnist, journalist and presidential speechwriter, 1929-2009