Simple grammar guidelines

Simple grammar guidelines

Grammar is easy. Just follow a few silly simple rules.

  • Don’t use no double negatives.
  • Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
  • Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixed metaphors.
  • If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times — resist hyperbole.
  • “Avoid overuse of ‘quotation “marks'”
  • Avoid commas, that are not necessary.
  • If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
  • Avoid clich├ęs like the plague.
  • Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
  • Avoid colloquial stuff.

Maybe you have to be a language lover to really appreciate these, but they always make me smile.

This list was compiled and edited by William Safire, based on suggestions from his NY Times readers. Safire, who died two months ago, was quite a character: college dropout, one-time Public Relations executive, long-time New York Times political columnist and frequent contributor to On Language in the Times Magazine. He was also a speechwriter for Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew, and authored Agnew’s famous phrase, “nattering nabobs of negativism.”

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