How to Write More Goodly


I took this list off of several websites (you can find many of them scattered about the internet).  They weren’t all identical, however.  I have consolidated these lists into one and I am actively searching for more of these ironical statements of improving ones writing. I find it both educational and humorous.  Enjoy…

How to Write More Goodly

(Largely taken from William Safire’s Rules for Writers,

with amendments compiled from numerous websites)

  1. Always avoid annoying alliteration.
  2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
  3. Avoid clichés like the plague.
  4. Employ the vernacular.
  5. Avoid ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
  6. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
  7. Parenthetical words however must be enclosed in commas.
  8. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
  9. Contractions aren’t necessary.
  10. Do not use more words, phrases, sentences, or other linguistic elements than you, yourself, actually really and definitely need to use or employ when expressing yourself or otherwise giving voice to what you may or may not be thinking, such as when you are trying to say how many words you should use or not use when using words.
  11. Do not use a foreign word when there is an adequate English quid pro quo.
  12. One should never generalize.
  13. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
  14. Puns are for children, not groan readers.
  15. Comparisons are as bad as clichés.
  16. Similes are like comparisons.
  17. Slang sucks.
  18. Profanity is always fucking inappropriate.
  19. Damned curses are just as bad.
  20. Don’t be redundant; don’t use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.
  21. Don’t repeat yourself, or say again what you have said before.
  22. It behooves you to avoid archaic expressions.
  23. Avoid archaeic spellings, too.
  24. Just as uncoöperative are those who use archaic accentuation.
  25. Never mix langues.
  26. Understatement is always best.
  27. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
  28. Unqualified superlatives are the worst of all.
  29. No matter how retarded your readers are, you cannot persuade them by insulting them or soliciting negative reactions directed at the writer. You’re stupid if you do this.
  30. One-word sentences? Eliminate. Always!
  31. People who write goodly don’t make up their own words or meanings to established words, even if it sounds right and passes spell check.
  32. Their is no reason to confuse one word for those of similar pronunciation. If you can’t tell the difference than check the dictionary.
  33. And it’s also unacceptable to start sentences with conjunctions.
  34. End sentences with their proper punctuation mark?
  35. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake – there shouldn’t be any.
  36. The passive voice should not be used.
  37. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
  38. Who needs rhetorical questions?
  39. Don’t use commas, that, are not, necessary.
  40. Do not use hyperbole; not one in a million can do it effectively.
  41. Never use a big word when a diminutive alternative would suffice.
  42. Subject and verb always has to agree.
  43. Be more or less specific.
  44. Placing a comma between subject and predicate, is not correct.
  45. By rearranging fragments, you can avoid the use of commas.
  46. Use youre spell chekker to avoid mispeling and to catch typograhpical errers.
  47. Texturing your font emphasizes words and ideas. Don’t unnecessarily emphasize or emphasize the wrong points.
  48. Don’t repeat yourself, or say again what you have said before.
  49. Don’t be redundant.
  50. Use the apostrophe in it’s proper place and omit it when its not needed.
  51. Don’t never use no double negatives.
  52. Poof read carefully to see if you any words out.
  53. Hopefully, you will use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
  54. Eschew obfuscation.
  55. No sentence fragments.
  56. Don’t indulge in sesquipedalian lexicological constructions.
  57. A writer must not shift your point of view.
  58. Don’t overuse exclamation marks!!
  59. Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents.
  60. 0 sentences should ever begin with a numeral.
  61. Just between you and i, case is important.
  62. Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
  63. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
  64. Don’t use difficult-to-read fonts or switch fonts in the middle of your text.
  65. Eschew from using abstruse words when their commonly recognized synonyms reach a wider audience.
  66. When writing persuasively, don’t provide reasons to your reader to doubt your own argument. It makes no sense to undermine your own work by neutralizing your own essay with self-criticism. That’s just how I see it though, I could be wrong.
  67. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
  68. Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.
  69. Always pick on the correct idiom.
  70. The adverb always follows the verb.
  71. Um, don’t use interjections.
  72. Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.
  73. If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be by rereading and editing.
  74. Don’t use run-on sentences, which are commonly used literary devices, in some cases going so far as to take up very large spaces such as an entire paragraph, continuing on for a very long while without any sign of a exclamation point, question mark, or even a simple period to close it off and begin a new sentence, usually containing a large mass of commas and occasionally semicolons in their places, and going very far on beyond any point of real usefulness, and then some, continuing much further than needed, which is like this entire paragraph for the reason that there are no full stops.
  75. Introduce them specifically at their earliest instance so that your readers know what your subject is.
  76. Don’t use font that is too small to read
  77. Or so large that it’s obnoxious.
  78. When writing formally, it’s probably better to state facts and certainties rather than probabilities.
  79. I also believe you should leave the pronoun “I” and any personal opinions out of your text, at least in formal writing.
  80. Avoid extreme historical examples to make your points, no matter how convincing. Hitler was quite persuasive. You don’t want to be a Hitler, do you? Use realistic evidence.
  81. Always be sure to finish what
  82. Verify your information. You don’t want to look foolish like George Washington did in his letter to Abraham Lincoln, in which he unknowingly proposed war tactics based on the theories of pacifist farmers.
  83. Factitious script might beguile thine elocutionists. Thus eschew from inordinately elegiac script.
  84. You must of realized by now that expanded contractions should be expanded correctly.
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