Rules for Writing – Not

Rules for Writing – Not
(from Midwest Writers, http://www.midwestwriters.org/
1. Verbs HAS to agree with their subjects.
2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences WITH.
3. AND don’t start a sentence with a conjunction.
4. It is wrong TO ever SPLIT an infinitive.
5. Avoid clichés like the plague. (They’re old hat).
6. Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.
7. Be more or less specific.
8. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.
9. Also, too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
10. No sentence fragments.
11. Contractions aren’t necessary and shouldn’t be used.
12. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
13. Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it’s highly
superfluous.
14. One should NEVER generalize.
15. Comparisons are as bad as clichés.
16. Don’t use no double negatives.
17. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
18. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
19. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
20. The passive voice is to be ignored.
21. Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary.
Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.
22. Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.
23. Kill all exclamation points!!!
24. Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
25. Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth earth shaking ideas.
26. Use the apostrophe in it’s proper place and omit it when its not needed.
27. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said,
“I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
28. If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times:
Resist hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it correctly.
29. Puns are for children, not groan readers.
30. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
31. Even IF a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
32. Who needs rhetorical questions?
33. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
And finally…
34. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
See the fun? What should the rules read like

Write On, Laugh On

Write On, Laugh On

HOW TO WRITE GOOD [sic]*
Thanks to: Chani Silverberg for this contributionMy several years in the word game have learnt [sic] me several rules:

1. Avoid alliteration. Always.
2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
3. Avoid cliches like the plague. (They’re old hat.)
4. Employ the vernacular.
5. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
6. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
7. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
8. Contractions aren’t necessary.
9. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
10. One should never generalize.
11. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said:
“I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
12. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
13. Don’t be redundant; don’t more use words than necessary;
it’s highly superfluous.
14. Profanity sucks.
15. Be more or less specific.
16. Understatement is always best.
17. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
18. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
19. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
20. The passive voice is to be avoided.
21. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
22. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
23. Who needs rhetorical questions?

*Note: [sic] or (sic) (from Latin sic for “thus”) is a bracketed expression used to indicate that an unusual spelling, phrase, or any other preceding quoted material is intended to be read or printed exactly as shown (rather than being an error) and should not be corrected…. from: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SIC

Tone and Audience Awareness

Tone and Audience Awareness

Don’t you take that tone with me, young lady!  How many times have we heard that expression in our daily lives?
We often consider the tone that we’re using when we speak to others, but we sometimes forget that our tone—our attitude towards the topic and/or reader—can also be pretty obvious when we write.
To understand the effect that tone can have on your writing, consider what might happen if we attempted to convey the same piece of information using these types of tone:

Casual Formal
Preachy Informative
Sarcastic Serious
Condescending Understanding

For Example: In 2003, the Supreme Court ruled that the University of Michigan could indeed use racial quotas as part of the law school admissions process.
Considering the previous eight examples of tone, see if you can identify the tone being used in each of the similar sentences below:

  1. Good luck trying to get into U of M’s law school if you’re not a minority in this country!
  2. Though the quota system at U of M may deter some white male applicants, it’s important to remember that race is only one factor in the lengthy admissions process.
  3. The university admissions staff appears to be unaware that our forefathers fought and died for equality within this nation—such deserved equality is not possible within the university’s prestigious law school.

How does tone relate to “audience awareness”?

One of the most important factors in determining the appropriate tone that you should use in your paper is an understanding of your audience.
To gain an understanding of your audience’s expectations, try asking yourself the following questions:

  • Is your audience familiar with the text/topic?
  • Are they educated?
  • What is their background?  (Where are they from?  What is their political affiliation?  What do they do for a living?)
  • How old are they?
  • Do they agree or disagree with your stance on the issue?

All of these factors influence how your audience will interpret the words on the page; therefore, they should influence your tone as you write them.
Remember!  Just as you might speak differently in front of the elderly than you might speak in front of your peers, you may have to adjust your tone and possibly the type of information you provide based on the type of audience you expect to read your essay.
If you’re not sure who your audience might be, be sure to check with your instructor!