Leading by example: Write good

1.  Always avoid alliteration.

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.  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 a foreign word when there is an adequate English quid pro quo.


About robertstevenson

Dr. Robert Stevenson is a Professor of Journalism and Director of Student Publications for the Department of Mass Communications and Theater at Lander University in Greenwood, SC. He received the Distinguished Faculty of the Year award for 2007-'08, and the Lander University Young Faculty Scholar Award in 2005-06. Stevenson also serves as chair of the Lander University American Democracy Project. First and Formost I am a dad of two wonderful boys.
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2 Responses to Leading by example: Write good

  1. Lisa says:

    This is very cute. I laughed on every one. As a writer, I’m amazed how many of those I see in my writing and in others. Thanks for the heads up.


  2. inklesstales says:

    Contractions ain’t all bad.
    There are times, in some forms of writing — particularly less formal writing, as in blogging — when avoiding contractions can add a stiffness to writing that would benefit from a more conversational feel.
    For example:
    I wanted to tell my boss to go suck an egg, but I did not.
    I wanted to tell my boss to go suck and egg, but didn’t.
    Contractions sometimes sound more natural in some writing. As you point out later, sounding natural is best. Furthermore, you correctly point out, generalizations are to be avoided. While you are correct in saying better writing means fewer contractions, there are times that once you know the rules, you’ll know when to “break” them.
    By the way: this is a terrific blog. You’re a wonderful resource for any writing teacher. I’ve taught journalism at the college level, and I only WISH you’d started this blog while I taught. I would have sent all my students here. You’re funny and smart. Great job.
    -Elizabeth Williams Bushey, Inkless Tales
    http://www.inklesstales.com: A web site for kids, offering poems, stories, games and more. Endorsed by the American Library Association, the Internet Public Library, the Encyclopedia Britannica, and Reading Is Fundamental (RIF).

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