Information Sheet #26
April 1, 1989
THE FUMBLE RULES OF GRAMMAR
In November, 1984, when the faculty decided to institute the New Curriculum, the adopted guidelines included a statement directing the writing subcommittee to examine "the possibility of adopting a common style manual for use in writing emphasis courses" (page C-14). The Writing Center is pleased to offer the following set of grammar rules as an essential first step in creating this manual. Since this document is an obvious candidate for replacing Strunk & White's Elements of Style, we welcome nay suggestions for additions, deletions, or clarifications.
- Remember to never, even if it seems absolutely necessary, split an infinitive.
- The passive voice should never be used unless it is permitted.
- Avoid run-on sentences they are hard to read.
- Don't use no double negatives.
- Use the semicolon properly, always use it when it is appropriate; and never when it isn't.
- Reserve the apostrophe for it's proper use and omit it when its not needed.
- Do not put statements in the negative form.
- Verbs, even when there are words in between, has to agree with their subjects.
- No sentence fragments.
- Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
- Never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
- Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.
- "Avoid overuse of 'quotation "marks."'"
- Avoid commas, that are unnecessary.
- If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a great deal of repetition and misteaks can be avoided by rereading and editing.
- A writer must not shift your point of view.
- Eschew dialect irregardless of where you're coming from.
- When you are writing a paper that is important to you, be sure to hyphenate betw-een syllables and avoid un-necessary hyphens.
- Write all adverbial forms correct.
- Don't use contractions in formal writing.
- Writing carefully, dangling participles will be avoided.
- It is incumbent on you to avoid archaisms.
- Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
- If a dependent clause precedes an independent clause put a comma after the dependent clause.
- Avoid colloquial stuff.
- Always pick on the correct idiom.
- Don't string too many prepositional phrases together unless you are walking at night through the valley of the shadow of death without a flashlight in your hand.
- Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
- Avoid mixed metaphors because a phrase worth its weight in gold is better than two in the bush.
- De-accession euphemisms.
- Unqualified superlatives are the worst of all.
- Steer clear of incorrect forms of verbs that have snuck in the language.
- And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.
- And don't overuse exclamation marks!!!!
- And last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague; seek viable alternatives.
This website created and maintained by the Coe Writing Center. Copyright 2001.
Email Dr. Bob Marrs with any questions, comments or suggestions.