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Grammar Guide

Rules of Thumb (Review)

Helpful Grammar Tips

The Rules of Writing


Rules of Thumb, A Guide for Writers, Fourth Edition

Jay Silverman, Elaine Hughes, and Diana Roberts Wienbroer


Genre: Reference

Format: [Insert Format]

Age Range: 16 and Up

ISBN: 0075619571

Pages: N/A

Pub. Date: September 1998

Illustrator: None

Publisher: The McGraw-Hill Companies


Rules of Thumb is a great reference for parents when helping their children with reports or with their own writing.  I found the Third Edition to be helpful in college.


Helpful Grammar Tips

1.        Place a comma before F A N B O Y S (For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, and So).

2.      When typing, leave one space after commas and semicolons.

3.      While typing, leave two spaces after periods, colons, question marks, and exclamation points.

4.      Bibliography Example:

Pinkney, Andrea Davis.  Dear Benjamin Banneker.  New York:  Harcourt Brace & Company, 1994.

The Rules of Writing

1.      Verbs HAVE 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.

34.  Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

  1999-2005 Doug's Reading Corner, All Rights Reserved

1999-2005 Doug's Reading Corner, All Rights Reserved