On good writing

While loitering along bookcases in a library, I found their new copy of “Business writing for Dummies”. As a writer, translator, copy editor, proof reader, I always cart off such books. You never know how they may ameliorate your writing and improve your skills.

I read a lot of tricks. I found some useful advice. I came across a lot of mistakes I make. I’m going to hand this book in today. If you’re a member of the same lib, it should be back on its shelve in a few hours. Search for it and cart it off home as well.

Chapter 5 contained a list I simply can’t refuse sharing with you. The original list of rules was on a bulletin board at the “Denver’s Rocky Mountain News”. The list exists in several versions now. Here’s the “Business writing for Dummies” version:

1. Don’t use no double negatives.
2. Make each pronoun agree with their antecedent.
3. Join clauses good, like a conjunction should.
4. About them sentence fragments. (I’m good at this one)
5. When dangling, watch your participle.
6. Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
7. Just between you and I, case is important too.
8. Don’t write run-on sentences they are hard to read.
(If you read my posts regularly, you know I excel in this one)
9. Don’t use commas, which aren’t necessary.
10. Try to not ever split infinitives.
11. It’s important to use your apostrophe’s correctly.
12. Proofread your writing to see if you any words out.
(Always use the WordPress proof reader!)
13. Correct speling is essential!
(See remark at 12)
14. Avoid unnecessary redundancy.
15. Be more or less specific.
16. Avoid clichés like the plague.

Any of the above you excel in?
If you can’t find “Business Writing for Dummies”, just reread “Eats, shoots and leaves.”

“Business Writing for Dummies”, Natalie Canavor, 370 pp, John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2013.
“Eats, shoots and leaves”, Lynne Truss, first published in 2003. Available as hard cover, paperback, children’s edition, game.


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