Welcome to the website woven for wordaholics, logolepts, and verbivores. Carnivores eat meat; herbivores eat plants and vegetables; verbivores devour words. If you are heels over head (as well as head over heels) in love with words, tarry here a while to graze or, perhaps, feast on the English language. Ours is the only language in which you drive in a parkway and park in a driveway and your nose can run and your feet can smell.

Richard Lederer

 

One of the popular items that circulate through the internet is a bubble-off-plumb set of rules along the lines of “Thimk,” “We Never Make Misteaks,” and “Plan Ahe . . .” — injunctions that call attention to the very mistakes they seek to enjoin. I’ve been collecting such items for half a century and, celebrating my 400th column in this space, I am pleased to share here the best ones. Whatever you think of these slightly cracked nuggets of rhetorical wisdom, just remember that all generalizations are bad.

  1. Each pronoun should agree with their antecedent.
  2. Between you and I, pronoun case is important.
  3. A writer must be sure to avoid using sexist pronouns in his writing.
  4. Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
  5. Don’t be a person whom people realize confuses who and whom.
  6. Never use no double negatives.
  7. Never use a preposition to end a sentence with.
  8. When writing, participles must not be dangled.
  9. Be careful to never, under any circumstances, split infinitives.
  10. Hopefully, you won’t float your adverbs.
  11. A writer must not shift your point of view..
  12. Lay down and die before using a transitive verb without an object.
  13. Join clauses good, like a conjunction should.
  14. The passive voice should be avoided.
  15. About sentence fragments.
  16. Don’t verb nouns.
  17. In letters themes reports and ad copy use commas to separate items in a series.
  18. Don’t use commas, that aren’t necessary.
  19. “Don’t overuse ‘quotation marks.'”
  20. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (if the truth be told) superfluous.
  21. Contractions won’t, don’t, and can’t help your writing voice.
  22. Don’t write run-on sentences they are hard to read.
  23. Don’t forget to use end punctuation
  24. Its important to use apostrophe’s in the right places.
  25. Don’t abbrev.
  26. Don’t overuse exclamation marks!!!
  27. Resist Unnecessary Capitalization.
  28. Avoid mispellings.
  29. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
  30. One-word sentences? Never.
  31. Avoid annoying, affected, and awkward alliteration, always.
  32. When writing, never, ever use repetitive redundancies that are superfluous and not needed.
  33. The bottom line is to bag trendy locutions that sound flaky.
  34. By observing the distinctions between adjectives and adverbs, you will treat your readers real good.
  35. Parallel structure will help you in writing more effective sentences and to express yourself more gracefully.
  36. In my own personal opinion at this point of time, I think that authors, when they are writing, should not get into the habit of making use of too many unnecessary words that they don’t really need.
  37. Foreign words and phrases are the reader’s bête noire and are not apropos.
  38. Who needs rhetorical questions?
  39. Always go in search for the correct idiom.
  40. Do not cast statements in the negative form.
  41. So don’t start sentences with coordinating conjunctions.
  42. Avoid mixed metaphors. They will kindle a flood of confusion in your readers.
  43. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
  44. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
  45. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
  46. Be more or less specific.
  47. If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times, exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement, which is always best.
  48. Never use a big word when you can utilize a diminutive word.
  49. Profanity sucks.
  50. Last but not least, bend over backward to avoid old-hat clichés like the plague.