Write Better

Posted by M ws On Tuesday, March 27, 2012 2 comments
This post is specially for my A-level students and IB students who will be sitting for their exams in May.

1. Avoid alliteration.

2. Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do. In my classes, I remind students to say the most in the fewest possible words.

3. Know the parts of speech and use each correctly.

4. Avoid fallacies.

5. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.

6. Never split an infinitive.

7. Avoid contractions.

8. Never use 'will' unless you know for sure it will happen.

9. Never generalize.

10. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."

11. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.

12. Don't be superfluous.

13. Be specific.

14. Understatement is always best.

15. One-word sentences? Eliminate.

16. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.

17. Avoid the passive voice.

18. Avoid colloquialisms.

19. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.

20. Who needs rhetorical questions?

21. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

22. Never use double negatives.

23. Capitalize every sentence and remember always end it with a full stop.

24. Do not put statements in the negative form.

25. Verbs have to agree with their subjects.

26. Proofread carefully.

27. Avoid repetition by rereading and editing.

28. A writer must not shift your point of view.

29. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.

30. Never end with a preposition.

31. Don't overuse exclamation marks.

32. Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.

33. Never end a sentence with a verb.

34. Avoid mixing metaphors.

35. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.

36. Indefinite pronouns and uncountable nouns use singular verbs.

37. Use the correct idiom.

38. Remember the 5C's of writing - concreteness, conciseness, correctness, clarity and coherence.

39. Remember your topic/thesis statements and supporting statements.

40. Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague. Seek viable alternatives.

K.I.S.S. Keep it short and simple.

Good luck!

2 comments to Write Better

  1. says:

    cin2tan A level = HSC kah !? wow, i sat on ...oops...for it in 1969 BUT hard luck i dapat saja 3 sub. Kalau you jadi guru ku BAIK lah. SIGHS !

  1. says:

    masterwordsmith Dear cin2tan

    Those days, standards were higher!!!

    Sighs. If only you knew the standards now, you would probably feel like a professor!


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