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Thursday, May 03, 2007

13 Grammar Rules Used by Moi

Rashenbo's Edition #20
05/03/2007
Ok, I admit to being busy and not thinking about this list as much as I thought about last week's list! So, I've snatched some of the "rules" or guidelines from some of my writing books.
1. If you can drop the clause and not lose the point of the sentence, use which. If you can't, use that. A which clause goes inside commas. A that clause doesn't.
2. If I... Add if and "I was taller" becomes "If I were taller." Hello subjunctive mood.
3. "Some writers and editors believe that if that can logically follow a verb, it should be there. Others believe that if that can logically be omitted, it should be taken out. If you like it, use it. If you don't, don't."
4. If you use while in place of although, be sure there's no chance it could be misunderstood to mean "during the time that."
5. Hyphenate most compoun adjectives that appear before a noun.
6. Most compound adverbs are spelled as two words.
7. Good is always an adjective: good bread; good vibrations; dinner was good. Don't use good as an adverb. Use well, an adverb meaning to perform capably.
8. Appositives are words that restate or identify a noun or pronoun. When appositives, are nonrestrictive, they are enclosed in commas.
9. The correct forms of the verb wake are wake, woke, and have waked. Past tense of related verbs, waken and awaken are have wakened or have awakened.
10. Who does something (it's a subject, like he), and whom has something done to it (it's an object, like him).
11. Myself and the rest of the self-ish crew (yourself, himself, herself, etc) shouldn't take the place of the ordinary pronouns I and me, she and her, and so on. They are used for only two purposes. 1. To emphasize. I made the cake myself. 2. To refer to the subject. The problem practically solved itself.
12. Dangling modifiers are similar to misplaced modifiers except that the modifier isn't just separated from the word it modifies; it is missing the word it modifies. The writer has the term being modified in mind - but not on paper.
13. Many wordy expressions make use of there is, there are, or it is. These constructions can often be eliminated. Example: There is a famous author who lives on my block. Vs. A famous author lives on my block.


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29 Comments:

Blogger Marcia said...

Your website looks different - did you change something? Either way, it is awesome. And your TT list was perfect, I had forgotten one of the rules. I'm saving it for future reminders!

1:14 PM  
Blogger Samantha Lucas said...

ugh, I'm currently in edits on three books. Every time I go through edits I swear I won't make the same mistakes again. Sometimes I do, but mostly its' just new ones. lol :)

1:20 PM  
Blogger mar said...

Thanks! English is not my first language so I am constantly learning :)
Happy TT!

1:21 PM  
Blogger Thomma Lyn said...

Great list of guidelines, Rashenbo! I'm juggling lots of things right now between first-draft writing and revisions, so a list like this is most appreciated.

Happy TT, and thanks for visiting mine! :)

1:26 PM  
Blogger Susan Helene Gottfried said...

What's funny is that I use most of these intuitively but couldn't spit back the rule if I tried.

I've given up on who/whom, though. On the advice of a fellow writer. I figure if he's gotten where he is, I'm following!

Happy TT, babe!

1:42 PM  
Blogger Ann(ie) said...

Rules? Isn't keeping track of that my editor's job? I thought I got paid to break them in really fun and exciting ways. *runs*

1:49 PM  
Blogger Rhonda Stapleton said...

YAY for grammar rules!!!! Nerd UP!!

1:50 PM  
Blogger impworks said...

And the most important rule of grammar is to know when to throw the rule book away for emphasis, effect or to connect with your audience.

(Sorry couldn't resist that comes from a handout from a writing course I went to a few years ago by a succesful published pro writer with forty years of being paid to write)

1:54 PM  
Blogger scooper said...

I love lists like this. I always focused on the interpretation aspect of writing papers while neglecting the technical aspect. I still managed to grad. as an english major but I know that the technical side is a work in progress.

1:58 PM  
Blogger Rhian / Crowwoman said...

this is great - a couple of TTs today have been timely since i'm going to revisit/rework my last story (thanks for pushing me Daisy if you pop by here)and this is exactly the kind of reminder i need to print and refer to.

2:00 PM  
Blogger Rashenbo said...

My technical writing skills are an area of weakness for me. I often mix myself up :)

Who/Whom has long gone for me as well. I don't even think about it anymore! :)

I also have a particular fondness for gerunds. They are always hanging around and adding unnecessary words to my ms.

2:23 PM  
Anonymous Joy T. said...

No wonder no one can understand me. I'm writing it all wrong! Great list.

2:28 PM  
Anonymous she said...

I used to do a lot of writing for a living (tech writing, content development, etc.) and I've always found it fascinating how I can butcher the English language when writing for fun (blogs, etc.) but get the grammar rules correct when I'm writing for a living. Odd, isn't it?

2:42 PM  
Blogger julia said...

I'm with Susan Helene Gottfried. I use grammar but don't put me to the test on it. It's become an intuitive thing. More like ann(ie)!

3:00 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Ditto Joy.

3:23 PM  
Blogger Janet said...

8 times out of 10 I know the correct words to use...but I'll be damned if I know the rules! Weird!

3:26 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Shirk said...

Ahhhh. Another useful TT. :) I knew there was a reason I came here. LOL!

4:04 PM  
Anonymous Christine said...

Pretty funny - my TT post this week has grammar and writing quotes.

I'm going to use your post as a reference.

Hope you're having a great Thursday.

5:14 PM  
Blogger MommyBa said...

Thanks for the heads up :)

Happy thursday!

5:19 PM  
Blogger Joely Sue Burkhart said...

Very, very useful! Thanks for sharing!

8:44 PM  
Anonymous damozel said...

This is a really good list because it explains the rules in functional terms. Thanks; I've had such a hard time explaining the that/which problem to students in my technical writing class.

11:38 PM  
Blogger Wylie Kinson said...

A print & keep list. Thanks, Rash!!

11:59 PM  
Anonymous Nicholas said...

An excellent list! Another rule people always forget (well I don't, and Damozel never does) is that prepositions always take the accusative case, not the nominative. So it's "between you and me" and "this belongs to my wife and me" etc. But most people use I.

4:12 AM  
Blogger Elle Fredrix said...

That's a great list!

Number 3 made me close my eyes and sigh. I was so wrapped up in the "that" rule for ages.

5:59 AM  
Blogger Daisy Dexter Dobbs said...

This is a great list. I was a weird kid because I always enjoyed learning about proper grammar. LOL I later worked as an editor for a number of years so I’m pretty comfortable with the rules but there are still a few things I struggle with. No matter how many times I look at my little message on the bulletin board explaining lie and lay, I still have to refer to it at times.

8:43 AM  
Blogger shelley said...

This is an awesome list. Grammar is a challenge for me at times.

2:19 PM  
Anonymous Sophisticated Writer said...

I'm sure your list will be needed when I start editing my current WIP (that is if I ever finish it).

Take care.

7:01 PM  
Blogger writtenwyrdd said...

Grammar refreshers are always good. Thanks. You've listed a few that I've not thought about for years!

8:44 PM  
Blogger Jeannine said...

This is a really great list of ruels, some of which I did not know myself. :-)

11:44 AM  

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