Fumblerules


What on earth  is a fumblerule? Let me give you one before I tell you.  ‘Avoid cliches like the plague.’ Want one more? What about this one?  ‘Don’t use no double negatives. ‘

I’m sure you’ve got it. :) A fumblerule is a rule that breaks itself; mistakes that call attention to the rule. William Safire wrote a book in which he compiled a vast number of them. Here’s an amusing list of some which you may like to work through with your children if you homeschool – a fun way to look at common grammatical errors.

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    • Make sure each pronoun agrees with their antecedent.
    • Never use a preposition to end a sentence with.
    • Just between you and I, the case of pronoun is important.
    • Watch out for irregular verbs which have crope into English.
    • Verbs has to agree in number with their subjects.
    • Don’t use no double negatives.
    • Being bad grammar, a writer should not use dangling modifiers.
    • Join clauses good like a conjunction should.
    • Eschew obfuscation.
    • A writer must be not shift your point of view.
    • About sentence fragments.
    • Don’t use run-on sentences you got to punctuate them.
    • In letters essays and reports use commas to separate items in series.
    • Don’t use commas, which are not necessary.
    • Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.
    • Its important to use apostrophes right in everybodys writing.
    • Don’t abbrev.
    • Check to see if you any words out.
    • In the case of a report, check to see that jargonwise, it’s A-OK.
    • As far as incomplete constructions, they are wrong.
    • About repetition, the repetition of a word might be real effective repetition – take, for instance the repetition of Abraham Lincoln.
    • In my opinion, I think that an author when he is writing should definitely not get into the habit of making use of too many unnecessary words that he does not really need in order to put his message across.
    • Use parallel construction not only to be concise but also clarify.
    • It behooves us all to avoid archaic expressions.
    • Mixed metaphors are a pain in the neck and ought to be weeded out.
    • Consult the dictionery to avoid mispelings.
    • To ignorantly split an infinitive is a practice to religiously avoid.
    • Last but not least, lay off cliches.
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One response to “Fumblerules”:

  1. Here’s another one I read in the Readers’ Digest: Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do. Fun!

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