Known as the master wordsmith, William Safire died last week. He was a former speech writer for Richard Nixon, and author of the New York Times column, “On Language”
Some of his clever “rules for writers” included:
- If any word is improper at the end of sentence, a linking verb is.
- Verbs have to agree with their subjects.
- And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction.
- Proof read carefully to see if you words out.
- Remember to never split an infinitive.
- Do not put statements in the negative form.
- If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
- The passive voice should never be used.
- Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents.
- Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
- Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.
- Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague.