'Fumble Rules of Grammar'
New York Times Magazine
November 4, 1979
The following are intended to instruct as they entertain. In each case there is something terribly wrong -- can you tell?
1. Avoid run-on sentences they are hard to read.
2. Don't use no double negatives.
3. Use the semicolon properly, always where it is appropriate; and never where it isn't.
4. Reserve the apostrophe for it's proper use and omit it when its no needed.
5. Do not put statements in the negative form.
6. Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
7. No sentence fragments.
8. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
9. Avoid commas, that are not necessary.
10. If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
11. A writer must not shift your point of view.
12. Eschew dialect, irregardless.
13. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.
14. Don't over-use exclamation marks!!!!!
15. Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of ten or more words, to their antecedents.
16. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
17. Never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
18. Also, avoid awkward and affected alliteration.
19. Hyphenate between syllables and avoid unnecessary hypens.
20. Write all adverbial forms correct.
21. Don't use contractions in formal writing.
22. Writing carefully dangling participles must be avoided.
23. Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague, seek viable alternatives.