William (Bill) Safire wrote for the New York Time from 1973 until 2009, the year of his death. His began his career with the Times as a political writer with a regular column. He retired from his political writing in 2005. When the announcement was made, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., publisher of the Times said “The New York Times without Bill Safire is all but unimaginable.”
While Safire retired his polictical column, he continued to write his second column, conceived in 1979, called “On Language.” His final column was posted the month of his death in 2009. One of his early columns assembled a list of rules for writers, in which he purposefully breaks every rule; I regularly break them too but with less intention. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
- Proofread carefully to see if you words out.
- If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
- Eschew dialect, irregardless.
- Never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
- Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
- Be more or less specific.
- Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
- Who needs rhetorical questions?
- Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
There are a total of 54 rules. Read the rest at the source link.
- via Lists of Note