Presentation on theme: " Rules of standard English (subject-verb agreement; sentences have unsubordinated subject and main verb) Invented rules (don’t put a preposition at."— Presentation transcript:
Rules of standard English (subject-verb agreement; sentences have unsubordinated subject and main verb) Invented rules (don’t put a preposition at the end of a sentence)
Folklore Elegant options
When competent, published writers regularly violate the rule, and when careful readers don’t notice the violation or the non-violation, the rule is meaningless.
Don’t begin a sentence with “and” or “but” Inexperienced writers rely too heavily on “and” as a transition, but that doesn’t make “and” incorrect Don’t begin a sentence with “because.” Taught to students to help them avoid sentence fragments Williams says he tends to follow this rule even though because is not incorrect
Distinction between “that” and “which” Note that Williams says he does follow this rule but not because of correctness but because of style. Note that Williams says he breaks this rule when it sounds better to do so.
As the expenses are minor, we need not discuss them Since the expenses are minor, we need not discuss them. Because the expenses are minor, we need not discuss them. We need not discuss the expenses because they are minor.
Fewer and less Don’t use since for to mean because Notice Williams thinks since is a better choice than because at beginning of sentence He does note that “since” can be “weak” at end of sentence In an earlier edition he writes that “as” for causation is weak and we should use “since” instead.
Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Hobgoblin of little minds” Invented rules that have been enforced with particular zealotry (though they don’t interfere with clarity or grace).
Never use “like” for “as” or “as if” Don’t use “hopefully” to mean “I hope” Don’t use “finalize” to mean “finish” or “complete” Don’t use “impact” as a verb Don’t modify absolute adjectives like perfect, unique, final, complete (Williams actually thinks this is a good principle) Never use “irregardless “or “irrespective” (Williams says you have to follow this rule, no matter that it doesn’t make sense, or you will be judged)
What are some of the “rules” you have been taught (or have learned)
Both are invented rules. A careful reader WILL notice when a writer follows the “invented rules” that are elegant options (though not when the writer violates them). The reader will sense the extra care the writer has taken.
Don’t split infinitives “to boldly go” vs. “to go boldly” Use whom for object of preposition “Who do I give the letter to?” vs. “To whom do I give the letter.” Don’t end a sentence with a preposition See above. Use a singular verb with none and any. “Any are fine.” vs. “Any is fine.”
There are words that we use incorrectly (aggravate for annoy), and the definitions haven’t yet caught up. In 50 years, through constant misuse, the definition for “aggravate” may come to be “annoy,” but the dictionary definition of aggravate still, today, means “to make worse.” When you get them right, the reader will notice the special care you’ve taken.
Write two sentences for each assigned word. One sentence uses the word correctly. One sentence uses the word incorrectly.
You get no careful writer points for getting these correct and will be dinged for getting them wrong. Imply vs. infer Principle vs. principal Accept vs. except Capital vs. capitol Affect vs. effect Proceed vs. preceed Discrete vs. discreet