• Twenty-Three Rules of Effective Writing to Consider

    by  • December 2, 2011 • On Communications Tools and Tactics

    We have always liked (but not always agreed with) these 23 rules of good writing by Frank Visco in “How To Write Good”:

    1. Avoid alliteration. Always.
    2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
    3. Avoid clichés like the plague. (They’re old hat.)
    4. Employ the vernacular.
    5. Eschew obfuscation.
    6. Don’t use ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
    7. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
    8. Contractions aren’t necessary.
    9. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
    10. One should never generalize.
    11. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
    12. Comparisons are as bad as clichés.
    13. Don’t be redundant. Don’t use more words than necessary. It’s highly superfluous.
    14. Profanity sucks.
    15. Be more or less specific.
    16. Understatement is always the best.
    17. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
    18. One-word sentences. Eliminate!
    19. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
    20. The passive voice is to be avoided.
    21. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
    22. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
    23. Who needs rhetorical questions?