Tuesday, September 29, 2009

William Safire's Rules for Writers:

  • Remember to never split an infinitive.
  • The passive voice should never be used.
  • Do not put statements in the negative form.
  • Verbs have 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 by rereading and editing.
  • A writer must not shift your point of view.
  • And don't start a sentence with a conjunction. (Remember, too, a preposition is a terrible word to end a sentence with.)
  • Don't overuse exclamation marks!!
  • 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.
  • If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
  • Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.
  • Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
  • Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.
  • Always pick on the correct idiom.
  • The adverb always follows the verb.
  • Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague; seek viable alternatives.


  1. Его выгнали из колледжа. Недоучка.

  2. Вроде так можно понять, что не выгнали, а сам ушёл, когда на работу в газету завербовался. И уж зла на указанный колледж (Syracuse) точно не держал - trustee, spoke at commencements, etc.

  3. First Bill Buckley now Bill Safire. Two of the few remaining intelligent conservatives within the space of so short at time. The voices of reason within the conservative movement are dwindling by the day.

    My left-leaning ways notwithstanding, although I did not agree with him much of the time, when William Safire spoke, I listened.

    Meanwhile the movement that the two men were so identified with - the movement they both tried to save from the kooks, criminals and fools who have hijacked it - continues to implode.

    Isn't life wonderful?


    Tom Degan
    Goshen, NY

  4. Tom, welcome and thank you for sharing your views. If you don't mind me asking, I wonder, are you also able to read the Russian part of this blog?

  5. Hi there and thank you. Nice site you have here. Although I see the Russian script, unfortunately I am unable to read it. Maybe someday. It's never too late to read anything!

    All the best,

    Tom Degan

  6. Thank you for your kind words! It is really a shame you can't read Russian. If you could, I am sure you would be amazed at how closely your sentiments dovetail with prevailing opinions over here.

    I will try to post in English once in a while. Thank you again for visiting and I hope to see more of your incisive comments on these pages.