Off topic: How to write good...
Thread poster: RominaZ

RominaZ  Identity Verified
Argentina
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Aug 14, 2014

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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. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.

5. One should never generalize.

6. Comparisons are as bad as clichés.

7. Be more or less specific.

8. Sentence fragments? Eliminate.

9. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

10. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.

11. Who needs rhetorical questions?


(originally shared in Writers' Coffeehouse https://plus.google.com/communities/117848944661787705117)


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Eric Zink  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:24
Member (2012)
German to English
ending with prepositions Aug 14, 2014

Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.

(attributed, as far as I know, to Winston Churchill)


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Tanja 1
Germany
Local time: 01:24
German to English
+ ...
How to write good - comment Aug 14, 2014

Hi Eric,

you wrote:

"Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.

(attributed, as far as I know, to Winston Churchill) "

Can you give some example sentences?

Thank you very much.

Tanja


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The Misha
Local time: 19:24
Russian to English
+ ...
Says who? Aug 14, 2014

Folks that spend their time in coffee houses instead of actually writing?

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Eric Zink  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:24
Member (2012)
German to English
And... Aug 14, 2014

The other one of those I like to cite is from Bill Bryson (in "Troublesome Words"):

"The belief that 'and' should not be used to begin a sentence is without foundation. And that's all there is to it."

[Edited at 2014-08-14 15:51 GMT]


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Thomas Pfann  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:24
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Another quote Aug 14, 2014

As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: "I hate quotation. Tell me what you know."

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:24
Spanish to English
+ ...
Not serious Aug 14, 2014

My intial reaction was WTF??!!.... then it took me a couple of minutes to realise that it's a joke and the recommendations are tongue in cheek.

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:24
Spanish to English
+ ...
Ubiquity Aug 14, 2014

Tanja 1 wrote:

Can you give some example sentences?

Thank you very much.

Tanja


If you're looking for sentences that end in a preposition in English, you don't have to look very far. "What are you looking at?" is one example.
"Sometimes I wonder who I'm working for" is another.


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 01:24
Italian to English
The old ones are still the best Aug 14, 2014

neilmac wrote:

Tanja 1 wrote:

Can you give some example sentences?

Thank you very much.

Tanja


If you're looking for sentences that end in a preposition in English, you don't have to look very far. "What are you looking at?" is one example.
"Sometimes I wonder who I'm working for" is another.



There's always the classic child's bedtime complaint, "What did you bring that book I didn't want to be read to out of up for?"

And number eight on the list isn't so much a fragment as a Dalek-like holophrase (Exterminate!).


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Eric Zink  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:24
Member (2012)
German to English
examples Aug 14, 2014

The "up with which I will not put" is of course a silly variation of a sentence that normally ends with the preposition "with" (it would normally be "... I will not put up with."

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Suzan Hamer  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:24
English
+ ...
Or as William Safire wrote: Aug 15, 2014

"Do not put statements in the negative form.
And don't start sentences with a conjunction.
If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a
great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
Unqualified superlatives are the worst of all.
De-accession euphemisms.
If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
Last, but not least, avoid cliches like the plague."
(William Safire, Great Rules of Writing )

And from the sublime? to the ridiculous:

"I won't not use no double negatives."
(Bart Simpson)

[As posted under the Personal tab on my profile, along with other quotations about writing, translation, life, death and other stuff: http://www.proz.com/?sp=profile&sp_mode=personal&eid_s=142037 ]


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Sarah Lewis-Morgan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:24
Member (2014)
German to English
Most interesting use of the reflexive pronoun I have seen yet Aug 15, 2014

I am in the process of trying to renew my UK passport which I need in Germany, where I live, as I don't have German citizenship or, therefore, ID. Since I have to carry my passport at all times (and am well aware of the current delays in passport renewals) I sent photocopies of every page, together with an explanation, with my application. Today I received an email from the UKPO. It reads:

"Dear Ms Lewis-Morgan

I am currently dealing with your passport application.

Unfortunately you failed to submit all necessary supporting documents.

Could you please forward myself your previous passport to the address below."

The temptation to reply that this is physically impossible was great.


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Tanja 1
Germany
Local time: 01:24
German to English
+ ...
Thank you Aug 15, 2014

Thank you very much for the examples.

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 01:24
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
It was up with pedantry Churchill would not put Aug 15, 2014

Eric Zink wrote:

Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.

(attributed, as far as I know, to Winston Churchill)


At the risk of sounding pedantic myself, my apologies, but I think it was the other way around.

' ... the Oxford Companion to the English Language (no edition cited) states that the original was “This is the sort of bloody nonsense up with which I will not put.” To me this sounds more likely, and eagerness to avoid the offensive word “bloody” would help to explain the proliferation of variations. '

https://public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/churchill.html

That was certainly the story I used to console a colleague when a non-English client criticised her IMHO impeccable and sometimes brilliant English - she was a Dane, but I learnt a lot from her!


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