How to Write Good – the definitive guide

March 6, 2014   Tags: , , , , 🕑 2 minutes read

If you were always wondering how to break the rules of grammar, spelling and common sense, here’s your chance. These are the top 34 rules a good writer can break, with full explanations why not to do so.

1. Avoid utilizing sesquipedalian terminology at junctures where the vernacular suffices.

2. Prepositions should not be used to end sentences with.

3. Keep exclamation marks to a minimum! Please!

4. Too many commas, even when correctly used, should be, avoided, like, the plague.

5. Avoid clichés and all that jazz, even if you think they’re the cat’s meow. Avoid them like the plague, too.

Keep exclamation marks to a minimum! Please!6. Exaggeration is a gazillion times worse than clichés.

7. Incomplete comparisons are worst.

Eight. Be consistent.

9. No sentences without verbs.

10. Or sentence fragments.

11. Be more or less specific, especially about some things.

12. Never use absolutes. You will be proven wrong every time.

13. As for the apostrophe, it’s use should be only when its appropriate.

14. Chek yur spellling.

15. The passive voice should be avoided at all costs, at least as much as absolutes and clichés.

16. Double-check that you have not out an important word.

17. People should double-cheque there homonyms when they right.

18. Be careful to not split any infinitives.

Avoid hyperbole;  it will blow  your text to bits. 19. Avoid redundancy and repetition, as well as redundancy and padding, especially padding by filling your text to the brim with extra, redundant clichés. Just don’t repeat yourself or say something you’ve already said. Avoid redundancy.

20. Don’t use contractions. Or colloquialisms. They’re both sucky.

21. People should use plural pronouns in his writing, except when they is just one persons.

22. Always specify if a character is a man or woman; most people are.

23. People should also make sure that the subject and verb agrees.

24. Avoid hyperbole; it will blow your text to bits.

25. And do you think your readers really want to put up with rhetorical questions?

26. Mixed metaphors suck the life out of a refreshing breeze.

27. You might not confuse similar words, but you may do it anyway. The fewer time you spend checking, the less mistakes you’ll catch.

Mixed metaphors suck the life out of a  refreshing breeze.28. Don’t be someone whom confuses subject and object.

29. Never don’t use double negatives.

30. You should literally never misuse a word.

31. End sentences with a period

32. Remember that Only proper nouns Should be capitalized.


34. If you break any of these rules, all hell will break loose. Especially the rules about clichés and hyperbole.

If you like these rules, please share this article. If you like breaking these rules, have fun sharing this article. If there is a rule for how to “write good” that I accidentally failed to break, please add it in below. I would hate to avoid breaking a perfectly good rule.

About David Leonhardt

David Leonhardt is President of The Happy Guy Marketing, a published author, a "Distinguished Toastmaster", a former consumer advocate, a social media addict and experienced with media relations and government reports.

Read more about David Leonhardt

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  1. Heather Lemieux says:
    at 8:41 pm

    Hi David,

    Entertaining & unique way of writing the example within the rule!

    Thanks : )

  2. Kaloyan Banev says:
    at 11:31 am

    No doubt, Dave. Though I have to say that majority of guides that I am seeing online – especially on blogs and forums are incomplete or most of the time extremely misleading.

  3. Roy A Ackerman PhD EA says:
    at 11:47 am

    I love ’em all (see I broke one already)- but 9 and 10 serve valuable purposes and can/should be used when they truly add to the understanding.

  4. Martin says:
    at 9:44 am

    As they say “show, don’t tell”. But I do find a combination of both, like these examples, to be the most effective.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

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