A chit's yearly list of nonsense

5 Writing Tips from The Elements of Style

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Gearing up for NaNoWriMo has had me rediscovering some of the gems on my bookshelf. I grabbed the manual by Strunk & White off my shelf and here are a few tips I got from it.

Do not break sentences in two

Sometimes all you need is a comma.

Example from The Elements of Style:

I met them on a Cunard liner many years ago. Coming home from Liverpool to New York.

I met them on a Cunard liner many years ago, coming home from Liverpool to New York.

You can ignore this in dialogue especially when the character is a choppy talker.

Hyphen

Used when two words are combined to form a compound adjective.

I’ve always had trouble with this one. Is it never-ending or neverending?

The book says not to use hyphens when the words are written better as one and that many words evolve from two words then hyphenated and finally one. Wonder if the words signed a prenup? Example: bed chamber, bed-chamber, bedchamber.

Among. Between.

Among is when two or more persons are involved but between is when two or more are involved individually.

Among: “The money was divided among four players.”
Between: “an agreement between the six heirs”

What about amongst? I use that one a lot but think that is a whole other kettle of tea. Maybe green with hints of jasmine. But that is another issue entirely.

Ah-ha check out this post by the Grammar Girl who explains among, between, and even amongst.

Care less

“I could care less.” Is that really what you’re saying you care about something but you could care even less about it?

Nope.

“I couldn’t care less.” This is what you should be saying while reading this post!

Personally

Personally, I love using the expression but Strunk & White say it is often unnecessary.

I love using the expression but Strunk & White say it is often unnecessary.


Get more tips by picking up The Elements of Style. I grabbed my copy, the illustrated version, on Amazon.

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