file this under: why didn’t I think of it?

There is nothing more effective than a point made simply. Reminder to self: show, don’t tell.

I stole this right off Rob’s Megaphone. Blatantly brilliant, this is:

1. The passive voice should not be used.

2. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.

3. Don’t repeat yourself, or say again what you have said before.

4. Who needs rhetorical questions?

5. Don’t use commas, that, are not, necessary.

6. Do not use hyperbole; not one in a million can do it effectively.

7. Never use a big word when a diminutive alternative would suffice.

8. Subject and verb always has to agree.

9. Be more or less specific.

10. Placing a comma between subject and predicate, is not correct.


could use a laugh

Garrison Keillor, a contributing writer for Salon, is one of the funniest people around, and today he takes on spelling, the financial meldown, and, well, various other issues in his brief column. Is it the grammatically-challenged who will eventually bring us to an apocalyptic end? Keillor makes a convincing-enough argument. And he certainly makes me laugh.

go get ’em Grammar Girl!

Mignon Fogarty, Grammar Girl, can be found at She provides quick tips to aid English speaking natives and second language learners alike, in ways that make grammar interesting and memorable. She refers to herself as our friendly guide to the writing world, and as such she encourages us to take our lessons either by the written word or by listening to a podcast, or both. In fact, for her downloadable podcasts, she has been awarded Best Education Podcasts in both 2006 and 2007.

One of the most common grammar dilemmas regards the use of affect or effect. Fogarty claims that 95% of the time affect is a verb, and effect is a noun. We’ve all heard this before, but it is still difficult to remember. Grammar Girl provides both a mnemonic and an illustration to help imprint it on our minds: Arrows affect (verb) the aardvark, while the effect (noun) was eyepopping.

This is one upbeat, preppy grammarian!