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The Elements of Style
N EW YORK 1918
P REFACE I I NTRODUCTORY
1 3 3 4 4 6 7 8 9 10 13 13 15 18 20 21 23 24 25 27 28 31 35 45
II E LEMENTARY RULES OF
1. Form the possessive singular of nouns with ’s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2. In a series of three or more terms with a single conjunction, use a comma after each term except the last . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3. Enclose parenthetic expressions between commas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4. Place a comma before and or but introducing an independent clause . . . . . . . 5. Do not join independent clauses by a comma . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6. Do not break sentences in two . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7. A participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence must refer to the grammatical subject . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8. Divide words at line-ends, in accordance with their formation and pronunciation .
III E LEMENTARY PRINCIPLES
9. Make the paragraph the unit of composition: one paragraph to each topic . . . . 10. As a rule, begin each paragraph with a topic sentence; end it in conformity with the beginning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11. Use the active voice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12. Put statements in positive form . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13. Omit needless words . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14. Avoid a succession of loose sentences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15. Express co-ordinate ideas in similar form . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16. Keep related words together . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17. In summaries, keep to one tense . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18. Place the emphatic words of a sentence at the end . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
FEW MATTERS OF FORM AND EXPRESSIONS COMMONLY MISUSED OFTEN MISSPELLED
V W ORDS VI W ORDS
Asserting that one must ﬁrst know the rules to break them, this classic reference is a must-have for any student and conscientious writer. Intended for use in which the practice of composition is combined with the study of literature, it gives in brief space the principal requirements of plain English style and concentrates attention on the rules of usage and principles of composition most commonly violated.
iv PREFACE .
English Usage (Scott. students proﬁt most by individual instruction based on the problems of their own work. The Art of Writing (Putnams). T. Howard Collins. James P. George McLane Wood has kindly consented to the inclusion under Rule 11 of some material from his Suggestions to Authors. Horace Hart.Chapter I I NTRODUCTORY This book is intended for use in English courses in which the practice of composition is combined with the study of literature. the rules of usage and principles of composition most commonly violated.). Manual of Style. Author and Printer (Henry Frowde). Chicago University Press. Mr. Foresman and Co. especially the chapter. De Vinne. Brown and Co. It aims to lighten the task of instructor and student by concentrating attention (in Chapters II and III) on a few essentials. Workmanship in Words (Little.). The book covers only a small portion of the ﬁeld of English style. which he prefers to that offered by any textbook. Interlude on Jargon. Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch. Suggestions to Authors (United States Geological Survey). The writer’s colleagues in the Department of English in Cornell University have greatly helped him in the preparation of his manuscript. in connection with Chapters III and V. Correct Composition (The Century Company). Extracts from the Style-Book of the Government Printing Ofﬁce (United States Geological Survey). It aims to give in brief space the principal requirements of plain English style. L. F. Kelly. John Leslie Hall. The following books are recommended for reference or further study: in connection with Chapters II and IV. Rules for Compositors and Printers (Oxford University Press). The numbers of the sections may be used as references in correcting manuscript. 1 . but the experience of its writer has been that once past the essentials. and that each instructor has his own body of theory. George McLane Wood. George McLane Wood.
2 CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTORY It is an old observation that the best writers sometimes disregard the rules of rhetoric. Unless he is certain of doing as well. attained at the cost of the violation. When they do so. the reader will usually ﬁnd in the sentence some compensating merit. for the secrets of style. by their guidance. however. After he has learned. to the study of the masters of literature. to write plain English adequate for everyday uses. let him look. . he will probably do best to follow the rules.
the possessive Jesus’. yours. theirs.Chapter II E LEMENTARY RULES OF USAGE 1. Moses’ laws. for righteousness’ sake. Thus write. and oneself have no apostrophe. Exceptions are the possessives of ancient proper names in -es and -is. Form the possessive singular of nouns with ’s Follow this rule whatever the ﬁnal consonant. and such forms as for conscience’ sake. Charles’s friend Burns’s poems the witch’s malice This is the usage of the United States Government Printing Ofﬁce and of the Oxford University Press. 3 . But such forms as Achilles’ heel. Isis’ temple are commonly replaced by the heel of Achilles the laws of Moses the temple of Isis The pronominal possessives hers. its.
is or is not parenthetic. . is to travel on foot. In a series of three or more terms with a single conjunction. but headstrong He opened the letter. is now in perfect health. Shipley and Company The abbreviation etc.4 CHAPTER II. This rule is difﬁcult to apply. unless you are pressed for time. and blue honest. as Brown. 3. This is also the usage of the Government Printing Ofﬁce and of the Oxford University Press. or a brief phrase. it is frequently hard to decide whether a single word. red. use a comma after each term except the last Thus write. is always preceded by a comma. Colonel Nelson paid us a visit yesterday. is indefensible. If the interruption to the ﬂow of the sentence is but slight. ELEMENTARY RULES OF USAGE 2. energetic. white. In the names of business ﬁrms the last comma is omitted. even if only a single term comes before it. Enclose parenthetic expressions between commas The best way to see a country. But whether the interruption be slight or considerable.. read it and made a note of its contents. he must never omit one comma and leave the other. Such punctuation as Marjorie’s husband. My brother you will be pleased to hear. such as however. the writer may safely omit the commas.
and where are non-restrictive. Unlike those above. In this sentence the relative clause restricts the application of the word candidate to a single person. and jr.5 Non-restrictive relative clauses are. At that time Corsica had but recently been acquired by France. Nether Stowey. Similar clauses introduced by where and when are similarly punctuated. Corsica had but recently been acquired by France. Restrictive relative clauses are not set off by commas. the sentence cannot be split into two independent statements. Later it became more and more interested. and except at the end of a sentence. . they do not limit the application of the words on which they depend. are always preceded by a comma. followed by one. Napoleon was born in 1769. The audience was at ﬁrst indifferent. became more and more interested. when Napoleon was born. which had at ﬁrst been indifferent. The candidate who best meets these requirements will obtain the place. In 1769. is a few miles from Bridgewater. Nether Stowey is only a few miles from Bridgewater. parenthetically. Coleridge wrote The Rime of the Ancient Mariner at Nether Stowey. set off by commas. In these sentences the clauses introduced by which. but add. statements supplementing those in the principal clauses. The audience. Each sentence is a combination of two statments which might have been made independently. when. in accordance with this rule. The abbreviations etc. where Coleridge wrote The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
The situation is perilous. and unaware that we had learned of his treachery. 6. 7.6 CHAPTER II. Used between independent clauses. there is still one chance of escape. . and. and the story of its ﬁrst years can no longer be reconstructed. Further. the story of its ﬁrst years can no longer be reconstructed. He saw us coming. place the ﬁrst comma before the conjunction. there is still one chance of escape. the relation is that of cause and result. ELEMENTARY RULES OF USAGE Similar in principle to the enclosing of parenthetic expressions between commas is the setting off by commas of phrases or dependent clauses preceding or following the main clause of a sentence. Although the situation is perilous. 4. isolated from their context. Place a comma before and or but introducing an independent clause The early records of the city have disappeared. it indicates only that a relation exists between them without deﬁning that relation. is the least speciﬁc of connectives. but there is still one chance of escape. Or the subordinate clauses might be replaced by phrases: Owing to the disappearance of the early records of the city. greeted us with a smile. The sentences quoted in this section and under Rules 4. 5. Sentences of this type. In this perilous situation. may seem to be in need of rewriting. If a parenthetic expression is preceded by a conjunction. The two sentences might be rewritten: As the early records of the city have disappeared. the story of its ﬁrst years can no longer be reconstructed. not after it. 16. the second clause has the appearance of an after-thought. In the example above. As they make complete sense when the comma is reached. and 18 should afford sufﬁcient guidance.
the proper mark of punctuation is a semicolon. Two-part sentences of which the second member is introduced by as (in the sense of because). loose sentences of the type ﬁrst quoted are common in easy. They are full of exciting adventures. no comma is needed after the conjunction. or. there is still one chance of escape. but if we are prepared to act promptly. Stevenson’s romances are entertaining. grammatically complete and not joined by a conjunction. are to form a single compound sentence. . Consequently. for they are full of exciting adventures. We cannot reach town before dark. precedes the second independent clause. For two-part sentences connected by an adverb. replacing the semicolons by periods. and while (in the sense of and at the same time) likewise require a comma before the conjunction. nor. Stevenson’s romances are entertaining. the proper mark is a comma (Rule 4). But a writer should be careful not to construct too many of his sentences after this pattern (see Rule 14). Stevenson’s romances are entertaining. we cannot reach town before dark. If a dependent clause. It is nearly half past ﬁve. It is of course equally correct to write the above as two sentences each. see the next section. It is nearly half past ﬁve. and an occasional loose sentence prevents the style from becoming too formal and gives the reader a certain relief. If a conjunction is inserted. Do not join independent clauses by a comma If two or more clauses. for. unstudied writing. or an introductory phrase requiring to be set off by a comma.7 But a writer may err by making his sentences too uniformly compact and periodic. they are full of exciting adventures. The situation is perilous. 5.
and lived in half a dozen countries. God disposes. Note that if the second clause is preceded by an adverb. in writing. I had difﬁculty in ﬁnding my way about. it is best. there is danger that the writer who uses it at all may use it too often. Do not break sentences in two In other words. however.8 CHAPTER II. so. a comma is usually permissible: Man proposes. ELEMENTARY RULES OF USAGE It is nearly half past ﬁve. to avoid using so in this manner. The gate swung apart. In general. usually serviceable. I met them on a Cunard liner several years ago. A simple correction. so I had difﬁculty in ﬁnding my way about. I had never been in the place before. besides. the semicolon is still required. and not by a conjunction. the portcullis was drawn up. If the clauses are very short. A man who had traveled all over the world. and begin the ﬁrst clause with as: As I had never been in the place before. the ﬁrst period should be replaced by a comma. He was an interesting talker. and we cannot reach town before dark. then. the bridge fell. do not use periods for commas. Coming home from Liverpool to New York. or thus. and are alike in form. such as accordingly. In both these examples. . and the following word begun with a small letter. 6. is to omit the word so. therefore.
nouns in apposition. A participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence must refer to the grammatical subject Walking slowly down the road. adjectives. they should be so thoroughly mastered that their application becomes second nature. he was entrusted with the defence of the city. his friends met him at the station. be certain that the emphasis is warranted. the temptation proved irresistible. Without a friend to counsel him. No reply. A soldier of proved valor. I thought the task easy. If the writer wishes to make it refer to the woman. Participial phrases preceded by a conjunction or by a preposition. 5. his friends met him at the station. Without a friend to counsel him. On his arrival) in Chicago. . 4. accompanied by two children. he found the temptation irresistible. he saw a woman accompanied by two children. walking slowly down the road. he must recast the sentence: He saw a woman. and that he will not be suspected of a mere blunder in punctuation. A soldier of proved valor. the task seemed easy to me.9 It is permissible to make an emphatic word or expression serve the purpose of a sentence and to punctuate it accordingly: Again and again he called out. Young and inexperienced. they entrusted him with the defence of the city. 7. not to the woman. When he arrived (or. Rules 3. however. Young and inexperienced. and 6 cover the most important principles in the punctuation of ordinary sentences. and adjective phrases come under the same rule if they begin the sentence. The word walking refers to the subject of the sentence. On arriving in Chicago. The writer must.
or cutting off only two letters of a long word. No hard and fast rule for all words can be laid down. unless this involves cutting off only a single letter.10 CHAPTER II. I was able to buy the house very cheap. Being in a dilapidated condition. The principles most frequently applicable are: A. 8. Divide words at line-ends. Divide the word according to its formation: know-ledge (not knowl-edge) Shake-speare (not Shakes-peare) de-scribe (not des-cribe) atmo-sphere (not atmos-phere) B. Divide between double letters. unless they come at the end of the simple form of the word: Apen-nines refer-ring Cincin-nati tell-ing The treatment of consonants in combination is best shown from examples: . ELEMENTARY RULES OF USAGE Sentences violating this rule are often ludicrous. in accordance with their formation and pronunciation If there is room at the end of a line for one or more syllables of a word. Divide “on the vowel:” edi-ble (not ed-ible) ordi-nary reli-gious regu-lar deco-rative propo-sition espe-cial oppo-nents classi-ﬁ-ca-tion sions possible) presi-dent (three divi- C. divide the word. but not for the whole word.
11 for-tune presump-tuous sub-stan-tial (either division) instruc-tion incen-diary pic-ture illus-tration indus-try sug-ges-tion The student will do well to examine the syllable-division in a number of pages of any carefully printed book. .
ELEMENTARY RULES OF USAGE .12 CHAPTER II.
Account of the work. a brief summary of a literary work. For example. a short notice of a book or poem might consist of a single paragraph. Ordinarily. a narrative merely outlining an action. Make the paragraph the unit of composition: one paragraph to each topic If the subject on which you are writing is of slight extent. any one of these is best written in a single paragraph. a brief account of a single incident. The extent of subdivision will vary with the length of the composition.Chapter III E LEMENTARY COMPOSITION PRINCIPLES OF 9. each of which should be made the subject of a paragraph. Critical discussion. the setting forth of a single idea. 13 . of course. however. a subject requires subdivision into topics. Thus a brief description. it should be examined to see whether subdivision will not improve it. One slightly longer might consist of two paragraphs: A. or if you intend to treat it very brieﬂy. After the paragraph has been written. B. to aid the reader. there may be no need of subdividing it into topics. The beginning of each paragraph is a signal to him that a new step in the development of the subject has been reached. The object of treating each topic in a paragraph by itself is.
might consist of seven paragraphs: A. For what chieﬂy remarkable. E. Plot. C. Paragraph D would indicate the leading ideas and show how they are made prominent. As a rule. What led up to the event. Subject. Wherein characteristic of the writer. A historical event might be discussed under the heads: A.14 CHAPTER III. paragraph C would indicate the actual or imagined circumstances of the poem (the situation). Characters. ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION A report on a poem. The application of this rule. What the event led up to. the writer would probably ﬁnd it necessary to subdivide one or more of the topics here given. each speech. If the poem is a narrative in the third person throughout. Relationship to other works. single sentences should not be written or printed as paragraphs. Setting. paragraph C need contain no more than a concise summary of the action. that is. C. metrical form. In treating either of these last two subjects. when . In dialogue. D. even if only a single word. C. Treatment of subject. An exception may be made of sentences of transition. G. Account of the event. F. indicating the relation between the parts of an exposition or argument. a new paragraph begins with each change of speaker. D. B. is a paragraph by itself. The contents of paragraphs C and D would vary with the poem. Facts of composition and publication. B. Kind of poem. Usually. if these call for explanation. written for a class in literature. B. and would then state the subject and outline its development. or would indicate what points in the narrative are chieﬂy emphasized. Purpose. A novel might be discussed under the heads: A.
may need to be expressed. a walking tour should be gone upon alone. by denying the converse. or even in pairs. He may make the meaning of the topic sentence clearer by restating it in other forms. for the same reason) in the topic sentence. the most generally useful kind of paragraph. B. Sometimes. the topic sentence comes at or near the beginning. . or its function as a part of the whole. or he may develop it by showing its implications and consequences. 2 The meaning made clearer by denial of the contrary. is that in which A. by giving illustrations or speciﬁc instances. its relation to what precedes. however. If the paragraph forms part of a larger composition. If more than one such sentence is required. begin each paragraph with a topic sentence. This can sometimes be done by a mere word or phrase (again. For this reason. In a long paragraph. the ﬁnal sentence either emphasizes the thought of the topic sentence or states some important consequence. particularly in exposition and argument. he may carry out several of these processes. 2 If you go in a company. or with an unimportant detail. it is something else and more in the nature of a picnic. it is expedient to precede the topic sentence by one or more sentences of introduction or transition. relate the body of the paragraph to the topic sentence in one or more of several different ways. As a rule.15 dialogue and narrative are combined. as indicated above. and C. it is no longer a walking tour in anything but name. it is generally better to set apart the transitional sentences as a separate paragraph. the succeeding sentences explain or establish or develop the statement made in the topic sentence. 10. and to retain the purpose in mind as he ends it. Ending with a digression. he may. end it in conformity with the beginning Again. the object is to aid the reader. The practice here recommended enables him to discover the purpose of each paragraph as he begins to read it. 1 Topic sentence. he may establish it by proofs. by deﬁning its terms. therefore. 1 Now. to be properly enjoyed. According to the writer’s purpose. is particularly to be avoided. is best learned from examples in well-printed works of ﬁction.
that begins in a sort of dazzle and sluggishness of the brain. 9 And so long as a man is reasoning he cannot surrender himself to that ﬁne intoxication that comes of much motion in the open air. 3 The topic sentence repeated. in paraphrase. in language ampliﬁed and heightened to form a strong conclusion. and follow this way or that. 9 Final statement of the fourth reason. of the quotation from Hazlitt. Stevenson. . to jar on the meditative silence of the morning. in abridged form. “of walking and talking at the same time. the meaning of the third (“you must have your own pace”) made clearer by denying the converse. 8 Repetition. 4 A fourth reason. nor mince in time with a girl. as the freak takes you. and because you must have your own pace. stated in still another form. 4 And you must be open to all impressions and let your thoughts take colour from what you see. which is the gist of all that can be said upon the matter. because freedom is of the essence. I wish to vegetate like the country.” says Hazlitt. 5 You should be as a pipe for any wind to play upon. 6 “I cannot see the wit.” 7 When I am in the country. and neither trot alongside a champion walker. stated in two forms. because you should be able to stop and go on. ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION 3 A walking tour should be gone upon alone.16 CHAPTER III. Walking Tours. and supported by three reasons. 8 There should be no cackle of voices at your elbow. 6-7 The same reason as stated by Hazlitt. and ends in a peace that passes comprehension. 5 The same reason.
and of art. 5 They looked especially in history for the chain of causes and effects. . The Political Value of History. 5 The deﬁnition supplemented: another element in the new conception of history. and modiﬁcation of political constitutions. 4 They sought rather to write a history of peoples than a history of kings. 6 They undertook to study in the past the physiology of nations. and hoped by applying the experimental method on a large scale to deduce some lessons of real value about the conditions on which the welfare of society mainly depend. of industry. of intellect. the rise. all the conditions of national wellbeing became the subjects of their works. 1 Topic sentence. 2 Historians then came to believe that their task was not so much to paint a picture as to solve a problem. to explain or illustrate the successive phases of national growth. 4 The deﬁnition explained by contrast. -Lecky. 6 Conclusion: an important consequence of the new conception of history. prosperity. the dominant ideas that prevailed in successive periods.17 1 It was chieﬂy in the eighteenth century that a very different conception of history grew up. 2 The meaning of the topic sentence made clearer. in a word. the changes that take place in manners or beliefs. the new conception of history deﬁned. 3 The deﬁnition expanded. 3 The history of morals. fall. and adversity.
however. if too often used. would become a mannerism. More commonly the opening sentence simply indicates by its subject with what the paragraph is to be principally concerned. ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION In narration and description the paragraph sometimes begins with a concise. 11. and less concise. But this device. The break between them serves the purpose of a rhetorical pause.18 CHAPTER III. less bold. He picked up the heavy lamp from the table and began to explore. are often without even this semblance of a topic sentence. The campaign opened with a series of reverses. The breeze served us admirably. throwing into prominence some detail of the action. and they emerged on the roof. .” My ﬁrst visit to Boston will always be remembered. The next ten or twelve pages were ﬁlled with a curious set of entries. If the writer tries to make it more concise by omitting “by me. Another ﬂight of steps. This is much better than My ﬁrst visit to Boston will always be remembered by me. The brief paragraphs of animated narrative. At length I thought I might return towards the stockade. comprehensive statement serving to hold together the details that follow. Use the active voice The active voice is usually more direct and vigorous than the passive: I shall always remember my ﬁrst visit to Boston. The latter sentence is less direct.
or the world at large. that will always remember this visit? This rule does not. makes for forcible writing. This is true not only in narrative principally concerned with action. The habitual use of the active voice. or could be heard. of course. which is frequently convenient and sometimes necessary. The sound of the falls could still be heard.19 it becomes indeﬁnite: is it the writer. but in writing of any kind. It was not long before he was very sorry that he had said what he had. Gold was not allowed to be exported. Modern readers have little esteem for the dramatists of the Restoration. The need of making a particular word the subject of the sentence will often. as in these examples. Many a tame sentence of description or exposition can be made lively and emphatic by substituting a transitive in the active voice for some such perfunctory expression as there is. As a rule. avoid making one passive depend directly upon another. however. The reason that he left college was that his health became impaired. There were a great number of dead leaves lying on the ground. It was forbidden to export gold (The export of gold was prohibited). or some person undisclosed. . Failing health compelled him to leave college. in a paragraph on the tastes of modern readers. The dramatists of the Restoration are little esteemed to-day. The ﬁrst would be the right form in a paragraph on the dramatists of the Restoration. He soon repented his words. determine which voice is to be used. covered The sound of the falls still reached our ears. the second. Dead leaves the ground. mean that the writer should entirely discard the passive voice.
20 CHAPTER III. “The export of gold was prohibited. nor does Bianca remain long in memory as an important character in Shakespeare’s works. non-committal language. Mobilization of the army was rapidly carried out. Avoid tame. . The army was rapidly mobilized. cannot Compare the sentence. These reports be conﬁrmed. before correction. Conﬁrmation of these reports cannot be obtained. A survey of this region was made in 1900. It has been proved that he was seen to enter the building. In both the examples above. colorless. He thought the study of Latin useless. The Taming of the Shrew is rather weak in spots. hesitating. Put statements in positive form Make deﬁnite assertions. Katharine is disagreeable.” 12. The women in The Taming of the Shrew are unattractive. Bianca insigniﬁcant. leaving to the verb no function beyond that of completing the sentence. He was not very often on time. never as a means of evasion. This region was surveyed in 1900. Use the word not as a means of denial or in antithesis.” in which the predicate “was prohibited” expresses something not implied in “export. He usually came late. the word properly related to the second passive is made the subject of the ﬁrst. ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION He has been proved to have been seen entering the building. He did not think that studying Latin was much use. Shakespeare does not portray Katharine as a very admirable character. A common fault is to use as the subject of a passive construction a noun which expresses the entire action.
he wishes to be told what is. Omit needless words Vigorous writing is concise. not honest not important did not remember did not pay any attention to did not have much conﬁdence in dishonest triﬂing forgot ignored distrusted The antithesis of negative and positive is strong: Not charity. before correction. a paragraph no unnecessary sentences. Consciously or unconsciously. All three examples show the weakness inherent in the word not. 13. for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. The corrected version. it is better to express a negative in positive form. but Rome the more. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words. is simply a guess at the writer’s intention. or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline.21 The last example. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short. Negative words other than not are usually strong: The sun never sets upon the British ﬂag. the reader is dissatisﬁed with being told only what is not. Many expressions in common use violate this principle: the question as to whether there is no doubt but that used for fuel purposes whether (the question whether) no doubt (doubtless) used for fuel . is indeﬁnite as well as negative. Hence. Not that I loved Caesar less. consequently. but simple justice. but that every word tell. as a rule.
he hastily this subject His story is strange. owing to the fact that in spite of the fact that call your attention to the fact that I was unaware of the fact that the fact that he had not succeeded the fact that I had arrived since (because) though (although) remind you (notify you) I was unaware that (did not know) his failure my arrival See also under case. ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION he is a man who in a hasty manner this is a subject which His story is a strange one. character. nature. . and the like are often superﬂuous. and the active voice more concise than the passive. Nelson’s last battle As positive statement is more concise than negative. In especial the expression the fact that should be revised out of every sentence in which it occurs. Who is. His brother.22 CHAPTER III. who is a member of the same ﬁrm Trafalgar. system in Chapter V. which was. many of the examples given under Rules 11 and 12 illustrate this rule as well. which was Nelson’s last battle His brother. a member of the same ﬁrm Trafalgar.
and the Boston Symphony Orchestra furnished the instrumental music. Edward Appleton was the soloist. The king of Scotland at this time was Duncan. and less frequently. The former showed himself to be an artist of the ﬁrst rank. He was thus enabled to succeed Duncan as king.) Encouraged by his wife. Avoid a succession of loose sentences This rule refers especially to loose sentences of a particular type. An unskilful writer will sometimes construct a whole paragraph of sentences of this kind. in a series of sentences which might to advantage be combined into one. or in any piece of good English prose. The interest aroused by the series has been very gratifying to the Committee. when an equally attractive programme will be presented. when. who. the paragraph above is bad because of the structure of its sentences. The third concert of the subscription series was given last evening. using as connectives and. The fourth concert will be given on Tuesday. with their mechanical symmetry and sing-song. The witches told him that this wish of his would come true. Macbeth achieved his ambition and realized the prediction of the witches by murdering Duncan and becoming king of Scotland in his place. May 10. as the preface (Before the Curtain) to Vanity Fair. which. but. a series soon becomes monotonous and tedious.23 A common violation of conciseness is the presentation of a single complex idea. . Encouraged by his wife. step by step. where. (26 words. This led him to wish to become king of Scotland.) 14. Apart from its triteness and emptiness. and a large audience was in attendance. while the latter proved itself fully deserving of its high reputation. the second introduced by a conjunction or relative. and it is planned to give a similar series annually hereafter. those consisting of two co-ordinate clauses. Although single sentences of this type may be unexceptionable (see under Rule 4). (55 words. these last in non-restrictive senses (see under Rule 3). Macbeth was very ambitious. Contrast with them the sentences in the paragraphs quoted under Rule 10. Mr. and while. Macbeth murdered Duncan.
the Beatitudes. The French. third. requires that expressions of similar content and function should be outwardly similar. or. science was taught by the textbook method. by sentences of two clauses joined by a semicolon. It is true that in repeating a statement in order to emphasize it he may have need to vary its form. see the paragraph from Stevenson quoted under Rule 10. and the Portuguese In spring. replacing them by simple sentences. ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION If the writer ﬁnds that he has written a series of sentences of the type described. and the like) should be followed by the same grammatical construction. summer. but. ﬁrst. The unskilful writer often violates this principle. The right-hand version shows that the writer has at least made his choice and abided by it. Formerly. he should recast enough of them to remove the monotony. the Italians. or in winter Correlative expressions (both. For illustration. or winter (In spring. summer. The likeness of form enables the reader to recognize more readily the likeness of content and function. Many violations of this rule can be corrected by rearranging the sentence. the panish. and Portuguese The French. by periodic sentences of two clauses. or in winter) In spring. he seems unable or afraid to choose one form of expression and hold to it. Express co-ordinate ideas in similar form This principle. loose or periodic. . and the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer. By this principle. second. of three clauses-whichever best represent the real relations of the thought. the Italians. But apart from this. now it is taught by the laboratory method. an article or a preposition applying to all the members of a series must either be used only before the ﬁrst term or else be repeated before each term. while now the laboratory method is employed. that of parallel construction. Formerly. not only. not. in summer. Familiar instances from the Bible are the Ten Commandments. he should follow the principle of parallel construction. science was taught by the textbook method. either. and. from a mistaken belief that he should constantly vary the form of his expressions. by sentences.24 CHAPTER III. but also. Spanish. The left-hand version gives the impression that the writer is undecided or timid. 15.
25 It was both a long ceremony and very tedious. ﬁrst. gives a minute description of this church. My objections are. The objection is that the interposed phrase or clause needlessly interrupts the natural order of the main clause. what if a writer needs to express a very large number of similar ideas. second. does not usually hold when the order . so far as possible. By treatment in a Bessemer converter. but action Either you must grant his request or incur his ill will. ﬁrst. and keep apart those which are not so related. that the measure is unjust. say twenty? Must he write twenty consecutive sentences of the same pattern? On closer examination he will probably ﬁnd that the difﬁculty is imaginary. in the ﬁfth book of The Excursion. Wordsworth gives a minute description of this church. This objection. Keep related words together The position of the words in a sentence is the principal means of showing their relationship. It may be asked. cast iron is changed into steel. and groups of words. Wordsworth. second. and that he need apply the principle only within each group. Otherwise he had best avoid the difﬁculty by putting his statements in the form of a table. that it is unconstitutional. however. In the ﬁfth book of The Excursion. as a rule. bring together the words. A time not for words. is changed into steel. My objections are. but for action You must either grant his request or incur his ill will. The ceremony was both long and tedious. be separated by a phrase or clause that can be transferred to the beginning. Cast iron. when treated in a Bessemer converter. that are related in thought. that it is unconstitutional. The subject of a sentence and the principal verb should not. the injustice of the measure. 16. The writer must therefore. A time not for words. See also the third example under Rule 12 and the last under Rule 13. that his twenty ideas can be classiﬁed in groups.
his brother. ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION is interrupted only by a relative clause or by an expression in apposition. If the antecedent consists of a group of words. This is a portrait of Benjamin Harrison. grandson of William Henry Harrison. If several expressions modify the same word. which has been variously judged. He wrote three articles about his adventures in Spain. because in such a combination no real ambiguity can arise. who A noun in apposition may come between antecedent and relative. Nor does it hold in periodic sentences in which the interruption is a deliberately used means of creating suspense (see examples under Rule 18). He became President in 1889. who became President in 1889. who was regarded with hostility by the Whigs Modiﬁers should come. There was a look in his eye that boded mischief. as a rule. who A proposal. if possible next to the word they modify. which has been variously judged The grandson of William Henry Harrison. Benjamin Harrison. grandson of William Henry Harrison. The relative pronoun should come. This is a portrait of Benjamin Harrison. the relative comes at the end of the group. In his eye was a look that boded mischief. which were published in Harper’s Magazine.26 CHAPTER III. unless this would cause ambiguity. to amend the Sherman Act A proposal to amend the muchdebated Sherman Act William Henry Harrison’s grandson. immediately after its antecedent. they should be so arranged that no wrong relation is suggested. . The Duke of York. The Superintendent of the Chicago Division. He published in Harper’s Magazine three articles about his adventures in Spain. who A proposal to amend the Sherman Act.
If the summary is in the present tense. An unforeseen chance prevents Friar John from delivering Friar Lawrence’s letter to Romeo.” or the like. E. whichever tense the writer chooses. a past tense in indirect discourse or in indirect question remains unchanged. Shifting from one tense to the other gives the appearance of uncertainty and irresolution (compare Rule 15).M. by the past perfect.. if in the past. 17. has been compelled to drink the potion on Tuesday night. the writer should avoid intercalating such expressions as “he said. He should indicate clearly at the outset.E. The Legate inquires who struck the blow. owing to her father’s arbitrary change of the day set for her wedding.M. Major R. or novel. In summarizing a poem. Major R. once for all. he should use throughout. He found only two mistakes. that what follows is summary. with the result that Balthasar informs Romeo of her supposed death before Friar Lawrence learns of the nondelivery of the letter. In summaries. he should preferably use the present. Joyce will give in Bailey Hall a lecture on “My Experiences in Mesopotamia. as in summarizing an essay or reporting a speech. on “My Experiences in Mesopotamia” at eight P. and then waste no words in repeating the notiﬁcation.” “the speaker then went on to say. the writer should always use the present tense. Apart from the exceptions noted. But whichever tense be used in the summary. Joyce will give a lecture on Tuesday evening in Bailey Hall.” “the speaker added. meanwhile. to which the public is invited. Not all the members were present.27 All the members were not present. keep to one tense In summarizing the action of a drama. . story. He only found two mistakes. antecedent action should be expressed by the perfect.” “he stated.” The public is invited.” “the author also thinks. Juliet. On Tuesday evening at eight P. though he may use the past if he prefers. In presenting the statements or the thought of some one else.
to devote yourselves unswervingly and unﬂinchingly to the vigorous and successful prosecution of this war. in newspapers. seeking for Spain a westward passage to the Indies as a setoff against the achievements of Portuguese discoverers. but to aim from the beginning at establishing general conclusions. The word or group of words entitled to this position of prominence is usually the logical predicate. Humanity has hardly advanced in fortitude since that time. one of the Italian mariners whom the decline of their own republics had put at the service of the world and of adventure. Similarly. With these hopes and in this belief I would urge you. laying aside all hindrance. But in the criticism or interpretation of literature the writer should be careful to avoid dropping into summary. Humanity. which the writer desires to make most prominent is usually the end of the sentence. has advanced in many other ways. Because of its hardness. This steel is principally used for making razors. this steel is principally used in making razors. But he should aim to write an orderly discussion supported by evidence. because of its hardness. but it has hardly advanced in fortitude. and for children in primary schools it is a useful exercise to retell a story in their own words. 18. he may cite numerous details to illustrate its qualities. The effectiveness of the periodic sentence arises from the prominence which it gives to the main statement. the new element in the sentence. He may ﬁnd it necessary to devote one or two sentences to indicating the subject. of the work he is discussing. or the opening situation. Christopher Columbus. thrusting away all private aims. in handbooks of literature. Four centuries ago. he will as a rule do better not to take them up singly in chronological order. lighted on America. though it has advanced in many other ways. not a summary with occasional comment. if the scope of his discussion includes a number of works. or group of words. since that time. .28 CHAPTER III. summaries of one kind or another may be indispensable. that is. ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION In notebooks. as it is in the second example. Place the emphatic words of a sentence at the end The proper place for the word.
the emphasis upon kings arises largely from its meaning and from the context. fretted by the action of nearly three thousand years. the fragments of this architecture may often seem. Deceit or treachery he could never forgive. To receive special emphasis. . the subject of a sentence must take the position of the predicate. So vast and rude. In the sentence. The principle that the proper place for what is to be made most prominent is the end applies equally to the words of a sentence. to the sentences of a paragraph. becomes emphatic when placed ﬁrst. like works of nature. Great kings worshipped at his shrine.29 The other prominent position in the sentence is the beginning. but hardly by its position alone. Through the middle of the valley ﬂowed a winding stream. other than the subject. at ﬁrst sight. Any element in the sentence. A subject coming ﬁrst in its sentence may be emphatic. and to the paragraphs of a composition.
ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION .30 CHAPTER III.
Leave a blank line. Do not spell out dates or other serial numbers. The provision of the Constitution is: “No tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any state. except that the ﬁnal stop is omitted unless it is a question mark or an exclamation point. begin on the ﬁrst line. but he had left town. outside of the marks of parenthesis. 1918 Rule 3 Chapter XII 352d Infantry Parentheses. after the title or heading of a manuscript. Formal quotations. are introduced by a colon and enclosed in quotation marks. On succeeding pages. August 9. Write them in ﬁgures or in Roman notation. The expression within is punctuated as if it stood by itself. cited as documentary evidence. as may be appropriate.) Quotations. the ﬁnal stop comes before the last mark of parenthesis. or its equivalent in space.Chapter IV A FEW MATTERS OF FORM Headings. (When a wholly detached expression or sentence is parenthesized. exactly as if the expression in parenthesis were absent. A sentence containing an expression in parenthesis is punctuated.” 31 . Numerals. if using ruled paper. I went to his house yesterday (my third attempt to see him). He declares (and why should we doubt his good faith?) that he is now certain of success.
References. giving the full forms in an alphabetical list at the end. ii. page. . volume. Omit the words act. “Gratitude is a lively sense of beneﬁts to come. truth beauty. not in the body of the sentence. simply insert III. line. 14). The same is true of colloquialisms and slang. Punctuate as indicated below.ii in parenthesis at the proper place in the sentence) After the killing of Polonius. give the references in parenthesis or in footnotes. These are the times that try men’s souls.32 CHAPTER IV. A FEW MATTERS OF FORM Quotations grammatically in apposition or the direct objects of verbs are preceded by a comma and enclosed in quotation marks. but not enclosed in quotation marks. Wordsworth’s enthusiasm for the Revolution was at ﬁrst unbounded: Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive. except when referring by only one of them.ii (still better. Keats declares that beauty is truth.” Aristotle says. Hamlet is placed under guard (IV. are begun on a fresh line and centred.” Quotations of an entire line. As a general practice. Proverbial expressions and familiar phrases of literary origin require no quotation marks. abbreviate titles that occur frequently. of verse. “Art is an imitation of nature. scene. In the second scene of the third act In III. But to be young was very heaven! Quotations introduced by that are regarded as in indirect discourse and not enclosed in quotation marks. He lives far from the madding crowd. I recall the maxim of La Rochefoucauld. In scholarly work requiring exact references. book. or more.
scholarly usage prefers italics with cap italized initials. . Dickens’s Tale of Two Cities. Omit initial A or The from titles when you place the possessive before them. 155-161 Titles. The Iliad. except in writing for a periodical that follows a different practice. Use italics (indicated in manuscript by underscoring). the Odyssey. others using Roman with capitalized initials and with or without quotation marks. 264-267. The Newcomes.iii. The usage of editors and publishers varies.iii. To a Skylark. some using italics with capitalized initials. A Tale of Two Cities. As You Like It. For the titles of literary works. III.33 2 Samuel i:17-27 Othello II.
A FEW MATTERS OF FORM .34 CHAPTER IV.
the rooms were poorly ventilated. the commonplaces of careless writing. the word is usually unnecessary. Few mistakes have been made. Expressions of this type should be corrected by rearranging the sentence. or better (if not better). It has rarely been the case that any mistake has been made. “Agreed. In many cases. usual state of affairs. Idiomatic in familiar speech as a detached phrase in the sense. but the replacement of vague generality by deﬁnite statement. . Whether is sufﬁcient. Case. As illustrated under Feature. My opinion is as good or better than his. As to whether. The past tense is bade. My opinion is as good as his.” In these two senses.” In other uses better avoided. 35 Many of the rooms were poorly ventilated. Bid. see under Rule 13.) All right. Takes the inﬁnitive without to.Chapter V W ORDS AND EXPRESSIONS COMMONLY MISUSED (Many of the words and expressions here listed are not so much bad English as bad style. Always written as two words.” or “Go ahead. the proper correction is likely to be not the replacement of one word or set of words by another. The Concise Oxford Dictionary begins its deﬁnition of this word: “instance of a thing’s occurring. As good or better than.
To compare to is to point out or imply resemblances.” “I consider him thoroughly competent. to a drama. Thus life has been compared to a pilgrimage. and Quiller-Couch. means to bring about. which means “to inﬂuence”).” “effects in pale green. it may be compared with modern London. Certainly.” Dependable. Acts of a hostile character Hostile acts Claim. Clever. to a battle.” In correct use related as predicate or as modiﬁer to a particular noun: “This invention is due to Edison. Due to. trustworthy. in adverbial phrases: “He lost the ﬁrst game. Paris has been compared to ancient Athens.” “very delicate . 68-71. 103-106. to compare with is mainly to point out differences. used from a mere habit of wordiness.” Compare. Not followed by as when it means. much as others use very. means result. Suggestions to Authors. A mannerism of this kind.36 CHAPTER V. or owing to. as verb. May be used with a dependent clause if this sense is clearly involved: “He claimed that he was the sole surviving heir. Incorrectly used for through. The Art of Writing. Often simply redundant. “The lecturer considered Cromwell ﬁrst as soldier and second as administrator. it is best restricted to ingenuity displayed in small matters. due to carelessness. Used indiscriminately by some speakers. With object-noun. “believe to be. is even worse in writing. maintain. Character. between objects regarded as essentially of the same order. or charge. and other arts: “an Oriental effect. often loosely used in perfunctory writing about fashions.) Not to be used as a substitute for declare.” Effect. As noun. Compare. painting. music. As noun. “claimed to be” would be better. WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS COMMONLY MISUSED See Wood.” (But even here. between objects regarded as essentially of different order.” “losses due to preventable ﬁres. bad in speech. A needless substitute for reliable.” where “considered” means “examined” or “discussed. This word has been greatly overused. Congress may be compared with the British Parliament. to intensify any and every statement. pp. accomplish (not to be confused with affect. vb. means lay claim to. because of. Consider. pp.
Heavy artillery is playing a larger and larger part in deciding battles.37 effects. A hackneyed word. etc. In writing restrict it to its literary senses.” The writer who has a deﬁnite meaning to express will not take refuge in such vagueness. Fix. not of matters of judgment. Heavy artillery is becoming an increasingly important factor in deciding battles. in the advertising sense of offer as a special attraction. see under Rule 13. and so forth. Fact. On the formula the fact that. or any similar expression. He won the match by being better trained. Equivalent to and the rest. are facts. for example.) A feature of the entertainment especially worthy of mention was the singing of Miss A. or that the climate of California is delightful. (Better use the same number of words to tell what Miss A. But such conclusions as that Napoleon was the greatest of modern generals. Not to be used of persons. make ﬁrm or immovable. As a verb.” “broad effects. Colloquial in America for arrange. sang. that lead melts at a certain temperature. That a particular event happened on a given date. the expressions of which it forms part can usually be replaced by something more direct and idiomatic. Factor. or if the programme has already been given. or immaterial words at the end of a quotation. prepare. Use this word only of matters of a kind capable of direct veriﬁcation. are not properly facts. that is. to tell something of how she sang. fasten. His superior training was the great factor in his winning the match. Least open to objection when it represents the last terms of a list already given in full. to be avoided. however incontestable they may be. Feature. and hence not to be used if one of these would be insufﬁcient. is incorrect.” “subtle effects. etc.” “a charming effect was produced by. Another hackneyed word. like factor it usually adds nothing to the sentence in which it occurs. . At the end of a list introduced by such as. mend. Etc. if the reader would be left in doubt as to any important particulars.
A common type of redundant expression. He had fewer men than in the previous campaign. however.” It is. that a writer who aims at freshness or originality had better discard it entirely. is allowable. is something like a collective noun. In the meaning nevertheless. or except in familiar style. . He is a man who is very ambitious. When however comes ﬁrst. Restrict it to its literal sense: “Amber is a kind of fossil resin. we succeeded in reaching camp.” “I dislike that kind of notoriety. along these lines. for something like (before nouns). Less. However you advise him. “His troubles are less than mine” means “His troubles are not so great as mine. “The signers of the petition were less than a hundred. Kind of. However discouraging the prospect. correct to say.38 CHAPTER V. However. The roads were almost impassable. Line. “where the round number. The roads were almost impassable. particularly in the phrase along these lines. Mr. thought.” The same holds true of sort of. However. a hundred. B. not to come ﬁrst in its sentence or clause. also spoke along the same lines. Should not be misused for fewer. we at last succeeded in reaching camp. He had less men than in the previous campaign. conduct. I have always wanted to visit Spain. B. he will probably do as he thinks best. and less is thought of as meaning a less quantity or amount. Spain is a country which I have always wanted to visit. it means in whatever way or to whatever extent. see Rule 13. also spoke. Not to be used as a substitute for rather (before adjectives and verbs). WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS COMMONLY MISUSED He is a man who.” “His troubles are fewer than mine” means “His troubles are not so numerous as mine. to the same effect. He is very ambitious. Less refers to quantity. Mr. however. At last. Line in the sense of course of procedure. fewer to number. but has been so much overworked. he never lost heart.
Lose out is not. The same holds true of try out. as. and others. He is studying French literature. in accordance with the unvarying usage of English prose from Old English times. Archaic forms. or near at hand. if not better. out and up form idiomatic combinations: ﬁnd out. Adverbial phrase. Not to be used as an adjective.” “poems about nature. or the habits of squirrels. each distinguishable in meaning from the simple verb. not yet fully accepted as good English. cheer up. turn out.39 He is studying along the line of French literature. register up. Oftentimes. no longer in good use. A literal ﬂood of abuse Literally dead with fatigue A ﬂood of abuse Almost dead with fatigue (dead tired) Lose out. run out. Avoid beginning essays or paragraphs with this formula.” “Switzerland is . is as good. the untracked wilderness. Literal. because of its commonness. sign up. Acts of a hostile natureHostile acts Often vaguely used in such expressions as “a lover of nature. Near by.. the reader cannot tell whether the poems have to do with natural scenery. win out. etc. use neighboring. One hundred and one. though the analogy of close by and hard by seems to justify it. The modern word is often. Often incorrectly used in support of exaggeration or violent metaphor. Retain the and in this and similar expressions. rural life. Near. With a number of verbs. the sunset.” Unless more speciﬁc statements follow. used like character. but actually less so. Meant to be more emphatic than lose. Not to be used for almost. make up. dry up. One of the most. Most everybody Most all the time Almost everybody Almost all the time Nature. “One of the most interesting developments of modern science is. ofttimes. Most. literally. Often simply redundant.
as in geometrical proofs.” Not to be used for aspect or topic. These words may usually be omitted with advantage.” “the last phase. how many “people” would be left? Phase. Avoid. Works of ﬁction are listed under the names of their authors. Another phase of the subject Another point other question) (an- Possess. Means a stage of transition or development: “the phases of the moon. from the public comes artistic appreciation or commercial patronage.40 CHAPTER V. He owned Respective. Works of ﬁction are listed under the names of their respective authors. He possessed great courage. it may be necessary to use respectively. it is simply threadbare and forcible-feeble. not to be confused with the public. So. in writing. the use of so as an intensiﬁer: “so good. He was the fortunate possessor of He had great courage (was very brave). In some kinds of formal writing. From the people comes political support or opposition. . People.” “so delightful.” On the use of so to introduce clauses. but it should not appear in writing on ordinary subjects. The people is a political term.” There is nothing wrong in this. Not to be used as a mere substitute for have or own. in place of persons. The one mile and two mile runs were won by Jones and by Cummings. The one mile and two mile runs were won by Jones and Cummings respectively.” “so warm. respectively. Sort of. see Rule 4. See under Kind of. If of “six people” ﬁve went away. WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS COMMONLY MISUSED one of the most interesting countries of Europe. The word people is not to be used with words of number.
This sounds as if the writer meant. as. or from uncertainty which of the two connectives is the more appropriate. Viewpoint. “A friend of mine told me that they. Some bashful speakers even say. They. which. write a letter of acknowledgment. Thanking you in advance. some one. either from a mere desire to vary the connective. Write point of view. and although. every one. The dormitory system Dayton has adopted government by commission. use words strong in themselves. but. is the use of the plural pronoun with the antecedent anybody. Avoid the indiscriminate use of this word for and. . many a man. Restrict it to the sense of express fully or clearly. each one. Many writers use it frequently as a substitute for and or but. Frequently used without need. A member of the student body Popular with the student body The student body passed resolutions. A needless and awkward expression.” Student body. meaning no more than the simple word students. though implying more than one person. requires the pronoun to be in the singular.” Use he with all the above words. but with even less justiﬁcation. etc. Very. remark. “It will not be worth my while to write to you again. somebody.41 State. unless the antecedent is or must be feminine. Where emphasis is necessary. In this use it is best replaced by a semicolon. While.” and if the favor which you have requested is granted. Similar to this. but do not misuse this. everybody. Not to be used as a mere substitute for say.” Simply write. the intention being either to avoid the awkward “he or she. Dormitories A student Liked by the students The students passed resolutions. for view or opinion. Dayton has adopted the commission system of government. Use this word sparingly.” or to avoid committing oneself to either. System. “Thanking you. A common inaccuracy is the use of the plural pronoun when the antecedent is a distributive expression such as each. “He refused to state his objections. as many do. any one.
when it is really the subject of a following verb. as shown by the paraphrase. The paraphrase. Its use as a virtual equivalent of although is allowable in sentences where this leads to no ambiguity or absurdity. I admire his energy. His brother. shows why the use of while is incorrect. The temperature reaches 90 or 95 degrees in the daytime. while the rest of the building is devoted to manufacturing. Whom. WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS COMMONLY MISUSED This is entirely correct. In general. whom he said would send him the money The man whom he thought was his friend His brother. in the sense of during the time that.42 CHAPTER V. The ofﬁce and salesrooms are on the ground ﬂoor. who he said would send him the money The man who (that) he thought was his friend (whom he thought his friend) . the writer will do well to use while only with strict literalness. at the same time the nights are often chilly. the nights are often chilly. at the same time I wish it were employed in a better cause. I wish it were employed in a better cause. the nights are often chilly. While I admire his energy. Although the temperature reaches 90 or 95 degrees in the daytime. Compare: While the temperature reaches 90 or 95 degrees in the daytime. the rest of the building is devoted to manufacturing. Often incorrectly used for who before he said or similar expressions. The ofﬁce and salesrooms are on the ground ﬂoor.
His books are not worth while. Would. and from its brevity. Once a year he would visit the old mansion. Once a year he visited the old mansion. A conditional statement in the ﬁrst person requires should. To express habitual or repeated action. is usually sufﬁcient. not would. more emphatic. He predicted that before long we should have a great surprise. do not repay reading).43 Worth while. I should not have succeeded without his help. not would. Overworked as a term of vague approval and (with not) of disapproval. the past tense. . without would. Strictly applicable only to actions: “Is it worth while to telegraph?” His books are not worth reading (not worth one’s while to read. The equivalent of shall in indirect quotation after a verb in the past tense is should. The use of worth while before a noun (“a worth while story”) is indefensible.
44 CHAPTER V. WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS COMMONLY MISUSED .
some time (except the sense of formerly) as two words. to-night.Chapter VI W ORDS OFTEN MISSPELLED accidentally advice affect beginning believe beneﬁt challenge criticize deceive deﬁnite describe despise develop disappoint duel ecstasy effect existence ﬁery formerly humorous hypocrisy immediately incidentally latter led lose marriage mischief murmur necessary occurred parallel Philip playwright preceding prejudice principal privilege pursue repetition rhyme rhythm ridiculous sacrilegious seize separate shepherd siege similar simile too tragedy tries undoubtedly until Write to-day. T HE E ND 45 . to-morrow (but not together) with hyphen. Write any one. every one. some one.
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