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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 .
Author and Printer (Henry Frowde).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. which he prefers to that offered by any textbook. Chicago University Press. De Vinne. The following books are recommended for reference or further study: in connection with Chapters II and IV. T. It aims to lighten the task of instructor and student by concentrating attention (in Chapters II and III) on a few essentials. especially the chapter. Howard Collins. students proﬁt most by individual instruction based on the problems of their own work. Rules for Compositors and Printers (Oxford University Press). Manual of Style. Interlude on Jargon. Kelly. George McLane Wood has kindly consented to the inclusion under Rule 11 of some material from his Suggestions to Authors. The writer’s colleagues in the Department of English in Cornell University have greatly helped him in the preparation of his manuscript.). Horace Hart. The book covers only a small portion of the ﬁeld of English style. Suggestions to Authors (United States Geological Survey). Mr. The numbers of the sections may be used as references in correcting manuscript. 1 . F. Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch. Brown and Co. in connection with Chapters III and V. the rules of usage and principles of composition most commonly violated. John Leslie Hall.). English Usage (Scott. and that each instructor has his own body of theory. Extracts from the Style-Book of the Government Printing Ofﬁce (United States Geological Survey). Foresman and Co. George McLane Wood. James P. The Art of Writing (Putnams). George McLane Wood. but the experience of its writer has been that once past the essentials. It aims to give in brief space the principal requirements of plain English style. L. Workmanship in Words (Little. Correct Composition (The Century Company).
When they do so. . the reader will usually ﬁnd in the sentence some compensating merit. Unless he is certain of doing as well. INTRODUCTORY It is an old observation that the best writers sometimes disregard the rules of rhetoric. to write plain English adequate for everyday uses. let him look. After he has learned. however. by their guidance. to the study of the masters of literature.2 CHAPTER I. for the secrets of style. he will probably do best to follow the rules. attained at the cost of the violation.
Moses’ laws. Thus write. yours. the possessive Jesus’. theirs.Chapter II E LEMENTARY RULES OF USAGE 1. 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. 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. and oneself have no apostrophe. But such forms as Achilles’ heel. for righteousness’ sake. 3 . Isis’ temple are commonly replaced by the heel of Achilles the laws of Moses the temple of Isis The pronominal possessives hers. and such forms as for conscience’ sake. its.
If the interruption to the ﬂow of the sentence is but slight. or a brief phrase. he must never omit one comma and leave the other.4 CHAPTER II. Enclose parenthetic expressions between commas The best way to see a country. This is also the usage of the Government Printing Ofﬁce and of the Oxford University Press. such as however. is or is not parenthetic. read it and made a note of its contents. 3. and blue honest. even if only a single term comes before it. Such punctuation as Marjorie’s husband. is always preceded by a comma. is now in perfect health. is to travel on foot. ELEMENTARY RULES OF USAGE 2. But whether the interruption be slight or considerable. is indefensible. red. use a comma after each term except the last Thus write. as Brown.. white. the writer may safely omit the commas. it is frequently hard to decide whether a single word. In the names of business ﬁrms the last comma is omitted. but headstrong He opened the letter. Colonel Nelson paid us a visit yesterday. energetic. unless you are pressed for time. My brother you will be pleased to hear. Shipley and Company The abbreviation etc. . In a series of three or more terms with a single conjunction. This rule is difﬁcult to apply.
they do not limit the application of the words on which they depend. In these sentences the clauses introduced by which. At that time Corsica had but recently been acquired by France. in accordance with this rule. when. set off by commas. In this sentence the relative clause restricts the application of the word candidate to a single person. The audience was at ﬁrst indifferent. Unlike those above. Restrictive relative clauses are not set off by commas. Later it became more and more interested. The abbreviations etc. statements supplementing those in the principal clauses. Nether Stowey. which had at ﬁrst been indifferent. are always preceded by a comma. the sentence cannot be split into two independent statements. and jr. where Coleridge wrote The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. and except at the end of a sentence. Coleridge wrote The Rime of the Ancient Mariner at Nether Stowey. became more and more interested. Napoleon was born in 1769. and where are non-restrictive. followed by one. is a few miles from Bridgewater. but add.5 Non-restrictive relative clauses are. Nether Stowey is only a few miles from Bridgewater. . Each sentence is a combination of two statments which might have been made independently. Corsica had but recently been acquired by France. The audience. The candidate who best meets these requirements will obtain the place. In 1769. parenthetically. Similar clauses introduced by where and when are similarly punctuated. when Napoleon was born.
may seem to be in need of rewriting. Sentences of this type. Used between independent clauses. In this perilous situation. there is still one chance of escape. is the least speciﬁc of connectives. 7. and 18 should afford sufﬁcient guidance. As they make complete sense when the comma is reached. there is still one chance of escape. the second clause has the appearance of an after-thought. The situation is perilous. 6. isolated from their context. 5. but there is still one chance of escape. In the example above. the relation is that of cause and result. the story of its ﬁrst years can no longer be reconstructed. 4. He saw us coming. Or the subordinate clauses might be replaced by phrases: Owing to the disappearance of the early records of the city. 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. If a parenthetic expression is preceded by a conjunction.6 CHAPTER II. it indicates only that a relation exists between them without deﬁning that relation. greeted us with a smile. Further. and the story of its ﬁrst years can no longer be reconstructed. The sentences quoted in this section and under Rules 4. Although the situation is perilous. and unaware that we had learned of his treachery. place the ﬁrst comma before the conjunction. not after it. Place a comma before and or but introducing an independent clause The early records of the city have disappeared. and. the story of its ﬁrst years can no longer be reconstructed. . 16. The two sentences might be rewritten: As the early records of the city have disappeared.
are to form a single compound sentence. we cannot reach town before dark. or an introductory phrase requiring to be set off by a comma. but if we are prepared to act promptly. It is nearly half past ﬁve. Consequently. It is of course equally correct to write the above as two sentences each. or. replacing the semicolons by periods. 5. Stevenson’s romances are entertaining. But a writer should be careful not to construct too many of his sentences after this pattern (see Rule 14).7 But a writer may err by making his sentences too uniformly compact and periodic. . grammatically complete and not joined by a conjunction. precedes the second independent clause. and an occasional loose sentence prevents the style from becoming too formal and gives the reader a certain relief. Do not join independent clauses by a comma If two or more clauses. It is nearly half past ﬁve. and while (in the sense of and at the same time) likewise require a comma before the conjunction. they are full of exciting adventures. nor. They are full of exciting adventures. Two-part sentences of which the second member is introduced by as (in the sense of because). for. unstudied writing. If a dependent clause. loose sentences of the type ﬁrst quoted are common in easy. the proper mark of punctuation is a semicolon. the proper mark is a comma (Rule 4). see the next section. no comma is needed after the conjunction. for they are full of exciting adventures. If a conjunction is inserted. We cannot reach town before dark. The situation is perilous. Stevenson’s romances are entertaining. Stevenson’s romances are entertaining. there is still one chance of escape. For two-part sentences connected by an adverb.
A simple correction. or thus. is to omit the word so. it is best. The gate swung apart. . and are alike in form. so I had difﬁculty in ﬁnding my way about. however. and begin the ﬁrst clause with as: As I had never been in the place before. I had never been in the place before. the bridge fell. therefore. Coming home from Liverpool to New York. the ﬁrst period should be replaced by a comma. and lived in half a dozen countries. a comma is usually permissible: Man proposes. ELEMENTARY RULES OF USAGE It is nearly half past ﬁve. A man who had traveled all over the world. such as accordingly. 6. the portcullis was drawn up. do not use periods for commas. Do not break sentences in two In other words. If the clauses are very short. to avoid using so in this manner. there is danger that the writer who uses it at all may use it too often. I met them on a Cunard liner several years ago. and we cannot reach town before dark. God disposes. He was an interesting talker. so. I had difﬁculty in ﬁnding my way about.8 CHAPTER II. Note that if the second clause is preceded by an adverb. In general. the semicolon is still required. In both these examples. besides. usually serviceable. then. and not by a conjunction. in writing. and the following word begun with a small letter.
however. A soldier of proved valor. nouns in apposition. and that he will not be suspected of a mere blunder in punctuation. I thought the task easy. he must recast the sentence: He saw a woman. his friends met him at the station.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. the temptation proved irresistible. Participial phrases preceded by a conjunction or by a preposition. When he arrived (or. accompanied by two children. they entrusted him with the defence of the city. Without a friend to counsel him. they should be so thoroughly mastered that their application becomes second nature. adjectives. 7. he was entrusted with the defence of the city. Without a friend to counsel him. On arriving in Chicago. and adjective phrases come under the same rule if they begin the sentence. his friends met him at the station. he saw a woman accompanied by two children. A participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence must refer to the grammatical subject Walking slowly down the road. 4. he found the temptation irresistible. If the writer wishes to make it refer to the woman. The word walking refers to the subject of the sentence. the task seemed easy to me. . No reply. 5. be certain that the emphasis is warranted. and 6 cover the most important principles in the punctuation of ordinary sentences. Rules 3. The writer must. Young and inexperienced. A soldier of proved valor. not to the woman. walking slowly down the road. On his arrival) in Chicago. Young and inexperienced.
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. 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 between double letters. or cutting off only two letters of a long word. unless this involves cutting off only a single letter.10 CHAPTER II. 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. 8. The principles most frequently applicable are: A. ELEMENTARY RULES OF USAGE Sentences violating this rule are often ludicrous. No hard and fast rule for all words can be laid down. I was able to buy the house very cheap. 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: . divide the word. Divide words at line-ends. Being in a dilapidated condition. 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.
Make the paragraph the unit of composition: one paragraph to each topic If the subject on which you are writing is of slight extent. the setting forth of a single idea. each of which should be made the subject of a paragraph. a short notice of a book or poem might consist of a single paragraph. For example. The beginning of each paragraph is a signal to him that a new step in the development of the subject has been reached. Critical discussion. Ordinarily. 13 . however. a brief account of a single incident. The extent of subdivision will vary with the length of the composition. The object of treating each topic in a paragraph by itself is. a narrative merely outlining an action. a subject requires subdivision into topics. Thus a brief description. it should be examined to see whether subdivision will not improve it. to aid the reader. Account of the work. any one of these is best written in a single paragraph. B. there may be no need of subdividing it into topics. After the paragraph has been written.Chapter III E LEMENTARY COMPOSITION PRINCIPLES OF 9. of course. One slightly longer might consist of two paragraphs: A. a brief summary of a literary work. or if you intend to treat it very brieﬂy.
Facts of composition and publication. The contents of paragraphs C and D would vary with the poem. paragraph C need contain no more than a concise summary of the action. Plot. paragraph C would indicate the actual or imagined circumstances of the poem (the situation). Account of the event. if these call for explanation. A novel might be discussed under the heads: A.14 CHAPTER III. and would then state the subject and outline its development. each speech. is a paragraph by itself. written for a class in literature. C. E. In dialogue. An exception may be made of sentences of transition. B. What led up to the event. Paragraph D would indicate the leading ideas and show how they are made prominent. Characters. Kind of poem. As a rule. Purpose. D. might consist of seven paragraphs: A. Usually. Setting. that is. G. indicating the relation between the parts of an exposition or argument. even if only a single word. If the poem is a narrative in the third person throughout. metrical form. Treatment of subject. In treating either of these last two subjects. the writer would probably ﬁnd it necessary to subdivide one or more of the topics here given. ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION A report on a poem. Wherein characteristic of the writer. The application of this rule. D. B. when . Relationship to other works. F. A historical event might be discussed under the heads: A. For what chieﬂy remarkable. C. C. Subject. single sentences should not be written or printed as paragraphs. a new paragraph begins with each change of speaker. B. or would indicate what points in the narrative are chieﬂy emphasized. What the event led up to.
B. particularly in exposition and argument. its relation to what precedes. 10. end it in conformity with the beginning Again. and C. begin each paragraph with a topic sentence. as indicated above. it is no longer a walking tour in anything but name. and to retain the purpose in mind as he ends it. he may.15 dialogue and narrative are combined. the succeeding sentences explain or establish or develop the statement made in the topic sentence. however. or even in pairs. 1 Topic sentence. to be properly enjoyed. or its function as a part of the whole. relate the body of the paragraph to the topic sentence in one or more of several different ways. If the paragraph forms part of a larger composition. 2 The meaning made clearer by denial of the contrary. for the same reason) in the topic sentence. 1 Now. For this reason. If more than one such sentence is required. . by deﬁning its terms. may need to be expressed. 2 If you go in a company. or with an unimportant detail. the most generally useful kind of paragraph. it is something else and more in the nature of a picnic. The practice here recommended enables him to discover the purpose of each paragraph as he begins to read it. the object is to aid the reader. In a long paragraph. or he may develop it by showing its implications and consequences. He may make the meaning of the topic sentence clearer by restating it in other forms. is that in which A. by giving illustrations or speciﬁc instances. Ending with a digression. he may carry out several of these processes. is particularly to be avoided. therefore. is best learned from examples in well-printed works of ﬁction. the ﬁnal sentence either emphasizes the thought of the topic sentence or states some important consequence. a walking tour should be gone upon alone. This can sometimes be done by a mere word or phrase (again. it is expedient to precede the topic sentence by one or more sentences of introduction or transition. it is generally better to set apart the transitional sentences as a separate paragraph. Sometimes. As a rule. he may establish it by proofs. the topic sentence comes at or near the beginning. According to the writer’s purpose. by denying the converse.
. in language ampliﬁed and heightened to form a strong conclusion. because freedom is of the essence. Stevenson. the meaning of the third (“you must have your own pace”) made clearer by denying the converse. and because you must have your own pace. 9 Final statement of the fourth reason. 4 A fourth reason. ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION 3 A walking tour should be gone upon alone. because you should be able to stop and go on. 8 Repetition. 6-7 The same reason as stated by Hazlitt. and neither trot alongside a champion walker. “of walking and talking at the same time.” says Hazlitt. and ends in a peace that passes comprehension. 4 And you must be open to all impressions and let your thoughts take colour from what you see. Walking Tours. nor mince in time with a girl. to jar on the meditative silence of the morning. stated in still another form. I wish to vegetate like the country. 8 There should be no cackle of voices at your elbow. 5 The same reason. and supported by three reasons. in abridged form. and follow this way or that. 3 The topic sentence repeated. which is the gist of all that can be said upon the matter. stated in two forms. in paraphrase.16 CHAPTER III. as the freak takes you. 5 You should be as a pipe for any wind to play upon.” 7 When I am in the country. 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. of the quotation from Hazlitt. that begins in a sort of dazzle and sluggishness of the brain. 6 “I cannot see the wit.
17 1 It was chieﬂy in the eighteenth century that a very different conception of history grew up. 2 Historians then came to believe that their task was not so much to paint a picture as to solve a problem. of industry. and modiﬁcation of political constitutions. 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. 5 They looked especially in history for the chain of causes and effects. in a word. all the conditions of national wellbeing became the subjects of their works. 2 The meaning of the topic sentence made clearer. the dominant ideas that prevailed in successive periods. . and of art. of intellect. the rise. prosperity. 6 Conclusion: an important consequence of the new conception of history. the changes that take place in manners or beliefs. -Lecky. 3 The history of morals. 4 The deﬁnition explained by contrast. to explain or illustrate the successive phases of national growth. 6 They undertook to study in the past the physiology of nations. 3 The deﬁnition expanded. the new conception of history deﬁned. fall. 4 They sought rather to write a history of peoples than a history of kings. The Political Value of History. and adversity. 5 The deﬁnition supplemented: another element in the new conception of history. 1 Topic sentence.
would become a mannerism. He picked up the heavy lamp from the table and began to explore. and less concise. and they emerged on the roof. More commonly the opening sentence simply indicates by its subject with what the paragraph is to be principally concerned. The campaign opened with a series of reverses. The latter sentence is less direct.18 CHAPTER III. ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION In narration and description the paragraph sometimes begins with a concise. less bold. But this device.” My ﬁrst visit to Boston will always be remembered. This is much better than My ﬁrst visit to Boston will always be remembered by me. if too often used. . The next ten or twelve pages were ﬁlled with a curious set of entries. throwing into prominence some detail of the action. At length I thought I might return towards the stockade. If the writer tries to make it more concise by omitting “by me. however. The break between them serves the purpose of a rhetorical pause. 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. are often without even this semblance of a topic sentence. comprehensive statement serving to hold together the details that follow. Another ﬂight of steps. 11. The brief paragraphs of animated narrative. The breeze served us admirably.
The dramatists of the Restoration are little esteemed to-day. covered The sound of the falls still reached our ears. The need of making a particular word the subject of the sentence will often. Modern readers have little esteem for the dramatists of the Restoration. Failing health compelled him to leave college. which is frequently convenient and sometimes necessary. or the world at large. in a paragraph on the tastes of modern readers. but in writing of any kind. as in these examples. or could be heard. The sound of the falls could still be heard. Dead leaves the ground. avoid making one passive depend directly upon another. It was not long before he was very sorry that he had said what he had. however. that will always remember this visit? This rule does not. the second. The reason that he left college was that his health became impaired. As a rule. The ﬁrst would be the right form in a paragraph on the dramatists of the Restoration. or some person undisclosed. determine which voice is to be used. He soon repented his words. Gold was not allowed to be exported. of course. . This is true not only in narrative principally concerned with action. mean that the writer should entirely discard the passive voice. It was forbidden to export gold (The export of gold was prohibited). 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. makes for forcible writing. The habitual use of the active voice. There were a great number of dead leaves lying on the ground.19 it becomes indeﬁnite: is it the writer.
hesitating.” 12. Shakespeare does not portray Katharine as a very admirable character. These reports be conﬁrmed. Use the word not as a means of denial or in antithesis. This region was surveyed in 1900. the word properly related to the second passive is made the subject of the ﬁrst. He usually came late. Conﬁrmation of these reports cannot be obtained. Bianca insigniﬁcant. The women in The Taming of the Shrew are unattractive. He did not think that studying Latin was much use. He was not very often on time. The army was rapidly mobilized. nor does Bianca remain long in memory as an important character in Shakespeare’s works. before correction. In both the examples above. Put statements in positive form Make deﬁnite assertions. never as a means of evasion. It has been proved that he was seen to enter the building. . leaving to the verb no function beyond that of completing the sentence.” in which the predicate “was prohibited” expresses something not implied in “export. The Taming of the Shrew is rather weak in spots. Mobilization of the army was rapidly carried out.20 CHAPTER III. colorless. A common fault is to use as the subject of a passive construction a noun which expresses the entire action. cannot Compare the sentence. A survey of this region was made in 1900. non-committal language. “The export of gold was prohibited. ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION He has been proved to have been seen entering the building. He thought the study of Latin useless. Katharine is disagreeable. Avoid tame.
consequently. Omit needless words Vigorous writing is concise. it is better to express a negative in positive form. 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 . as a rule. for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. the reader is dissatisﬁed with being told only what is not.21 The last example. but that every word tell. Hence. Negative words other than not are usually strong: The sun never sets upon the British ﬂag. 13. The corrected version. or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short. Not that I loved Caesar less. Consciously or unconsciously. All three examples show the weakness inherent in the word not. is indeﬁnite as well as negative. 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. but Rome the more. but simple justice. a paragraph no unnecessary sentences. is simply a guess at the writer’s intention. before correction. he wishes to be told what is. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words.
he hastily this subject His story is strange. and the active voice more concise than the passive. and the like are often superﬂuous. His brother. many of the examples given under Rules 11 and 12 illustrate this rule as well. 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. system in Chapter V. a member of the same ﬁrm Trafalgar. which was Nelson’s last battle His brother. who is a member of the same ﬁrm Trafalgar. Who is. 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. which was. .22 CHAPTER III. nature.
The king of Scotland at this time was Duncan. or in any piece of good English prose. An unskilful writer will sometimes construct a whole paragraph of sentences of this kind. and while.) 14. He was thus enabled to succeed Duncan as king. Contrast with them the sentences in the paragraphs quoted under Rule 10. The fourth concert will be given on Tuesday. step by step. The witches told him that this wish of his would come true. in a series of sentences which might to advantage be combined into one. and a large audience was in attendance. May 10. and the Boston Symphony Orchestra furnished the instrumental music. Macbeth murdered Duncan. and less frequently. when. these last in non-restrictive senses (see under Rule 3). while the latter proved itself fully deserving of its high reputation. (55 words. Apart from its triteness and emptiness. Avoid a succession of loose sentences This rule refers especially to loose sentences of a particular type.) Encouraged by his wife. and it is planned to give a similar series annually hereafter. . Although single sentences of this type may be unexceptionable (see under Rule 4). where. the second introduced by a conjunction or relative. Macbeth achieved his ambition and realized the prediction of the witches by murdering Duncan and becoming king of Scotland in his place. as the preface (Before the Curtain) to Vanity Fair. those consisting of two co-ordinate clauses. with their mechanical symmetry and sing-song. (26 words. the paragraph above is bad because of the structure of its sentences. but. when an equally attractive programme will be presented. Edward Appleton was the soloist. Encouraged by his wife. using as connectives and. The interest aroused by the series has been very gratifying to the Committee. Macbeth was very ambitious. a series soon becomes monotonous and tedious. which. Mr. who. The former showed himself to be an artist of the ﬁrst rank.23 A common violation of conciseness is the presentation of a single complex idea. The third concert of the subscription series was given last evening. This led him to wish to become king of Scotland.
Formerly. or winter (In spring. or in winter) In spring. requires that expressions of similar content and function should be outwardly similar. The left-hand version gives the impression that the writer is undecided or timid. summer. by periodic sentences of two clauses. For illustration. but.24 CHAPTER III. science was taught by the textbook method. By this principle. not. by sentences. either. he seems unable or afraid to choose one form of expression and hold to it. of three clauses-whichever best represent the real relations of the thought. The French. 15. while now the laboratory method is employed. the Italians. . the panish. and Portuguese The French. But apart from this. but also. Familiar instances from the Bible are the Ten Commandments. third. Formerly. Spanish. the Italians. It is true that in repeating a statement in order to emphasize it he may have need to vary its form. and the like) should be followed by the same grammatical construction. he should recast enough of them to remove the monotony. second. now it is taught by the laboratory method. and the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer. Many violations of this rule can be corrected by rearranging the sentence. The unskilful writer often violates this principle. the Beatitudes. The right-hand version shows that the writer has at least made his choice and abided by it. in summer. 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. Express co-ordinate ideas in similar form This principle. The likeness of form enables the reader to recognize more readily the likeness of content and function. not only. and the Portuguese In spring. science was taught by the textbook method. he should follow the principle of parallel construction. by sentences of two clauses joined by a semicolon. or. or in winter Correlative expressions (both. and. loose or periodic. ﬁrst. summer. that of parallel construction. ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION If the writer ﬁnds that he has written a series of sentences of the type described. from a mistaken belief that he should constantly vary the form of his expressions. replacing them by simple sentences. see the paragraph from Stevenson quoted under Rule 10.
but action Either you must grant his request or incur his ill will. that the measure is unjust. The ceremony was both long and tedious. and keep apart those which are not so related. however. second. 16. the injustice of the measure. Wordsworth gives a minute description of this church. and that he need apply the principle only within each group. By treatment in a Bessemer converter. is changed into steel. bring together the words. so far as possible. Otherwise he had best avoid the difﬁculty by putting his statements in the form of a table. This objection. what if a writer needs to express a very large number of similar ideas. does not usually hold when the order . in the ﬁfth book of The Excursion. but for action You must either grant his request or incur his ill will. The objection is that the interposed phrase or clause needlessly interrupts the natural order of the main clause. Wordsworth.25 It was both a long ceremony and very tedious. My objections are. second. and groups of words. The writer must therefore. ﬁrst. say twenty? Must he write twenty consecutive sentences of the same pattern? On closer examination he will probably ﬁnd that the difﬁculty is imaginary. ﬁrst. The subject of a sentence and the principal verb should not. that it is unconstitutional. gives a minute description of this church. when treated in a Bessemer converter. A time not for words. be separated by a phrase or clause that can be transferred to the beginning. cast iron is changed into steel. that his twenty ideas can be classiﬁed in groups. A time not for words. My objections are. that it is unconstitutional. Keep related words together The position of the words in a sentence is the principal means of showing their relationship. In the ﬁfth book of The Excursion. See also the third example under Rule 12 and the last under Rule 13. that are related in thought. It may be asked. as a rule. Cast iron.
which has been variously judged. which were published in Harper’s Magazine. who A proposal to amend the Sherman Act. his brother. If several expressions modify the same word. The Duke of York. If the antecedent consists of a group of words. which has been variously judged The grandson of William Henry Harrison. as a rule. who A noun in apposition may come between antecedent and relative. ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION is interrupted only by a relative clause or by an expression in apposition. if possible next to the word they modify. This is a portrait of Benjamin Harrison. He published in Harper’s Magazine three articles about his adventures in Spain. This is a portrait of Benjamin Harrison. Benjamin Harrison. because in such a combination no real ambiguity can arise. the relative comes at the end of the group. . immediately after its antecedent. He wrote three articles about his adventures in Spain. grandson of William Henry Harrison. There was a look in his eye that boded mischief. who A proposal. they should be so arranged that no wrong relation is suggested. In his eye was a look that boded mischief. Nor does it hold in periodic sentences in which the interruption is a deliberately used means of creating suspense (see examples under Rule 18). who was regarded with hostility by the Whigs Modiﬁers should come. The Superintendent of the Chicago Division. to amend the Sherman Act A proposal to amend the muchdebated Sherman Act William Henry Harrison’s grandson. who became President in 1889. unless this would cause ambiguity. He became President in 1889.26 CHAPTER III. The relative pronoun should come. grandson of William Henry Harrison.
meanwhile. .. He only found two mistakes. whichever tense the writer chooses. on “My Experiences in Mesopotamia” at eight P. An unforeseen chance prevents Friar John from delivering Friar Lawrence’s letter to Romeo. In summarizing a poem. the writer should always use the present tense. The Legate inquires who struck the blow. by the past perfect.M. He found only two mistakes. if in the past. In summaries. On Tuesday evening at eight P. In presenting the statements or the thought of some one else. E. once for all. Major R.” “the author also thinks. But whichever tense be used in the summary.M. has been compelled to drink the potion on Tuesday night. He should indicate clearly at the outset.” “he stated. he should use throughout. antecedent action should be expressed by the perfect. If the summary is in the present tense. Shifting from one tense to the other gives the appearance of uncertainty and irresolution (compare Rule 15). though he may use the past if he prefers. Joyce will give a lecture on Tuesday evening in Bailey Hall. or novel. to which the public is invited.” “the speaker added. the writer should avoid intercalating such expressions as “he said.E. that what follows is summary.27 All the members were not present. Joyce will give in Bailey Hall a lecture on “My Experiences in Mesopotamia. Juliet. Not all the members were present. 17. keep to one tense In summarizing the action of a drama. Apart from the exceptions noted. and then waste no words in repeating the notiﬁcation. with the result that Balthasar informs Romeo of her supposed death before Friar Lawrence learns of the nondelivery of the letter.” or the like. he should preferably use the present. as in summarizing an essay or reporting a speech.” “the speaker then went on to say.” The public is invited. owing to her father’s arbitrary change of the day set for her wedding. a past tense in indirect discourse or in indirect question remains unchanged. story. Major R.
he may cite numerous details to illustrate its qualities. has advanced in many other ways. With these hopes and in this belief I would urge you. lighted on America. The word or group of words entitled to this position of prominence is usually the logical predicate. Four centuries ago. 18.28 CHAPTER III. thrusting away all private aims. if the scope of his discussion includes a number of works. Humanity has hardly advanced in fortitude since that time. laying aside all hindrance. This steel is principally used for making razors. seeking for Spain a westward passage to the Indies as a setoff against the achievements of Portuguese discoverers. not a summary with occasional comment. to devote yourselves unswervingly and unﬂinchingly to the vigorous and successful prosecution of this war. Christopher Columbus. ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION In notebooks. But in the criticism or interpretation of literature the writer should be careful to avoid dropping into summary. Similarly. . which the writer desires to make most prominent is usually the end of the sentence. the new element in the sentence. but to aim from the beginning at establishing general conclusions. this steel is principally used in making razors. and for children in primary schools it is a useful exercise to retell a story in their own words. because of its hardness. of the work he is discussing. Place the emphatic words of a sentence at the end The proper place for the word. The effectiveness of the periodic sentence arises from the prominence which it gives to the main statement. but it has hardly advanced in fortitude. But he should aim to write an orderly discussion supported by evidence. since that time. summaries of one kind or another may be indispensable. or group of words. though it has advanced in many other ways. or the opening situation. one of the Italian mariners whom the decline of their own republics had put at the service of the world and of adventure. Humanity. that is. Because of its hardness. he will as a rule do better not to take them up singly in chronological order. in handbooks of literature. as it is in the second example. in newspapers. He may ﬁnd it necessary to devote one or two sentences to indicating the subject.
. Any element in the sentence. to the sentences of a paragraph. A subject coming ﬁrst in its sentence may be emphatic. the emphasis upon kings arises largely from its meaning and from the context. 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. fretted by the action of nearly three thousand years. and to the paragraphs of a composition. but hardly by its position alone. So vast and rude. becomes emphatic when placed ﬁrst. like works of nature. the subject of a sentence must take the position of the predicate. at ﬁrst sight. other than the subject. Great kings worshipped at his shrine.29 The other prominent position in the sentence is the beginning. In the sentence. the fragments of this architecture may often seem. Deceit or treachery he could never forgive. Through the middle of the valley ﬂowed a winding stream. To receive special emphasis.
30 CHAPTER III. ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION .
A sentence containing an expression in parenthesis is punctuated. 1918 Rule 3 Chapter XII 352d Infantry Parentheses.” 31 . if using ruled paper. begin on the ﬁrst line. are introduced by a colon and enclosed in quotation marks. Formal quotations. The expression within is punctuated as if it stood by itself. or its equivalent in space. but he had left town. Leave a blank line. Do not spell out dates or other serial numbers. exactly as if the expression in parenthesis were absent. except that the ﬁnal stop is omitted unless it is a question mark or an exclamation point. outside of the marks of parenthesis. He declares (and why should we doubt his good faith?) that he is now certain of success. Numerals. cited as documentary evidence. I went to his house yesterday (my third attempt to see him). as may be appropriate.Chapter IV A FEW MATTERS OF FORM Headings. Write them in ﬁgures or in Roman notation. the ﬁnal stop comes before the last mark of parenthesis. (When a wholly detached expression or sentence is parenthesized. On succeeding pages. August 9.) Quotations. after the title or heading of a manuscript. The provision of the Constitution is: “No tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any state.
The same is true of colloquialisms and slang. giving the full forms in an alphabetical list at the end. I recall the maxim of La Rochefoucauld. are begun on a fresh line and centred. In the second scene of the third act In III.” Quotations of an entire line. Hamlet is placed under guard (IV. He lives far from the madding crowd.ii in parenthesis at the proper place in the sentence) After the killing of Polonius. volume. simply insert III. But to be young was very heaven! Quotations introduced by that are regarded as in indirect discourse and not enclosed in quotation marks. page. “Art is an imitation of nature. book. Proverbial expressions and familiar phrases of literary origin require no quotation marks. 14). . not in the body of the sentence. Keats declares that beauty is truth. line. “Gratitude is a lively sense of beneﬁts to come. Wordsworth’s enthusiasm for the Revolution was at ﬁrst unbounded: Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive. In scholarly work requiring exact references. give the references in parenthesis or in footnotes. or more. of verse. Punctuate as indicated below.” Aristotle says. 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.ii (still better.32 CHAPTER IV. As a general practice. These are the times that try men’s souls. truth beauty. abbreviate titles that occur frequently. but not enclosed in quotation marks. References. except when referring by only one of them. ii. Omit the words act. scene.
Dickens’s Tale of Two Cities.iii. For the titles of literary works. the Odyssey. except in writing for a periodical that follows a different practice. To a Skylark. some using italics with capitalized initials. 264-267. Omit initial A or The from titles when you place the possessive before them. . III. 155-161 Titles.iii. The Iliad. Use italics (indicated in manuscript by underscoring).33 2 Samuel i:17-27 Othello II. The usage of editors and publishers varies. A Tale of Two Cities. The Newcomes. others using Roman with capitalized initials and with or without quotation marks. scholarly usage prefers italics with cap italized initials. As You Like It.
A FEW MATTERS OF FORM .34 CHAPTER IV.
Case. In many cases.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. Takes the inﬁnitive without to. My opinion is as good or better than his. It has rarely been the case that any mistake has been made. 35 Many of the rooms were poorly ventilated. Expressions of this type should be corrected by rearranging the sentence. Bid. The past tense is bade. the commonplaces of careless writing. Whether is sufﬁcient. As illustrated under Feature. but the replacement of vague generality by deﬁnite statement. “Agreed. the proper correction is likely to be not the replacement of one word or set of words by another. usual state of affairs. As good or better than.” In other uses better avoided. Idiomatic in familiar speech as a detached phrase in the sense. the rooms were poorly ventilated.” or “Go ahead. or better (if not better). . As to whether. the word is usually unnecessary.) All right.” In these two senses. My opinion is as good as his. The Concise Oxford Dictionary begins its deﬁnition of this word: “instance of a thing’s occurring. Always written as two words. Few mistakes have been made. see under Rule 13.
68-71. bad in speech. is even worse in writing. Clever. Not followed by as when it means. to intensify any and every statement. between objects regarded as essentially of the same order.” Dependable. The Art of Writing. Due to. trustworthy. due to carelessness. Often simply redundant.” “losses due to preventable ﬁres. as verb. to a drama. A needless substitute for reliable. in adverbial phrases: “He lost the ﬁrst game. pp. May be used with a dependent clause if this sense is clearly involved: “He claimed that he was the sole surviving heir. used from a mere habit of wordiness.” “very delicate . Consider. Incorrectly used for through. A mannerism of this kind. Certainly. vb. and Quiller-Couch. With object-noun. Paris has been compared to ancient Athens. which means “to inﬂuence”). “believe to be. or charge. Acts of a hostile character Hostile acts Claim.” “I consider him thoroughly competent. As noun. because of. much as others use very. and other arts: “an Oriental effect. music. Suggestions to Authors. or owing to. means to bring about. To compare to is to point out or imply resemblances. As noun. painting. to a battle.) Not to be used as a substitute for declare. Thus life has been compared to a pilgrimage. to compare with is mainly to point out differences. means result. “The lecturer considered Cromwell ﬁrst as soldier and second as administrator.” (But even here. Character.” “effects in pale green. “claimed to be” would be better.” Compare. 103-106.” where “considered” means “examined” or “discussed.36 CHAPTER V. it may be compared with modern London.” Effect.” In correct use related as predicate or as modiﬁer to a particular noun: “This invention is due to Edison. WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS COMMONLY MISUSED See Wood. pp. often loosely used in perfunctory writing about fashions. between objects regarded as essentially of different order. accomplish (not to be confused with affect. it is best restricted to ingenuity displayed in small matters. maintain. means lay claim to. Congress may be compared with the British Parliament. Compare. This word has been greatly overused. Used indiscriminately by some speakers.
fasten. (Better use the same number of words to tell what Miss A. for example. sang. He won the match by being better trained. or any similar expression. etc. In writing restrict it to its literary senses. or that the climate of California is delightful. Feature. Colloquial in America for arrange. Heavy artillery is becoming an increasingly important factor in deciding battles. are not properly facts. On the formula the fact that. and so forth. see under Rule 13.37 effects. Another hackneyed word. the expressions of which it forms part can usually be replaced by something more direct and idiomatic. Use this word only of matters of a kind capable of direct veriﬁcation. prepare. to be avoided. . like factor it usually adds nothing to the sentence in which it occurs. or immaterial words at the end of a quotation. But such conclusions as that Napoleon was the greatest of modern generals. that lead melts at a certain temperature. As a verb. not of matters of judgment. make ﬁrm or immovable. Factor.) A feature of the entertainment especially worthy of mention was the singing of Miss A. At the end of a list introduced by such as.” “broad effects. Fix. Etc. Equivalent to and the rest. in the advertising sense of offer as a special attraction. His superior training was the great factor in his winning the match. if the reader would be left in doubt as to any important particulars. A hackneyed word.” “a charming effect was produced by. is incorrect. etc. Not to be used of persons. Heavy artillery is playing a larger and larger part in deciding battles.” The writer who has a deﬁnite meaning to express will not take refuge in such vagueness. Fact. and hence not to be used if one of these would be insufﬁcient. that is. That a particular event happened on a given date. mend. or if the programme has already been given. however incontestable they may be.” “subtle effects. are facts. Least open to objection when it represents the last terms of a list already given in full. to tell something of how she sang.
also spoke. it means in whatever way or to whatever extent. thought. I have always wanted to visit Spain. is something like a collective noun. B. conduct. He is a man who is very ambitious. When however comes ﬁrst.38 CHAPTER V. He had less men than in the previous campaign. Line.” It is. for something like (before nouns). he will probably do as he thinks best. and less is thought of as meaning a less quantity or amount. . He had fewer men than in the previous campaign. also spoke along the same lines. He is very ambitious. “where the round number. along these lines. to the same effect. he never lost heart. that a writer who aims at freshness or originality had better discard it entirely. Mr. However discouraging the prospect. fewer to number. However. we succeeded in reaching camp. Kind of. however. not to come ﬁrst in its sentence or clause. Not to be used as a substitute for rather (before adjectives and verbs). Spain is a country which I have always wanted to visit. A common type of redundant expression. At last.” “His troubles are fewer than mine” means “His troubles are not so numerous as mine. particularly in the phrase along these lines. The roads were almost impassable. see Rule 13. or except in familiar style. However you advise him. In the meaning nevertheless. we at last succeeded in reaching camp. Restrict it to its literal sense: “Amber is a kind of fossil resin. Line in the sense of course of procedure. WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS COMMONLY MISUSED He is a man who. The roads were almost impassable. is allowable. “The signers of the petition were less than a hundred. Should not be misused for fewer. Mr. B. but has been so much overworked. Less. However. however. a hundred.” The same holds true of sort of. correct to say. “His troubles are less than mine” means “His troubles are not so great as mine.” “I dislike that kind of notoriety. Less refers to quantity.
make up. or the habits of squirrels. though the analogy of close by and hard by seems to justify it. each distinguishable in meaning from the simple verb. dry up. but actually less so. The same holds true of try out.” “Switzerland is . the reader cannot tell whether the poems have to do with natural scenery. use neighboring. Meant to be more emphatic than lose. Retain the and in this and similar expressions. With a number of verbs. register up. if not better. Not to be used for almost. literally. Acts of a hostile natureHostile acts Often vaguely used in such expressions as “a lover of nature. The modern word is often. the untracked wilderness. One hundred and one.39 He is studying along the line of French literature. A literal ﬂood of abuse Literally dead with fatigue A ﬂood of abuse Almost dead with fatigue (dead tired) Lose out. etc. the sunset. because of its commonness. run out. Most everybody Most all the time Almost everybody Almost all the time Nature. no longer in good use. or near at hand. Often simply redundant. ofttimes. Archaic forms. out and up form idiomatic combinations: ﬁnd out. win out. “One of the most interesting developments of modern science is. One of the most. as. Avoid beginning essays or paragraphs with this formula. rural life. is as good. sign up. Often incorrectly used in support of exaggeration or violent metaphor. used like character. Not to be used as an adjective. and others.” Unless more speciﬁc statements follow. in accordance with the unvarying usage of English prose from Old English times. Literal. Near by. Oftentimes. He is studying French literature. turn out. not yet fully accepted as good English. cheer up. Most. Near. Lose out is not. Adverbial phrase..” “poems about nature.
from the public comes artistic appreciation or commercial patronage. From the people comes political support or opposition. He owned Respective. respectively. Means a stage of transition or development: “the phases of the moon. Not to be used as a mere substitute for have or own. The one mile and two mile runs were won by Jones and by Cummings. Works of ﬁction are listed under the names of their authors.” “so delightful. Another phase of the subject Another point other question) (an- Possess. In some kinds of formal writing. Sort of. The people is a political term. in writing. He was the fortunate possessor of He had great courage (was very brave). WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS COMMONLY MISUSED one of the most interesting countries of Europe. Avoid. but it should not appear in writing on ordinary subjects. See under Kind of. not to be confused with the public. the use of so as an intensiﬁer: “so good. He possessed great courage.” Not to be used for aspect or topic.” “the last phase. in place of persons. The one mile and two mile runs were won by Jones and Cummings respectively. Works of ﬁction are listed under the names of their respective authors. see Rule 4. as in geometrical proofs. how many “people” would be left? Phase.” On the use of so to introduce clauses. The word people is not to be used with words of number. it is simply threadbare and forcible-feeble. it may be necessary to use respectively. People. So. These words may usually be omitted with advantage.” “so warm. If of “six people” ﬁve went away. .” There is nothing wrong in this.40 CHAPTER V.
somebody. Some bashful speakers even say. Viewpoint. . each one. Write point of view. Avoid the indiscriminate use of this word for and. “Thanking you.” or to avoid committing oneself to either. unless the antecedent is or must be feminine. as. Dormitories A student Liked by the students The students passed resolutions. Dayton has adopted the commission system of government. for view or opinion. “It will not be worth my while to write to you again. etc. everybody. some one. meaning no more than the simple word students. as many do. use words strong in themselves. every one. the intention being either to avoid the awkward “he or she. Where emphasis is necessary. which.” Use he with all the above words. “A friend of mine told me that they. either from a mere desire to vary the connective. remark. is the use of the plural pronoun with the antecedent anybody.” and if the favor which you have requested is granted. The dormitory system Dayton has adopted government by commission. A common inaccuracy is the use of the plural pronoun when the antecedent is a distributive expression such as each. Many writers use it frequently as a substitute for and or but. many a man. but with even less justiﬁcation. though implying more than one person. Use this word sparingly. Similar to this. write a letter of acknowledgment. They. A needless and awkward expression. Thanking you in advance. Frequently used without need. “He refused to state his objections.41 State. but do not misuse this. or from uncertainty which of the two connectives is the more appropriate. In this use it is best replaced by a semicolon. A member of the student body Popular with the student body The student body passed resolutions.” Simply write. Restrict it to the sense of express fully or clearly. any one. Very. While. and although. System. Not to be used as a mere substitute for say. but. requires the pronoun to be in the singular.” Student body. This sounds as if the writer meant.
I wish it were employed in a better cause. The ofﬁce and salesrooms are on the ground ﬂoor. Although the temperature reaches 90 or 95 degrees in the daytime. shows why the use of while is incorrect. at the same time I wish it were employed in a better cause. The temperature reaches 90 or 95 degrees in the daytime. the writer will do well to use while only with strict literalness. WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS COMMONLY MISUSED This is entirely correct. The ofﬁce and salesrooms are on the ground ﬂoor. the rest of the building is devoted to manufacturing. at the same time the nights are often chilly. While I admire his energy. Its use as a virtual equivalent of although is allowable in sentences where this leads to no ambiguity or absurdity. Compare: While the temperature reaches 90 or 95 degrees in the daytime. I admire his energy. as shown by the paraphrase. while the rest of the building is devoted to manufacturing. the nights are often chilly. His brother. in the sense of during the time that. who he said would send him the money The man who (that) he thought was his friend (whom he thought his friend) . the nights are often chilly. Often incorrectly used for who before he said or similar expressions.42 CHAPTER V. Whom. The paraphrase. when it is really the subject of a following verb. whom he said would send him the money The man whom he thought was his friend His brother. In general.
To express habitual or repeated action. not would. Once a year he visited the old mansion. the past tense.43 Worth while. . A conditional statement in the ﬁrst person requires should. 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. do not repay reading). not would. without would. Overworked as a term of vague approval and (with not) of disapproval. more emphatic. is usually sufﬁcient. I should not have succeeded without his help. Strictly applicable only to actions: “Is it worth while to telegraph?” His books are not worth reading (not worth one’s while to read. Would. and from its brevity. He predicted that before long we should have a great surprise. Once a year he would visit the old mansion. His books are not worth while.
WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS COMMONLY MISUSED .44 CHAPTER V.
some time (except the sense of formerly) as two words.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. to-morrow (but not together) with hyphen. T HE E ND 45 . some one. Write any one. to-night. every one.
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