Never split an infinitive.
I want to carefully consider all of the options
presented to me.
this rule all of the time will make your prose unnecessarily academic
and stuffy. When it doubt, don't split the infinitive. But if splitting
the infinitive conveys your meaning more clearly and concisely, split
Active verbs are always better than passive verbs.
Jerry was robbed. (The active alternative:
Somebody robbed Jerry.)
active verbs are better. In the following cases, however, passive tense
works just fine.
you dont want to mention who did it
you dont know who did it
who did it is irrelevant
the passive voice places the emphasis where you want it
Never start a sentence with a conjunction
(and, or, but).
And then he left, never
a sentence with a conjunction can help transition from one idea to another
or add a dramatic tone to a passage. If you start sentences this way
too often, your paragraphs will sound like one long run-on sentence.
Use conjunctions at the start of sentences judiciously.
Never start a sentence with there are or there is.
There is no excuse for your behavior.
that begin with there are and there is are usually
weak sentences in need of a stronger noun. But making a conscious decision
to start a sentence this way to place emphasis on specific words is
perfectly acceptable. "Your behavior is inexcusable" or "You
have no excuse for your behavior" just don't sound as stern as
the sentence above.
Never end a sentence with a preposition.
What is he pointing at?
holdover from the 18th century has no place in modern language. Imagine
how stilted and formal our language would be if we followed this rule!
According to Words into Type, Winston Churchill once said,
"This is the kind of nonsense up with which I will not put"
in defense of the terminal preposition.
Always use more than instead of over with numbers.
relic is over 300 years old.
more than and in excess of can all be used with numbers.
Let your ear, rather than a rigid rule, be your guide.
is plural, so the verb must always be plural.
The data proves
several other plural words with Latin origins, data is now
accepted as either singular or plural, as any up-to-date dictionary
will confirm. When was the last time you heard someone use the word
datum (the singular of data) in a sentence?
definitive proof that these rules are outdated? Check out these respected
Is I by Patricia T. O'Connor, 1996
split infinitives, page 182
active versus passive voice, page 187
starting with a conjunction, page 184
there is and there are, page 193
ending with a preposition, page 183
more than and over, page 189
data as singular and plural, page 183
Into Type, 3rd edition, 1974
split infinitives, page 386
active versus passive voice, page 341
there is and there are, page 355
ending with a preposition, page 381
more than and over, page 427
of Style, Strunk and White, 3rd edition, 1979
split infinitives, page 78
active versus passive voice, page 18
ending with a preposition, page 77
Manual of Style, 14th edition, 1993
split infinitives, page 76
Press Stylebook and Libel Manual, 1992
split infinitives, page 219
more than and over, page 155
data as singular and plural, page 44