How to write good

Please forward to the editors of China Daily and the English editions of Xinhua News:

How To Write Good in English

All writers should learn such way-goodnesses as these: Comparisons are as bad as cliches. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.  Be more or less specific.  And much, much extra!  Here are seveal very important but often forgotten rules of English:

Avoid alliteration.  Always.

Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.

Avoid cliches like the plague.  (They’re old hat.)

Employ the vernacular.

Eschew ampersands & abbreviations.

Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.

It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.

Contractions aren’t necessary.

Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.

One should never generalize.

Eliminate quotations.  As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “I hate quotations.  Tell me what you know.”

Comparisons are just as bad as cliches.

Don’t be redundant.  Don’t use more words than necessary.  It’s highly superfluous.

Be more or less specific.

Understatement is always best.

Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

One-word sentences?  Eliminate.

Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.

The passive voice is to be avoided.

Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.

Even is a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.

Who needs rhetorical questions?

(Source:  various anonymous)

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6 Responses to How to write good

  1. justrecently says:

    1. Understatement works best in contrast to exaggerations. Exaggerations are the hot air your blog post can spread its wings over with cool understatement.
    2. Quotations are important. You can’t re-invent the world with every post, and if a quotation is perfect, you shouldn’t try to refurbish it in your own words.
    3. A one-word sentence can make an essay or a post a better read. But in the future, I might consider “Oh, shit” instead of “Shit”.

  2. Ned Kelly says:

    @ JR,

    1. Understatement works best in contrast to exaggerations. Exaggerations are the hot air your blog post can spread its wings over with cool understatement.

    Example: “China’s claim to be 5,000 years old is rather new.”

    2. Quotations are important. You can’t re-invent the world with every post, and if a quotation is perfect, you shouldn’t try to refurbish it in your own words.

    Example: Chairman Mao said, “A certain amount of heat can turn an egg into a chicken, but no amount of heat can turn a stone into a chicken.” That is impossible to paraphrase.

    3. A one-word sentence can make an essay or a post a better read. But in the future, I might consider “Oh, shit” instead of “Shit”.

    GOOD!

  3. C.A. Yeung says:

    To those guys who get 50 cents every time they leave a comment at the Time China Blog:

    One can’t pick and use indefinite and definite articles at random as one pleases:

    The first time you speak of something use “a or an”. The next time you repeat the same object use “the”.

    Don’t use an article with countries, states, counties, provinces, lakes and mountains, or when you are speaking about things in general, or if you are referring to meals, places, and transport.

    Use an article with bodies of water, oceans and seas.

    So if you want to tell your friends something about Bi Hua, you can say:

    “Bi Hua works as a spy. She is the spy who is under investigation for leaking state secret. The investigation soon becomes a topic of hot gossip at the other side of the Pacific Ocean. China refuses to comment.”

  4. MyLaowai says:

    My English is very well.

  5. justrecently says:

    “Example: China’s claim to be 5,000 years old is rather new.”
    Off cause. Becourse last year, it was already 4999 years olt.

  6. Ned Kelly says:

    Catherine, why you are always don’t understand China on the human right?

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