My first editor in the newspaper business offers some tongue-in-cheek grammar and usage tips. (Printed with permission.)
By Gilbert Moore
As a longtime editor, I feel an obligation to pass along these rules of good grammar and usage:
11. If I have told you once, I’ve told you a gazillion times; Do not exaggerate.
2. If one exclamation point is good, three or four are far better!!!!!
3. There is no such word as ain’t, even though the non-word ain’t is in all the dictionaries. I ain’t kidding.
4. You should remember and believe everything you were taught in school about grammar. Especially if there is no rational backup anywhere for the rule.
5. This is a judgment that can’t be disputed. There is only one way to spell a word. At least that’s my judgement.
6. Never ever split an infinitive. To deliberately split an infinitive is a serious offense.
7. Don’t use contractions. They’re verboten.
8. Be sure to use “may” instead of “can” if you are talking granting permission. You cannot do otherwise.
9; Irregardless of what others say, there is no such word as irregardless.
10; If you want to sound bush league, then CAPITALIZE entire words WITHOUT reason.
11. As it were, to be sure, parenthetically, beware of beginning sentences with superfluous bafflegab.
12. Be sure to never end a sentence with a preposition, no matter whose toes you step on.
13. And remember that you can’t begin a sentence with “and.”
14. Always be formal. Never use informal usages. For instance, if you forget your key and you come home late at night, knock on the front door, and when your spouse says, “Who is it?” say “It is I.” Do NOT say “It’s just me, honey. I forgot my keys.’
15. Hopefuly you will never ever use the word “hopefully,” no matter the provocation. Some old timers are convinced using the word “hopefully” is a major sin.
16. Remember that children are reared and cattle are raised. No matter that the King James Version of the Bible and Shakespeare say you can too raise children.
17. Always remember the proper uses of shall and will even though nobody much remembers the rules nowadays and the best writers never did pay any attention to the shall/will distinction.
18. Just between you and I, many people make hypercorrections — which are incorrect usages caused by trying too hard to be correct.
19. Always be sure you know how to use semicolons they are so often needed in sentences seldom are enough used your sentence consequently meanders all over the place.
20. Be careful to proofread your work. Otherwise you’ll leave words.
21. Correct use of apostrophes is important. Remember that its is a contraction and it’s is possessive.