Writing Rules

writing rules


1) A lot is two words

2) Number rule:  Write out 1 - 10; start numbers at 11.  Never start a sentence with a number.

3) Check spelling!

4) All sentences begin with a capital letter and end with some type of punctuation.

5) Don’t overuse exclamation points!!!!!!!! They should not be used after every sentence.

6)  Avoid run-on sentences, which are never ending sentences that can be broken down into at least two sentences.  Once you discover a run-on sentence, the three ways to fix it are: a semi-colon, a period, or a conjunction.

7)  The “Useless Information Rule” - Never tell the reader that you will tell them or that you have told them.  The following are examples of what NOT to do:

  • Hi, my name is _________ and I’m going to tell you about. . .

  • Let me explain the reasons why . . .

  • This is why. . .

  • Here are some things that. . .

  • And that is why. . .

  • I hope you liked my essay

8)  Never use fragments in formal writing.  A fragment is an incomplete sentence.

9)  Never use the word “got” in your writing.

10) Never start a sentence with “Well,” ‘Yes,” or “No.”

11)  Never use & or + - write out the word “and”

12)  Don’t use slang in formal writing, but if you absolutely must, put it in quotes.

13)  “The I-I-I-I-I Rule” - Never start a group of sentences in a row with the same word.  Vary your sentence beginnings.

14)  Watch out for awkward wording.  Example:  On me my brother is always picking.  Corrected example:  My brother is always picking on me.  Tip:  have someone read your writing out loud to you; sometimes it’s easier to “hear” the awkward wording.

15)  Don’t use parenthesis in formal writing.

16)  Watch your word choice.  For example:  “We have excluded rights to the vacation home.”  “excluded” is not the right word choice--”exclusive” is what the writer should have said.

17)  Make sure your paragraph/essay  is not too wordy.  Check for excess words.  Keep it simple!

18)  Underline novel titles; short story titles belong in quotes.

19)  Be careful how you use affect and effect.  Affect is a verb.  Effect is a noun.  You affect and effect.

20) Never use pronouns I, we, you, they etc.) in formal paragraphs or essays.

21)  Never start a sentence with a conjunction (for example:  and, but, or, so,)Don’t switch verb tense in a piece of writing.  Choose past, present, or future and stay with it.

22)  Don’t switch verb tense in a piece of writing.  Choose past, present, or future and stay with it.

23)  Subjects and pronouns (also called antecedents) must agree.  For example:  A friend will always invite you to their house.  This is wrong because “a friend” is singular, so therefore the pronoun that replaces it later in the sentence must also be singular.  Corrected example:  A friend will always invite you to his/her house.

24) Never end a sentence with a preposition.  (For example:  with, in, on. . .)

25) Never write directly to the reader.