Dreyer's English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style

Luis Martínez

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  • the Four C’s, shall we? Convention. Consensus. Clarity. Comprehension.
  • One of the best ways to determine whether your prose is well-constructed is to read it aloud. A sentence that can’t be readily voiced is a sentence that likely needs to be rewritten.
  • A good sentence, I find myself saying frequently, is one that the reader can follow from beginning to end, no matter how long it is, without having to double back in confusion because the writer misused or omitted a key piece of punctuation, chose a vague or misleading pronoun, or in some other way engaged in inadvertent misdirection.
  • Ending a sentence with a preposition (as, at, by, for, from, of, etc.*6) isn’t always such a hot idea, mostly because a sentence should, when it can, aim for a powerful finale and not simply dribble off like an old man’s unhappy micturition.
  • In a sentence written in the passive voice, the thing that is acted upon is frontloaded, and the thing doing the acting comes at the end.
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