11 Rules of Writing

  1. To join two independent clauses, use a comma followed by a conjunction, a semicolon alone, or a semicolon followed by a sentence modifier.
  2. Use commas to bracket nonrestrictive phrases, which are not essential to the sentence’s meaning.
  3. Do not use commas to bracket phrases that are essential to a sentence’s meaning.
  4. When beginning a sentence with an introductory phrase or an introductory (dependent) clause, include a comma.
  5. To indicate possession, end a singular noun with an apostrophe followed by an « s ». Otherwise, the noun’s form seems plural.
  6. Use proper punctuation to integrate a quotation into a sentence. If the introductory material is an independent clause, add the quotation after a colon. If the introductory material ends in « thinks, » « saying, » or some other verb indicating expression, use a comma.
  7. Make the subject and verb agree with each other, not with a word that comes between them.
  8. Be sure that a pronoun, a participial phrase, or an appositive refers clearly to the proper subject.
  9. Use parallel construction to make a strong point and create a smooth flow.
  10. Use the active voice unless you specifically need to use the passive.
  11. Omit unnecessary words.