Category : Grammar and Usage

More White Writing (And Editing Tips)

Let’s return to Letters of E. B. White (HarperCollins 2006) to find out how to become better writers.  White should know, and he shows us, without really trying, in many of these letters.  It’s all in the concrete details. .          .          . But a little stage-setting first.  One of White’s…

White Writing

I  finished reading some time back, after several weeks because a collection of letters lends itself to being consumed in many small bites, Letters of E. B. White, Revised Edition (HarperCollins, 2006).  And I’m going to be a better writer for it, which would, I believe, have pleased White, who…

Go Ahead. Do It. Split It!

We all remember that adamant injunction from our school days: “Never split an infinitive.” I’ve read that this rule comes from the prescriptive pedants who were brought up on Latin. In Latin, of course, you can’t split an infinitive . . . because it’s one word. But we’re not ancient…

In Memoriam – For My Old Friend the Colon Who Has Passed and Been Supplanted by a Redundant Imposter

Two elegant little dots, one poised precariously over the other, suspended and balanced and slightly portentous, together pleasingly symmetrical, ready to birth the following illustration or expansion: that’s my old friend the colon. But she’s gone now. And now – now – in her place is that horizontally harsh dash –…