Almost every one can learn to write cleariy - that is, so that his meaning may be clear - so far, at least, as clearness depends upon the arrangement of words. Elegance, force and variety of Style are far more difficult to acquire; but the observance of a few simple rules will assist much in expressing clearly our ideas. Every one who has occasion to express in writing his thoughts for the entertainment of himself or friends, or to write social or business letters, should at least endeavor to express clearly what he thinks. Of course, this will not take the place of ideas, but will make the ideas of the most practical service.
(1) Use Words In Their Proper Meaning
Refer to the dictionary for doubtful cases.
Do not use address for direct, balance for remainder, beat for excel, can for may, couple for two, dangerous for seriously sick, drive for ride, expect for suppose or believe, gent for gentleman, help for avoid, mad for angry, reputation for character, settle for pay.
(2) Avoid exaggerations - as, awfully, frightfully, stupendous and similar words where "much" or "very" are meant.
(3) When using the Relative Pronoun, use "who" and "whom" in referring to persons; which," referring to animals, things and young children, and "that" for both animals and things.
(4) Observe that appropriate prepositions must follow certain words.
As this rule is constantly violated, a list of a few common adjectives and verbs is here presented, together with the preposi-sitions properly used in connection with them.
Accompanied with an inanimate object; by anything that has life.
Agree with a person; to a proposition from another; upon a thing among ourselves.
Analogy between (when two objects follow the preposition); to, with (when one of the substantives precedes the verb).
Arrive at, in.
Attended with an inanimate object; by anything that has life.
Averse to, from.
Charge on a person ; with a thing.
Compare with (in respect of quality); to (for the sake of illustration).
Conversant with men; with or in things; about and among are sometimes used.
Copy after a person ; from a thing.
Die of a disease ; by an instrument or violence.
Disappointed of what we fail to obtain ; in what does not answer our expectations, when obtained.
Expert in, at.
Reconcile (in friendship) to; (to make consistent) with.
Reduce (subdue) under; (in other cases) to.
Between is applicable to two objects only ; among, to three or more. " A father divided a portion of his property between his two sons ; the rest he distributed among the poor."
In must not be used for into, after verbs denoting entrance. " ' Come into (not in) my parlor, said the spider to the fly.' "
In arranging the words of a sentence, observe
(1) Emphatic words must stand in emphatic positions ; i. e., for the most part, at the beginning or at the end of the sentence.
(2) Unemphatic words must, as a rule, be kept from the end.
(3) An interrogation sometimes gives emphasis.
(4) The Subject, if unusually emphatic, should often be transferred from the beginning of the. sentence.
(5) The Object is sometimes placed before the Verb for emphasis.
(6) Where several words are emphatic, make it clear which is the most emphatic. Emphasis can sometimes be given by adding an epithet, or an intensifying word.
(7) Words should be as near as possible to the words with which they are grammatically connected.
(8) Adverbs should be placed next to the words they are intended to qualify.
(9) When "not only" precedes "but also," see that each is followed by the same part of speech.
THE WEALTH OF COMMERCE
A view of shipping in New York Harbor, with the East River Bridge in the background. The vast output of the productions of the farm, the factory and the mill require great fleels of ships to transport them to other countries. They bring in return the wealth of other lands to our shores. This exchange of goods constitutes the wealth of commerce
(10) "At least," "always," and other adverbial adjuncts, sometimes produce ambiguity.
(11) Nouns should be placed near the nouns that they define.
(12) Pronouns should follow the nouns to which they refer, without the intervention of any other noun.