This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
1. When the usage is divided as to any particular words or phrases, and when one of the expressions is susceptible of different meanings, while the other admits of only one signification, the expression which is strictly of one meaning should be preferred.
2. In doubtful cases, analogy should be regarded.
3. When expressions are in other respects equal, that should be preferred which is most agreeable to the ear.
4. When none of the preceding rules takes place, regard should be had to simplicity.
5. All words and phrases, particularly harsh and not absolutely necessary, should be dismissed.
6. When the etymology plainly points to a different signification from what the word bears, propriety and simplicity require its dismission.
7. When words become obsolete,or are never used but in particular phrases, they should be repudiated, as they give the style an air of vulgarity and cant, when this general disuse renders them obscure.
8. All words and phrases which analyzed grammatically, include an imperfection of speech, should be dismissed.
9. All expressions which, according to the established rules of language, either have no meaning, or involve a contradiction, or according to the fair construction of the words, convey a meaning different from the intention of the speaker, should be dismissed.
Paragraphs. - One or more sentences form a paragraph. When a deviation or change is made in the subject, a new paragraph is commenced. The first line of each paragraph in writing should commence about one inch from the left side of the sheet. Preserve a space half an inch in width between the left of the writing and the edge of the sheet. Write as close to the right edge of the sheet as possible. When lack of space prevents the completion of a word on the line, place the hyphen (-) at the end of the line and follow with the remaining syllables on the next line. Words may be divided, but never divide syllables.
1. The principal words in a sentence should be placed where they will make the most striking impression.
2. A weaker assertion or argument should not follow a stronger one.
3. The separation of the preposition from the noun which it governs, should be avoided.
4. Concluding the sentence with an adverb, preposition, or other insignificant words, lessens the strength of the sentence.
Order of Arrangement. - Young writers will find it well to prepare a memorandum of the subjects they wish to treat on a separate slip of paper, and the points they wish to make relating to each subject. Having the subjects clearly fixed in the mind, they should commence with the least important and follow through to the end, considering the most important at the close.