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 How to write properly in English - Guides

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PostSubject: How to write properly in English - Guides   Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:46 pm

Has anybody come across good practical references for using the English language?

I have come across references to the following (American) books:

  • Woe Is I (2nd ed. 2004) - Patricia T. O'Conner
  • Better English (1956) - Norman Lewis
  • The Elements of Style (4th ed. 2000) - William Strunk & E.B. White
  • Modern English Usage (2nd ed. 1965) - H.W. Fowler
  • Garner's Modern American Usage (2nd. ed. 2003) 0 Bryan A. Garner

Has anybody tried any of the above books? Any recommendations/preferences?
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PostSubject: Re: How to write properly in English - Guides   Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:58 pm

Is there any particular area you're looking to improve? Grammar, punctuation, style etc.?
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PostSubject: Re: How to write properly in English - Guides   Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:01 pm

You won't go wrong if you stick to Fowler. Kingsley Amis wrote a short book called 'The King's English' a few years ago, a briefer, more venomous version of Fowler, very funny in places, but good advice...
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PostSubject: Re: How to write properly in English - Guides   Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:03 pm

Generally: using the language properly, without making unintended mistakes as to the usage of phrases or words, in order to improve accuracy and commuication.

Kinglsey Amis might be good although I seem to recall that he had a low opinion of Irish people.
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PostSubject: Re: How to write properly in English - Guides   Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:07 pm

Obviously it wouldn't rank up there with the rest of the resources, but the Economist Style Guide is a quick and accessible reference guide, might come in handy.

http://www.economist.com/research/styleguide/
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PostSubject: Re: How to write properly in English - Guides   Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:10 pm

The economist style guide is useful indeed. I don't fully trust it though!
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PostSubject: Re: How to write properly in English - Guides   Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:15 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
Generally: using the language properly, without making unintended mistakes as to the usage of phrases or words, in order to improve accuracy and commuication.

Kinglsey Amis might be good although I seem to recall that he had a low opinion of Irish people.

He was a cantankerous right-wing old soak with some repugnant views, but the book is good, particularly if you're a bit of a pronunciation and usage Nazi, as I am...

The BBC has something along the lines of a guide too, I believe...
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PostSubject: Re: How to write properly in English - Guides   Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:21 pm

Quote :
Compare: A is compared with B when you draw attention to the difference. A is compared to B only when you want to stress their similarity. ( “Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?”)

Sadly, a failure to make that distinction actually formed the basis of a thread on p.ie about Barroso's comparison of Ireland with Iceland. The thread was dominated by people complaining that Barroso had compared Ireland to Iceland.
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PostSubject: Re: How to write properly in English - Guides   Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:22 pm

http://www.bbctraining.com/pdfs/newsstyleguide.pdf

It's quite good, a lot of the focus is on the politics of the language used though as opposed to the mechanics and style issues.
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PostSubject: Re: How to write properly in English - Guides   Tue Feb 10, 2009 9:51 pm

Interesting thread. Do you mean we are not supposed to make it up as we go along?
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PostSubject: Re: How to write properly in English - Guides   Tue Feb 10, 2009 11:27 pm

I shall say but this today: STOP PUTTING PREPOSITIONS AT THE END OF SENTENCES!!!
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PostSubject: Re: How to write properly in English - Guides   Tue Feb 10, 2009 11:50 pm

Yehbut nobbut.... Surprised
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PostSubject: Re: How to write properly in English - Guides   Tue Feb 10, 2009 11:58 pm

cactus flower wrote:
Yehbut nobbut.... Surprised

That isn't a proper sentence, cactus. It has no subject, verb or object.
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PostSubject: Re: How to write properly in English - Guides   Wed Feb 11, 2009 12:14 am

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
Yehbut nobbut.... Surprised

That isn't a proper sentence, cactus. It has no subject, verb or object.

yebbut...nobbut...yehbut...nobbut.... Mad
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PostSubject: Re: How to write properly in English - Guides   Wed Feb 11, 2009 12:41 am

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
I shall say but this today: STOP PUTTING PREPOSITIONS AT THE END OF SENTENCES!!!

I'll use whatever I want to end my sentences with.
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PostSubject: Re: How to write properly in English - Guides   Wed Feb 11, 2009 12:47 am

BuachaillBeo wrote:
Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
I shall say but this today: STOP PUTTING PREPOSITIONS AT THE END OF SENTENCES!!!

I'll use whatever I want to end my sentences with.

Who's he saying that to?

Or rather, who's he shouting that at?
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PostSubject: Re: How to write properly in English - Guides   Wed Feb 11, 2009 1:15 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
BuachaillBeo wrote:
Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
I shall say but this today: STOP PUTTING PREPOSITIONS AT THE END OF SENTENCES!!!

I'll use whatever I want to end my sentences with.

Who's he saying that to?

Or rather, who's he shouting that at?

I don't know! but it was a very demanding statement - I wonder did he think about it before.
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PostSubject: Re: How to write properly in English - Guides   Wed Feb 11, 2009 1:20 am

BuachaillBeo wrote:
Auditor #9 wrote:
BuachaillBeo wrote:
Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
I shall say but this today: STOP PUTTING PREPOSITIONS AT THE END OF SENTENCES!!!

I'll use whatever I want to end my sentences with.

Who's he saying that to?

Or rather, who's he shouting that at?

I don't know! but it was a very demanding statement - I wonder did he think about it before.

Just to correct you - "I wonder had he thought about it before"

I really don't know what he said it for.
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PostSubject: Re: How to write properly in English - Guides   Wed Feb 11, 2009 1:29 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
BuachaillBeo wrote:
Auditor #9 wrote:
BuachaillBeo wrote:
Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
I shall say but this today: STOP PUTTING PREPOSITIONS AT THE END OF SENTENCES!!!

I'll use whatever I want to end my sentences with.

Who's he saying that to?

Or rather, who's he shouting that at?

I don't know! but it was a very demanding statement - I wonder did he think about it before.

Just to correct you - "I wonder had he thought about it before"

I really don't know what he said it for.

Ah right, thanks. I'm always afraid of letting grammar mistakes in.
I appreciate the help along.
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PostSubject: Re: How to write properly in English - Guides   Wed Feb 11, 2009 1:37 am

BuachaillBeo wrote:
Auditor #9 wrote:
BuachaillBeo wrote:
Auditor #9 wrote:
BuachaillBeo wrote:
Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
I shall say but this today: STOP PUTTING PREPOSITIONS AT THE END OF SENTENCES!!!

I'll use whatever I want to end my sentences with.

Who's he saying that to?

Or rather, who's he shouting that at?

I don't know! but it was a very demanding statement - I wonder did he think about it before.

Just to correct you - "I wonder had he thought about it before"

I really don't know what he said it for.

Ah right, thanks. I'm always afraid of letting grammar mistakes in.
I appreciate the help along.

Always delighted to help - if you're in the area just drop by.

Or just phone up.
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PostSubject: Re: How to write properly in English - Guides   Wed Feb 11, 2009 1:37 am

In answer to the OP's question, the bible is Strunk and White's 'Elements of Style.'
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PostSubject: Re: How to write properly in English - Guides   Wed Feb 11, 2009 1:39 am

Kate P wrote:
In answer to the OP's question, the bible is Strunk and White's 'Elements of Style.'

Who are you recommending it to?
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PostSubject: Re: How to write properly in English - Guides   Wed Feb 11, 2009 1:43 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
Kate P wrote:
In answer to the OP's question, the bible is Strunk and White's 'Elements of Style.'

Who are you recommending it to?

Anyone I know who writes (and I know a few), has a well-thumbed copy of this in their bag of tricks. Anyone who wants to write well should have it.
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PostSubject: Re: How to write properly in English - Guides   Wed Feb 11, 2009 1:51 am

Kate P wrote:
Auditor #9 wrote:
Kate P wrote:
In answer to the OP's question, the bible is Strunk and White's 'Elements of Style.'

Who are you recommending it to?

Anyone I know who writes (and I know a few), has a well-thumbed copy of this in their bag of tricks. Anyone who wants to write well should have it.

Thanks. Wouldn't mind looking that up.
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PostSubject: Re: How to write properly in English - Guides   Wed Feb 11, 2009 1:59 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
Kate P wrote:
Auditor #9 wrote:
Kate P wrote:
In answer to the OP's question, the bible is Strunk and White's 'Elements of Style.'

Who are you recommending it to?

Anyone I know who writes (and I know a few), has a well-thumbed copy of this in their bag of tricks. Anyone who wants to write well should have it.

Thanks. Wouldn't mind looking that up.

ya, it seems like a handy book to have near.
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