I bought this book for almost two years, but never finished reading it. Appealing stories always distract me. I take seriously to enhance my writing this time. The fellowing is my note.
Part One: 11 principles of usage 1. Form the possessive singular of nous by adding 's. (whatever the final consonant) For ancient proper name, they are commonly replaced by the XX of XX, like the laws of Moses
2. In a series of three or more terms with a single conjunction, use a comma after each term except the last. (red, white, and blue) Exceptional only for business firms.(Little, Brown and Company)
3. Enclose parenthetic expressions between commas. Exceptional for restrictive clauses. (For restrictive clauses, you cannot split them into two sentence, like People who stand there could not hear.)
4. Place a comma before a conjunction introducing an independent clause. When the subject is the same for both clauses and is expressed only once, a comma is useful if the connective is but. For and, comma could be omitted.
5. Do not join independent clauses with a comma. Semicolon is the proper one. (It is almost eleven clock; I need to go sleep.) Exceptional for very short and alike forms. (Man proposes, God disposes.)
6.Do not break sentences in two, which means do not use periods for commas.
7.Use a colon after an independent clause to introduce a list of particulars, an appositive, an amplification, or an illustrative quotation. Examples of colon's functions: 1. Dear X: 2. title: a subtitle
8. Use a dash to set off an abrupt break or interruption and to announce a long appositive or summary.
9. The number of the subject determines the number of the verb. A common blunder: one of the brilliant scientists who have solved this problem (have, not has) 'None of' is different from 'one of': none of us is perfect ( none means 'no one' or 'not one'.)
10. Use the proper case of pronouns. Tom is the candidate whom we think will win ==> Tom is the candidate who we think will win (we think he will win) Tom is the candidate who we hope to elect ==> Tom is the candidate whom we hope to elect. (we hope to elect him)
Do you mind me answering the phone? (the person) Do you mind my answering the phone? (the action)
11. A participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence must refer to the grammatical subject.
Part II: Principles of Composition 12. Choose a suitable design and hold to it. ???I am confused with the shape or design here. What is it?
13. Make the paragraph the unit of composition. - A brief description, a brief book review and other such single ideas is best written in a single paragraph. - The beginning of each paragraph is a signal that a new step in the development of the subject has been reached. - As a rule, single sentences should not be written or printed as paragraphs, unless it is in a dialogue. - As another rule, begin each paragraph either with a sentence that suggests the topic or with a sentence that helps the transition. - Sometimes, breaking long paragons in two is often a visual help.
14. Use the active voice. When a sentence is made stronger, it usually becomes shorter. For example, The reason he left home was that he wanted to be independent. (passive) ==> His desire of independence compelled him to leave home.(active)
15. Put statements in positive form. - Make definite assertions: He was not very on time ==> He usually came late. - As a rule, it is better to express even a negative in positive form. not important ==> trifling; did not have much confidence on ==> distrusted - Placing negative and positive in opposition makes for a stronger structure. Not charity, but simple justice. - Save the auxiliaries 'would, should, could, may, might and can' for situations involving real uncertainty. If you would ....., we would be happy to....==> If you will ....., we shall be happy to.......
16. Use definite, specific, concrete language. (To call up pictures) Prefer the specific to the general, the definite to the vague, the concrete to the abstract. Example: A period of unfavourable weather set in. ==> It rained every day for a week. (Hahaha^_^)
17. Omit needless words he is a man who ==> he ; this is a girl that ==> this girl ; his dog is a pretty one ==> his dog is pretty
18. Avoid a succession of loose sentences. Especially to a certain type: those consisting of two clauses, the second introduced by a conjunction or relative.
19. Express coordinate ideas in similar form. Make parallel constructions unless repeating or emphasising the same statement. Follow certain idiomatic uses to construct sentences.
20. Keep related words together. As a rule, the subject of sentence and the principal verb should not be separated by a phrase or clause that can be transferred to the beginning. ??? Sometimes, the interruption is a deliberate device for creating suspense. The relative pronoun should come, in most instances, immediately after its antecedent, There was a stir in the audience that suggested disapproval.==> A stir that suggested disapproval swept the audience, Bad example: A proposal to amend the Sherman Act, which has been variously judged. (It is not clear whether it is the proposal or the Act that has been variously judged.)
21. In summaries, keep to one tense.
22. Place the emphatic words of a sentence at the end. ??? I confused why it could not be at the beginning. It also says this rule applies equally to the words of a sentence, to the sentences of a paragraph, and to the paragraphs of a composition.