Revised 7-14-13

Hammer & Nail A copyeditor's work is never done. Always working!

Writing Tip: The importance of comprehensive cross-referencing will be covered elsewhere.

"The rule which forbids ending a sentence with a preposition
is the kind of nonsense up with which I will not put."
—Winston Churchill

This Has Been Spell Czeched

Eye halve a spelling checker
It came with my pea sea
It plainly Marc's four my revue
Miss steaks eye Cannes knot sea.

Eye strike a key and type a whirred
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rare lea ever wrong.

Eye have run this poem threw it
I am shore your pleased two no
Its letter perfect awl the weigh
My checker tolled me sew.


It has come to our considered attention that in a large majority of cases, far too many people use a great deal more words than is absolutely necessary when engaged in the practice of writing sentences.

If you proofread and edit your work, you can find that by rereading and editing, a great deal of redundant repetition can be removed and eliminated by rereading, proofreading, and editing, so you should reread and edit to remove and eliminate these redundant repetitions.

A writer must not shift your point of view. If the writer is considerate of the reader, he won't have a problem with ambiguous sentences. If a dependent clause precedes an independent clause put a comma after the dependent clause. But avoid commas, that are not necessary, and don't overuse exclamation marks!!!

In statements involving two word phrases, make an all out effort to use hyphens, but make sure you hyp-henate properly.

Verbs has to agree with their subjects, and the adverb always follows the verb.

This sentence no verb. Which is not a complete sentence, but merely a subordinate clause.

Avoid colloquial stuff, and trendy locutions that sound flaky. Also, always avoid all awkward and affected alliteration.

Unqualified superlatives are the worst of all. Beware of and eschew pompous prolixity, and avoid the utilization of enlarged words when shortened ones will suffice. Avoidification of neologisms strengthenifies your prosification. Avoid using sesquipedalian words. It is not resultful to transform one part of speech into another by prefixing, suffixing, or other alterings. Perform a functional iterative analysis on your work to root out third generation transitional buzz words. The de facto use of foreign phrases vis-a-vis plain English in your written tete-a-tetes is not apropros.

A few more rules for writing:

The passive voice should never be used.

Do not put statements in the negative form.

The writer must not shift your point of view.

And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.

DO NOT overuse exclamation points and all caps to emphasize!!!

Place pronouns as closely as possible, especially in long sentences, as of
10 or more words, to their antecedents.

If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.

Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.

Always pick on the correct idiom.

Never use a preposition to end a sentence with.

Don't verb nouns.

Don't never use no double negatives.

Each pronoun agrees with their antecedent.

When dangling, watch your participles.

Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.

About those sentence fragments. Remember subject, verb, object.

Try to not ever split infinitives.

Use the apostrophe in it's proper place and omit it when its not needed.

Correct speling is esential.

Between you and I, case is important.

Verbs has to agree with their antecedents.

When composing informal documents, employ the vernacular.

Eschew ampersands & abbrevs, etc...

Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.

Contractions aren't necessary and shouldn't be used.

In all cases, you should never generalize.

Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."

Avoid the use of dyed-in-the-wool cliches like the plague; they are old hat.

Comparisons are as bad as cliches.

Don't be redundant; don't use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.

Usually, you should be more or less specific.

Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth earth-shaking ideas.

Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

Simplify! How? Eliminate one-word sentences.

Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.

Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms, ya know?

Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed. Who needs rhetorical questions?

Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.

If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times: Resist hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it correctly.

Puns are for children, not groan readers.

Run on sentences cause all sorts of problems for readers and people should never use them and must try to write better and divide their sentences.

Use the semicolon properly, always use it where it is appropriate; and never where it isn't.

Hyphenate between sy-llables and avoid un-necessary hyphens.

Use hyphens in compound-words, not just where two-words are related.

Be carefully to use adjectives and adverbs correct.

It is incumbent on us to eschew archaisms.

Steer clear of incorrect forms of verbs that have snuck in the language.

Don't string too many prepositional phrases together unless you are walking through the valley of the shadow of death.

"Avoid overuse of 'quotation' marks.'"

Never leave a transitive verb just lay there without an object.

Only Proper Nouns should be capitalized.

a sentence should begin with a capital letter and end with punctuation In letters compositions reports and things like that use commas to keep a string of items apart.

Vary your words variously so as to use various words.

Good writers do not use one verb tense in one part of a sentence, and then have switched to a different tense in the next.

Always be looking out for "be" verbs, for they are supplying verbiage all scholars are discouraging.

Use delightful but irrelevant extra adjectives and adverbs with sparing and parsimonious infrequency, for they unnecessarily bloat your otherwise perfect sentence.

Bee careful two use the write homonym.

Beware of malapropisms. They are a communist submersive plot.

Join clauses good like a conjunction should.

Continuity of thought, logical development and smooth transitions are important. Never leave the reader guessing.

Sentences without verbs--bad idea.

Use parallel structure when you write and in speaking.

Proofread carefully to see if you words out.

Writing Tip: If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.



Let's eat Grandma.

Let's eat, Grandma.



An English professor wrote the words:


on the blackboard and directed the students to punctuate it correctly.

The men wrote:


The women wrote:


Q. — How many COPY EDITORS does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A. — I can't tell whether you mean 'change a lightbulb' or 'have sex in a lightbulb.' Can we reword it to remove the ambiguity?

Q. — How many MANAGING EDITORS does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A. — You were supposed to have changed that lightbulb last week!

Q. — How many WRITERS does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A. — But why do we have to CHANGE the bulb?

Q. — How many ART DIRECTORS does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A. — Does it HAVE to be a lightbulb?

Q. — How many COPY EDITORS does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A. — The last time this question was asked, it involved art directors. Is the difference intentional? Seems inconsistent.

Q. — How many MARKETING DIRECTORS does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A. — It isn't too late to make this neon instead, is it?

Q. — How many PUBLISHERS does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A. — Three. One to screw it in, and two to hold down the author.

Q. — How many SALES DIRECTORS does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A. — (pause) I get it! This is one of those lightbulb jokes, right?

 The sign on the left is at Amtrak's LA station. Apparently, it's okay to feed the pigeons.


Sure, sure...

Old Buoy


Humphrey took this photo at Morro Rock in Morro Bay, CA, and I asked him why on earth he wanted a picture of that rusty old thing. His answer?

"Because it's part of the old-buoy network."


  Not even if I'm in my boat?

Sign on a boat ramp at Indian Valley Reservoir in Lake County, CA, sent by:

Richard Kraft
Fairfield, CA



Dungeness Cemetery
Property available.

Scott's Fruit & RV
(seen from I-5 in Washington State)

El Costa-Lotta Rd
Highway 504, Washington State

Ill Eagle Fireworks Stand

Barber & Gunshop
(Shepherd, TX)

(near Ochopee, Florida)

Live parking only
(Parker WLR, MA)

Signs for Truckers Coming Down the Donner Grade

Let 'er drift
Use min power
Let 'er cool

Upgrade ahead
Crank up

Brake check area
Take ten
Let 'em cool

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