Writing tip: Never. Never. Never. Never. Never. Never. Never.
By Jerry Brown, APR
Public Relations Consultant
They taught you never to split an infinitive. Never to begin a sentence with “and” or “but.” Never to use contractions. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
I’ve just introduced you to three of the Seven Nevers that appear in Writing with Style by John R. Trimble, Distinguished Teaching Professor of English Emeritus at the University of Texas.
The Seven Nevers are seven rules you learned in school that Trimble suggests — and I agree — are worth ignoring at least some of the time. Here’s the full list:
- Never begin a sentence with “but” or “and.”
- Never use contractions.
- Never refer to the reader as you.
- Never use the first-person pronoun I.
- Never end a sentence with a preposition.
- Never split an infinitive.
- Never write a paragraph containing only one sentence.
So, if you were daydreaming when your teachers were teaching you to never do those things, you did yourself a favor. Because ignoring these seven nevers will make your writing more readable — and make your story easier to hear, understand and remember.
We all have stories to tell. Do you need help telling yours?
Jerry Brown, APR, is a public relations professional and former journalist who helps clients get their stories heard, understood and remembered. Need help telling your story? You can reach Jerry at 303-594-8016 | jerry@JerryBrownPR.com.