1. Education
Richard Nordquist

The Graces of Prose

By July 19, 2013

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In 1943, poet Robert Graves and editor Alan Hodge published The Reader Over Your Shoulder: A Handbook for Writers of English Prose. The book's title reflects the authors' belief that "whenever anyone sits down to write he should imagine a crowd of his prospective readers (rather than a grammarian in cap and gown) looking over his shoulder."

Copiously illustrated with specimens of good and (mainly) bad writing, The Reader Over Your Shoulder is, by turns, maddening, enlightening, persnickety, and inspiring. To give you a taste of the authors' prescriptive approach and sometimes starchy style (minus their examples and sharp analyses), here are Graves and Hodge's 16 principles concerning the "graceful conveyance" of information. . . .


For the complete article (revised and expanded), see The Graces of Prose: Graves and Hodge's 16 Stylistic Principles.


Comments

July 23, 2013 at 10:14 am
(1) Ed Iananuccilli says:

I love this. It so reminds me of my English teacher who gave a “D” for one dangling participle and an “F” for two. I never dangled my participles after that first “F’
Thanks. Good writing.

July 23, 2013 at 10:17 am
(2) Ed Iannuccilli says:

Great piece. It reminds me of my English teacher who gave a “D” for one dangling participle and an “F” for two. After my first “F” I never dangled again!

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