The Handbook of Good English
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Now substantially revised and updated, this essential guide is arranged in an easy-to-follow, topical style that takes readers from the rules governing basic sentence structure to methods of achieving effective expression.
version simply tells us what he did and did not do, whereas the second suggests to us and the third tells us that he made a conscious decision between alternatives. When the negative rather than construction precedes the positive construction, parallelism is actually an error: Rather than swam there, he sailed to the island is not English, though the nonparallel swim and swimming would both be English. The normally conjunctive phrase rather than is often used, and used correctly, as if it were a
are, however, at least relatively free of language snobbery. We spend our days and years correcting the written expression of others, some of whom we are forced to recognize as more intelligent, more highly educated, more sophisticated both socially and verbally, and more successful than we are, and unless we are unusually ill-natured we eventually are led to admit to ourselves that our skill is a humble one and that those we correct often have much more to express than we do and often express it
(or other marks of punctuation that can play the same role, such as dashes or parentheses) makes the distinction. His son John who is a good swimmer made the rescue is good news but bad punctuation. The lack of punctuation clearly tells the reader that both John and who is a good swimmer are defining elements, but that can't be the case, because surely only one son is named John. The clause who is a good swimmer must be considered a parenthetical element and thus be set off with a pair of commas
don't know what the Smiths had to celebrate (and who caresl). Here the question mark could be omitted (see the exceptions to Rule 2-20). If the enclosed material is an exclamation, an exclamation point can be inserted. If the enclosed material ends in an abbreviation, there is a point both before and after the closing parenthesis: The noise never stopped, though, and I almost called my private security firm (Noyse, Dynne and Co.). Points of ellipsis can also be enclosed, though the clutter of
quotation is a question, but the full sentence is a statement, not a question. The errors are frequent, perhaps because when such a sentence is vocalized the voice tends to rise on asked, and a rising 143 2-20 Punctuation inflection in speech almost always signals a question. In this case the ear cannot be trusted. Does he like zucchini! she wondered is correct; there are no quotation marks around the question because it is not voiced, only thought, but it is still a direct question. The