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Grammar And Style Guide - E

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E-Prime (or E') — the "E" stands for "English," and the "prime" means "a slight variation" in mathematical notation — designates English with all the verbs of being removed. Some writers try to avoid all verbs of being, favoring the more forceful action verbs in their place. So a book written in E-Prime includes no occurrences of to be in any of its forms.

Overuse of verbs of being makes writing lifeless, and no one should object to more action verbs. In fact, beginning writers may profit from the exercise of removing all the verbs of being from their writing, since it forces them to find more forceful means of expression. Inflexibly applying any rule, though, savors of pedantry, and your fear of bugbears should never lead you into gracelessness. I've written this entry in E-Prime, and its occasional clumsiness reveals the dangers of riding any hobbyhorse too seriously. See Action Verbs, Exists, and Passive Voice.

A singular noun, which requires a singular verb. Do not write "Each of the chapters have a title"; use "Each of the chapters has a title" or (better) "Each chapter has a title." See also Every.
The ellipsis (plural ellipses) is the mark that indicates the omission of quoted material, as in "Brevity is . . . wit" (stolen shamelessly from an episode of "The Simpsons"). Note two things: first, most typing manuals and house styles prefer the periods to be spaced, thus:
Brevity is . . . wit.
(In electronic communication it's sometimes convenient, even necessary, to run them together, since line-wrap can be unpredictable.) Second, and more important, is the number of periods. The ellipsis itself is three periods (always); it can appear next to other punctuation, including an end-of-sentence period (resulting in four periods). Use four only when the words on either side of the ellipsis make full sentences. You should never use fewer than three or more than four periods, with only a single exception: when entire lines of poetry are omitted in a block quotation, it's a common practice to replace them with a full line of spaced periods.
A distinguishing mark of clear and forceful writing is economy of style — using no more words than necessary. Bureaucratic and academic writing likes to pad every sentence with It should continuously be remembered thats and Moreover, it has been previously indicateds. Don't: it makes for slow reading. After you write a sentence, look it over and ask whether the sense would be damaged by judicious trimming. If not, start cutting, because the shorter version is usually better. Become friendly with the "Delete Word" option on your word processor. See Wasted Words. [Revised 11 June 2001.]
Effect versus Affect.
See Affect versus Effect.
E.g. versus i.e.
The abbreviation e.g. is for the Latin exempli gratia, "for example." I.e., Latin id est, means "that is." They're not interchangeable. Both abbreviations should be followed by a comma.
A tip: the strongest position in a sentence is often the end, followed by the beginning. Don't waste the beginning or the end of a sentence — the most important parts — with transitional words like however, additionally, moreover, therefore, and so on. Instead of "However, the paper was finished on time" or "The paper was finished on time, however," save the beginning and end of your sentences for more important stuff like nouns and verbs. Try "The paper, however, was finished on time."

My old pal Dan White gives an example of the power of the close of a sentence:

"I got hit by a car as I was walking to school this morning." After the sentence's initial impact you don't hear a single word. But "As I was walking to school this morning I got hit by a car" carries me out of my apartment, over the bridge, and onto the hood in a sequence that sustains my audience's engagement with today's dent in my morning routine.
Save the end of the sentence for your most important words. [Revised 11 June 2001.]
Equally As.
Don't. Something can be equally important, or it can be as important, but it can't be equally as important.
See Wasted Words.
Every requires a singular verb and singular pronouns. Do not write "Every one of the papers have been graded"; use "Every one of the papers has been graded" or (better) "Every paper has been graded." Ditto everyone: "Everyone must sign his or her name," not "their name." See also Each and Sexist Language.
Every Day versus Everyday.
Keep 'em straight: everyday (one word) is an adjective, and means "normal, quotidian, occurring every day, not out of the ordinary." Other senses should be two words. So: an everyday event happens every day.
Unless you're a professional phenomenologist, you can live quite comfortably without the word exists in your vocabulary. Instead of saying "A problem exists with the system," say "There is a problem with the system" (or, maybe even better, "The system doesn't work").
See Block Quotations.