Having problems with the English language... well, you're not alone.


  1. The bandage was wound around the wound.

  2. The farm was used to produce produce.

  3. The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

  4. We must polish the Polish furniture.

  5. He could lead if he would get the lead out.

  6. The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

  7. Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

  8. A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

  9. I did not object to the object.

  10. The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

  11. There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

  12. They were too close to the door to close it.

  13. The buck does funny things when the does are present.

  14. A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

  15. To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

  16. The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

  17. After a number of injections my jaw got number.

  18. Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

  19. I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

  20. How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?


  1. Avoid alliteration.  Always.

  2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.

  3. Avoid cliches like the plague.  (They're old hat.)

  4. Employ the vernacular.

  5. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.

  6. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.

  7. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.

  8. Contractions aren't necessary.

  9. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.

  10. One should never generalize.

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

  12. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.

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

  14. Be more or less specific.

  15. Understatement is always best.

  16. One-word sentences?  Eliminate.

  17. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.

  18. The passive voice is to be avoided.

  19. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.

  20. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.

  21. Who needs rhetorical questions?Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

Neil. O'Byrne  if you would like to comment or add something,     Please no  Please, no junk mail!

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Last updated: 25 March, 2004

Copyright 2000 Me