I recently found a post about the “Victorian Rules of Punctuation”. These are a great way to remember the basic rules that every copywriter should know — and know when and how to break them to make your sales copy stand out.

So here they go!

The Victorian Rules Of Punctuation

Sentences start with a Capital letter,
So as to make your writing better.
Use a full stop to mark the end.
It closes every sentence penned.
Insert a comma for short pauses and breaks,
And also for lists the writer makes.
Dashes –like these– are for thoughts.
They provide additional information (so do brackets, of course).
These two dots are colons: they pause to compare.
They also do this: list, explain and prepare.
The semicolon makes a break; followed by a clause.
It does the job of words that link; it’s also a short pause.
An apostrophe shows the owner of anyone’s things,
It’s quite useful for shortenings.
I’m glad! He’s mad! Don’t walk on the grass!
To show strong feelings use an exclamation mark!
A question mark follows Where? When? Why? What? and How?
Can I? Do you? Shall we? Tell us now!
“Quotation marks” enclose what is said.
Which is why they are often called ‘speech marks’ instead.

(Based on A Victorian Schoolmistress’s Rules of Punctuation)

To keep on the same train, here is a list of common grammatical mistakes that you should avoid. Some people believe this list was written by William Safire, others attribute it to an anonymous source… anyway, it’s still a great reminder of what not to do in your writing.

How to avoid grammatical mistakes

1) Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
2) Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
3) And don’t start a sentence with a conjuction.
4) It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
5) Avoid clichés like the plague.
6) Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
7) Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.
8) Be more or less specific.
9) Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.
10) No sentence fragments.
11) Contractions aren’t necessary, and shouldn’t be used.
12) One should never generalise.
13) Don’t use no double negatives.
14) Eschew ampersands & abbreviations etc.
15) Eliminate commas, that are not necessary.
16) Never use a big word when a diminutive one suffice.
17) Kill all exclamations!!!
18) Use words correctly, irregardles of how others use them.
19) Use the apostrophe in it’s proper place and omit it when its not needed.
20) Puns are for children, not for groan readers.
21) Proofread carefully to see if you any worlds out.
22) One-word sentences? Eliminate.
23) The passive voice is to be ignored.
24) Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
25) Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.

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