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VOL. 77 PART 2 MARCH 2019
marized in a 2012 decision upholding the termination, “suddenly an oversized
avian struck the passenger window of her truck. When later describing
the unexpected ornithological occurrence, the driver claimed that a
‘pterodactyl’ or ‘some kind of big bird’ had collided with her vehicle.” The
alternative theory, which appears to have prevailed, was that the driver had
struck a subdivision gate.
The Grammarian: Advice to a confused profession from one who knows
about these things.
Ten tips on good writing from Mark Twain:
1. Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you
2. Use the right word, not its second cousin.
3. As to the adjective: when in doubt, strike it out.
4. You need not expect to get your book right the first time. Go to work
and revamp or rewrite it. God only exhibits his thunder and lightning
at intervals, and so they always command attention. These are God’s
adjectives. You thunder and lightning too much; the reader ceases to
get under the bed, by and by.
5. Substitute damn every time you’re inclined to write very; your editor
will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.
6. Use good grammar.
7. Damnation (if you will allow the expression), get up and take a turn
around the block and let the sentiment blow off you … There is one
thing I can’t stand and won’t stand, from many people. That is, sham
8. Use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the
way to write English—it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to
it; don’t let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in.
9. The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to
your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive
what it is that you really want to say.
10. Write without pay until somebody offers pay. If nobody offers within
three years, the candidate may look upon this circumstance with the
most implicit confidence as the sign that sawing wood is what he was
Numerous U.S. court cases have been fought over rights to dinosaur fossils,
including a Tyrannosaurus Rex named Sue, and the “Dueling Dinosaurs”