How do you make an English major very, very angry?  Simply post this on the door of the department’s head, and you’ll be off to a good start.

How to Write Good has been making the rounds on reddit and the social web, but it is actually a subset from a set of rules written by Frank L. Visco which was originally published in the June 1986 issue of Writers’ digest. A second set of rules is derived from William Safire’s Rules for Writers.  Both sets are available on

1. Avoid alliteration always.
2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
3. The passive voice is to be avoided.
4. Avoid cliches like the plague. They’re old hat.
5. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
6. Writers should never generalize.
Seven: Be consistent.
8. Don’t use more words than necessary. It’s highly superfluous.
9. Be more or less specific.
10. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

How To Write Good
How To Write Good

The entire set of rules can be found over on