Writers Tip #98: 18 Tips on Grammar from William Safire


When you read your story, does it sound off, maybe you can’t quite put your finger on it, but you know you’ve done something wrong? Sometimes–maybe even lots of times–there are simple fixes. These writer’s tips will come at you once a week, giving you plenty of time to go through your story and make the adjustments.

William Safire, speechwriter for President Nixon, Pulitzer Prize-winning political columnist for The New York Times (and one of their few conservative columnists), died in 2009, but lives on through both his writing and his wisdom about writing. The highly-acclaimed column he started in 1973 for the NYTimes called “On Language” (now written by Ben Zimmer) established him as one of the most significant voices on how to write well. His wildly-popular approach to the who-whom problem  is now called Safire’s Law of Who/Whom:

“When whom is correct, recast the sentence.”


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