“It has been done”, he reportedly said.

You might not think it, but the Economist Style Guide is a thumping good read. “Thumping” of course should not be used as it is a cliché (correctly spelt with an accent I might add).  The guide begins with Orwell’s six elementary rules for concise writing. Number four states: “Never use the passive when you can use the active”. As a teacher that gives me food for thought (another unacceptable cliché).

Under the grammar section, on quoting, another worrying recommendation: “If you wish to quote someone, either give a date or use the present tense.” All those hours on indirect speech and reporting verbs … gone to waste. Maybe not. Let’s be cheerful. Very few of our students will end up writing for the Economist, so let’s keep hammering away on those passives and “he said me” examples.

Interestingly, there is no entry in the Guide for pun. Does that mean this blog is safe, acceptable, or completely beyond the scope of this nifty, red read? To tell the truth, maybe I just need to be more economical with them.


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