How can knowledge of grammar be used to improve our style of written English? If we know something about grammar, we can criticise and dis-cuss our own writing, and learn to improve it. Here are four maxims of good writing which we shall illustrate and enlarge upon in this last chapter: l 1. Make your language easy to follow. 2. Be clear. 3. Be economical. 4. Be effective. Practical principles such as these cannot always be fulfilled at the same time. Sometimes they compete with one another. One example of this occurs whenever we open our mouths to speak: we have to speak loud enough and slowly enough to be understood (‘Be clear’), but we also have to try not to waste effort by speaking too slowly for the purpose (‘Be economical’). So to hit the right level of delivery, we have to weigh up the competing demands of principles 2 and 3.
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