Bad By Ben Yagoda

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Not So Bad Writing Advice: How to Not Write Bad by Ben Yagoda Anyone who wants to improve their prose will benefit greatly from Ben Yagoda's How to Not Write Bad. The book serves as a comprehensive guide on how to make one’s writing more effective. Readers will find straightforward, common-sense advice, easy guidelines for avoiding common grammatical errors and punctuation mistakes, and general suggestions collected from Mr. Yagoda’s twenty years of teaching advanced journalism and writing classes. Beginning writers will benefit from Mr. Yagoda’s recommendations for bettering their writing. He recommends writers read as much edited prose as possible. Yagoda asserts that becoming a superior writer, one must “devote to it roughly 10,000 hours…show more content…
Students will enjoy the fact that he not only explains grammatical mistakes, but also gives examples of how to fix them. Educators will appreciate Yagoda’s humorous insights. For example, Yagoda declares “As for sound, students tend to insert commas at places where they would pause in speaking the sentence. This has about the same reliability as the rhythm method for birth control.” Another example involves dangling modifiers. Yagoda states “Sitting in class or dancing at a bar, the bra performed well. . . Though slightly pricey, your breasts will thank you.” Readers are attracted to more than Yagoda’s humor. Yagoda reinforces his advice with numerous examples. Most teachers can relate to the overwhelming problem of why so many of my talented students write such poor quality papers. Educators will be relieved by Yagoda’s explanation that too many students are trying to write “well” when they simply are not ready for it. Instructors will benefit from Mr. Yagoda's advice on several perplexing grammar situations. Educators will like Yagoda’s guidance on how to convince comma-happy people to stop using so many commas. He also explains what to tell people who insist that ending a sentence in preposition is wrong. Some educators may agree with Yagoda on why using “like” is sometimes okay. Teachers can employ Yagoda’s methods to teach students how to start a sentence strong and end…show more content…
Yagoda agrees with lexicographer Robert Burch-field’s statement that “All languages are subject to perpetual change and English is no exception.” Writers will be relieved to find Mr. Yagoda’s firm stance on the evolution of writing. Most writers now are comfortable splitting infinitives, ending sentences with prepositions, and using objective pronouns in comparisons. Yet, Yagoda opposes the use of they and their as gender-neutral pronouns in reference to singular antecedents. Nonetheless, he acknowledges that common usage, not rules, begins the progression of grammar. Yagoda predicts the use of a singular they is “right on the cusp of change” (10) and will be “acceptable in formal writing in ten years, fifteen at the maximum” (75). The best way for writers to stay afloat with the methods of good writing is to continue reading as much as possible and be willing to accept the changes to writing brought on by common

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