Some of you might know I freelance as an editor (I’m working on a fantastic manuscript right now), which requires me to be familiar with The Chicago Manual of Style and the Associated Press Stylebook.  But I’ve recently added another style guide to my desk so I can laugh when I take breaks from wrestling with apostrophes and commas.

Write More Good is by the folks known on Twitter as @FakeAPStylebook but it isn’t just a compilation of their greatest hits. As Roger Ebert mentions in the “fancy foreword,” the authors actually wrote a book to go with their advice. Take it at your own risk, however, because the cover clearly warns, “If you use this, you will get fired!”

Sample rules:

  • Do not use emoticons in headlines or the body of your text. If for some reason your story is about actual emoticons, please kill yourself.
  • Use apostrophes with care. Be aware of correct possession, as joint possession can get you a minimum five-year sentence in many states.
  • Parenthetical aside — Additional and often personal information included in a sentence, which should never be used in a news story according to our (douchebag) copy editors.
  • Shifting your point of view adds a sophisticated and avante-garde feeling to your writing: Us was walking down the street noticing that my shoes had become scuffed; you had been longtime companions, we five: my shoes, I feet and your mom.
  • Canon/cannon — Canon is what is considered an official part of a work, such as the Bible or Star Wars. A cannon is what you want to shoot at people who won’t shut the f*ck up about canon.
  • Verbs are the most important words ever. We will stab anyone who says otherwise. See? We couldn’t have written that threatening sentence without the verb “stab.”
  • “Between” is used to refer to two items, “among” for three to ninety-nine, “centimong” for one hundred for more.
  • IMHO — Used to identify yourself as a whore.
  • Log/log in — Use “login” for the noun, “log in ” for the action, and “Loggins” when you’re footloose in the danger zone.
  • Backslash — The back of an extremely hairy guitarist.

Happy Monday! Hope you’re Loggins with no backslash in sight!



  • Reply
    April 11, 2011 at 1:28 am

    ‘K, Elyse, I’s still laffing my lm** at themselves words! Scared self but good know I ain’t IMHO. : ) That book would be worth reading just for the fun of it. Hahaha!

  • Reply
    Naomi Johnson
    April 11, 2011 at 4:52 am

    Love @APFakeStylebook’s edicts. The one on point of view creates an odd rhythm that reminds me of some of John Lennon’s poetry, esp “Deaf Ted, Danuta and Me.”

  • Reply
    April 11, 2011 at 7:14 am

    Hysterical! Great post, Elyse.

  • Reply
    April 11, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Shouldn’t it be “Write More Gooder”?

  • Reply
    Pop Culture Nerd
    April 11, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Donna—I shook with laughter when I first read the book. The examples I featured here were just some of the cleaner ones.

    Naomi—I love these, too: “There is no apostrophe in ‘Diners Club’ but who cares? What is this, 1953?” and “Typing in all capital letters is perceived to be shouting, so only do it when addressing foreigners or the elderly.”

    le0pard13–Hope it started your Monday with a smile.

    Eddy—No, it should be WRITE MORE BETTERLY because adverbs describing the verb must always end in “y.”

    • Reply
      April 11, 2011 at 3:43 pm

      Since I started Jury Duty today, it was perfect. BTW, while L.A. County offers wireless internet access in the juror’s waiting room, they block Twitter(!). Thanks, Elyse.

  • Reply
    April 11, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    no more funner than this!

  • Reply
    jenn aka the picky girl
    April 11, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    I always love there posts about the funnyest elements of style and how people use they’re words wrong. What a well book this must be.

  • Reply
    Shell Sherree
    April 12, 2011 at 2:12 am

    I’m almost scared to comment. And I will make a concerted effort to remove emoticons from my dialogue. I laughed aloud {“out loud”? See, I’m terrified} at the point of view rule. By the way, you and one of my favourite NYC residents must be the rockingest editors on the planet, PCN.

  • Reply
    Pop Culture Nerd
    April 12, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Paulette—Lots of most funnies!

    jenn—Haha! Your comment made my eyes itch because I want to correct the mistakes!

    Shell—I just read a novel in which the POV was all over the place and it was so confusing. There were sentences not too different from the above example. And you have no reason to be terrified!

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