Rail yard background, from the Library of Congress

Connections

A Hypertext Resource for Literature

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30-Point Inspection

Before moving to the inspection proper, I offer a few words of introduction and qualification. I know well how much the inspection does not address; I intend it to replace neither a comprehensive style manual nor a grammar handbook. Instead, I designed it as a quick summary of points my students have found useful. Now I use it as a starting point, not a final authority, for conversations about writing.

I assume here that the writer understands the most basic rules of English usage: noun-verb agreement, correct spelling, and so forth. I do not mean that I expect unwavering perfection in those areas but rather that I expect only occasional difficulties, which we will address individually as they arise.

Points in the inspection come from a wide variety of sources. The most important are Strunk and White's The Elements of Style, Joseph M. Williams's Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity & Grace, and the accumulated wisdom of my parents and of my colleagues at Andover, Penn, and Grinnell.

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