Active or passive voice?
Try to use the active voice whenever possible. But remember there are times when it is better and less accusatory to use the passive. For example:
Active: You fucked that job right up.
Passive: The job was fucked right up.
Active: We made some serious fuck-ups.
Passive: Some serious fuck-ups were made.
Use apostrophes to indicate possession. For example:
Your daughter’s face is ugly.
Your son’s intelligence is low.
More examples of use:
Your sisters’ pimps’ cars – More than one sister, more than one pimp.
Your sister’s pimps’ cars – One sister, many pimps.
Your sister’s pimp’s cars – One sister, one pimp.
Your sisters’ pimp’s cars – More than one sister, but just one pimp.
Keep everything in lower case unless it is a proper noun. For example:
There are many shit-rag magazines written by and for morons, and Heat Magazine is one such magazine.
Similarly, use lower case for government and the people involved in them. For example:
Most of parliament were involved in the expenses scandal.
Many world leaders are warmongering sociopaths.
Colons and semicolons
Colons introduce something: an idea or a list. Semicolons separate complete but closely related sentences. For example:
I know you won’t understand this; you are a complete dolt.
I only get drunk on week nights; I like to be hungover on someone else’s time.
Use commas to link words in a simple list. For example:
Life is futile, boring, brutal and short.
Use commas to cordon off extra parts of the sentence. For example:
The reporter, instead of covering the court case, was fucking an unpaid intern in a stationery cupboard.
Note that the traditional rule of not using a comma before ‘or’ or ‘and’ is not rigid. You may need it to avoid ambiguity. An Oxford comma can be used when the last item in a list contains the word ‘and’. For example:
The fat bastard has eaten too much ice cream, pizza, and fish and chips.
To get your message across use plain English as much as possible. Avoid official-sounding terms. Here are some examples and their plainer alternatives:
equitable = we’re screwing you
elected member = sociopath
expedite = make you redundant
expenditure = the money we’ve wasted
henceforth = I made a mistake and I’m blaming you
in lieu of = we’re not paying you
utilise = exploit
Write dates in full using the ‘dd month yyyy’ format. Do not write days, unless absolutely necessary. For example:
The London Olympic Games will be a shambles as of 27 July 2012 (not 27th of July 2012).
Use double quotation marks to indicate direct speech, or words quoted. For example:
Tony Blair said of Iraq: “Their weapons of mass destruction programme is active, detailed and growing.”
Time (writing the time)
Write the time using numbers, without punctuation and using a 24 hour clock. For example:
I wrote this between 1630 and 1700 on a Friday afternoon instead of doing what I’m paid to do. Before I got this job, I signed on the dole every Tuesday at 1030.
Speaking or writing, we should always strive to be clear, concise and compelling. Web writing should:
- Allow people to waste time on the internet without using their brains.
- Allow people to copy and paste without crediting the author.
- Be easy to make knee-jerk reactions to.