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How to Speak English Good

1. Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
3. And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction.
4. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
5. Avoid clichés like the plague. (They’re old hat)
6. Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.
7. Be more or less specific.
8. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.
9. Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
10. No sentence fragments.
11. Contractions aren’t necessary and shouldn’t be used.
12. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
13. Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.
14. One should NEVER generalize.
15. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
16. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
17. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
18. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
19. The passive voice is to be ignored.
20. Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary.  Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.
21. Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.
22. Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
23. Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth earth-shaking ideas.
24. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
25. If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: Resist hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it correctly.
26. Puns are for children, not groan readers.
27. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
28. Even IF a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
29. Who needs rhetorical questions?
30. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
And the last one…
31. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

Written By

Russell has been an Associate Broker with John Hall & Associates since 1978 and ranks in the top 1% of all agents in the U.S. Most recently The Wall Street Journal recognized the Top 200 Agents in America, awarding Russell # 25 for number of units sold. Russell has been featured in many books such as, "The Billion Dollar Agent" by Steve Kantor and "The Millionaire Real Estate Agent" by Gary Keller and has often been a featured speaker for national conventions and routinely speaks at various state and local association conventions. Visit him also at and



  1. Vance Shutes

    July 8, 2008 at 3:47 am


    You’ve demonstrated absurdity by being absurd. At the same time, you know that we encourage many to become writers through their blogs. We should not be surprised by some of the writing examples we read – only disappointed. These examples, as reminders to us all, will help me improve in my own writing. Thank you.

  2. Bill Lublin

    July 8, 2008 at 4:37 am

    Youforgot t”eschew obfuscation” 😉

  3. Mack in Atlanta

    July 8, 2008 at 5:10 am

    Russell, Thanks for the laugh this morning!!

  4. Paula Henry

    July 8, 2008 at 5:25 am

    Russell – You have just taken the fun out of writing and blogging ; )

  5. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    July 8, 2008 at 8:20 am

    Russell, you’ve really hurt me in my English degree. 😉 Do you know how painful this was to read? Just teasing! #29 is my favorite!

  6. Benn Rosales

    July 8, 2008 at 8:25 am

    I noticed you did not address Latin, Greek, or Yiddish- what gives?

  7. Fabio Rodriguez

    July 8, 2008 at 10:16 am

    “Proofread carefully to see if you any words out” I raise my hand on this one, I definitely do this every now and again!, cool post :-), sometimes it is good not to to take this blogging thing too seriously, having fun while doing it is by far the most important thing

  8. Russell Shaw

    July 8, 2008 at 10:54 am

    I wish I was literate enough to have actually written this one. I have no idea who to give credit to – it came to me in an email from someone on my email joke list. I will take credit for combining it with that photo I found. 🙂

  9. Frank Jewett

    July 8, 2008 at 11:46 am

    I wish I was literate enough to have actually written this one. I have no idea who to give credit to – it came to me in an email from someone on my email joke list.

    Copying and pasting OPM (other people’s material) from e-mail? Did AgentGenius merge with ActiveRain?

    “I am amazed that I have to write this post but I do have to write it. Plagiarism is when you copy something someone else wrote and use it as your own content without the authors permission.” – Teresa Boardman, Plagiarism is Theft

  10. Larry Yatkowsky

    July 8, 2008 at 12:02 pm


    Verbs has to agree with their subjects.

    Good thing you explained yourself in #8. Why Lani’s “Anglish” degree didn’t pick up on that I’ll never know. 🙂

  11. Jay Thompson

    July 8, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    One possible source:

    There are dozens (if not hundreds) of variations of this list out there. A “disclosure” in the post that it’s not an original work and is unattributable would probably have been appropriate.

    That said, it is insanely funny.

  12. Susan

    July 8, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    Thanks for the laugh, very clever!

  13. The Harriman Team

    July 8, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    Geez, I thought my English teacher was SERIOUS when she told us this stuff! You mean she was being sarcastic?? No way! I wuz hornswaggled! This has to be addressed!

    “Dear Mrs. Hufnagel,

    It has come to my attention that you were having fun at my expense in English class. Just like Mr. Grant in Phys Ed…and Miss Johnson in Home Economics. Shame on you. I thought you were different from them. I see I was mistaken. As of now, your photo on my PC desktop has been replaced by Amy Winehouse. At least I can still respect her…

    Yours Truly,

    Dickie Lipshitz”

  14. Erin Fogarty

    July 8, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Fantastic, I love it! Thanks for the laugh.

  15. Christopher Zabka

    July 8, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    Indeed, very enjoyable. I am a word nerd, and parodies like this always make me smile.

  16. Matthew Rathbun

    July 9, 2008 at 2:34 am

    Ok, so it’s like 3 somethings am and I can’t sleep and I came here to make myself tired again, but I think I’ve just awaken my kids by LMAO. I love “smart” humor and honestly wonder how many people read this and really didn’t understand it…. the more I think about people becoming cross eyed at this post, the more I am laughing.

    I will say this – really, do you know your target audience are Real Estate Agents?

  17. Mark Harrison

    July 9, 2008 at 8:51 am

    I mainly read your blog in Google reader rather than directly on your site.

    I’m amazed that you are repeating old chain letters with the text

    “© 2008 – Thanks for Reading! About Content theft- Content Theft may cause cancer and various risks to your wallet. So think twice… =]”

  18. Brad Nix

    July 9, 2008 at 9:27 am

    I have no problem with bloggers posting jokes or urban myths or chain letters for the readers to consume. In fact, I did so recently myself:

    How can this be content theft when these emails are forwarded millions times a day across the globe? These jokes appear many places on the net with no cited author or source.

    As for this type of content on a blog…isn’t comedy about timing and delivery? If Russell would have stated, here comes a good joke I’d like to share, then the effect would have been less humorous. The fact that this was slipped into the steady flow of posts on a prominent national blog just makes it even funnier. I do wonder how many ‘got it’? Plus, if you were tired of seeing this joke, then don’t read it. We scan emails and reader feeds constantly. Would it hurt to just skip one more or press delete?

    Great job Russell.

  19. Frank Jewett

    July 9, 2008 at 9:43 am

    I can’t believe I’m reading a defense of copy/paste plagiarism that amounts to “if you don’t like it, don’t read it” on AgentGenius. I guess we can look forward to recycled chain letters from Brad, too?

  20. Glenn fm Naples

    July 9, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    Thanks for the good laugh – but you left out my favorite – double negatives. 🙂

  21. Russell Shaw

    July 9, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    >>In other words, plagiarism is an act of fraud. It involves both stealing someone else’s work and lying about it afterward.<<– taken, no make that plagiarized from,

    Frank, I don’t believe you are reading a defense of copy/paste plagiarism. I believe you are way too serious about something silly. A full humor bypass – even when the doctors tell you it can’t be undone – can still be reversed.

  22. Frank Jewett

    July 9, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    Russell, people are standing mute on this issue because they respect you. If someone else did this, the condemnation would be universal. I like your other posts, but this one sets a rotten precedent for AgentGenius. I’d hate to see others fall into the lazy habit of reposting chain letters in this forum. The right thing to do would be to remove this post, but I suspect that won’t happen unless you request it.

  23. Bob

    July 9, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    Ownership of that list is claimed on, along with permission to repost.

  24. Russell Shaw

    July 9, 2008 at 6:55 pm


    I honestly didn’t see it as that bad but as you are obviously trying to do what you believe is the right thing here and not attempting to snot me off I am totally open to doing whatever is really right. I am going to post this reply as well.


  25. BawldGuy Talking

    July 10, 2008 at 11:58 am

    Unintentional humor is sometimes the best kind, especially when it comes in the form of a comment.

    Me? Can’t use analogies? Already the all time mixed metaphor champ. And one I don’t think was mentioned, ‘cuz ya probably don’t do it, is makin’ up shortened words the way folks talk in real life, kinda. ‘Course you don’t do that ‘cuz ya talk good Anglish.

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