Reference > H.W. Fowler > The King’s English, 2nd ed.
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Any one who wishes to become a good writer should endeavour, before he allows himself to be tempted by the more showy qualities, to be direct, simple, brief, vigorous, and lucid.
H.W.
Fowler
The King’s English
 
H.W. Fowler
 
The plan for the second edition of the classic reference work The King’s English was dictated by the following considerations: (1) to pass by all rules, of whatever absolute importance, that are shown by observation to be seldom or never broken; and (2) to illustrate by living examples, with the name of a reputable authority attached to each, all blunders that observation shows to be common.
 
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CONTENTS
Bibliographic Record    Preface
SECOND EDITION

OXFORD: CLARENDON PRESS, 1908
NEW YORK: BARTLEBY.COM, 1999
 
 
No levell'd malice
Infects one comma in the course I hold.
Timon of Athens, I. i. 48.


PART I

Chapter I. Vocabulary
General Principles
Familiar and far-fetched words
Concrete and abstract expression
Circumlocution
Short and long words
Saxon and Romance words
Requirements of different styles
Malaprops
Neologisms
Americanisms
Foreign words
Formation
Slang
Individual
Mutual
Unique
Aggravate


Chapter II. Syntax
Case
Number
Comparatives and superlatives
Relatives
Defining and non-defining relative clauses
That and who or which
And who, and which
Case of the relative
Miscellaneous uses of the relative
It … that
Participle and gerund
Participles
The gerund
Distinguishing the gerund
Omission of the gerund subject
Choice between gerund and infinitive
Shall and will
The pure system
The coloured-future system
The plain-future system
Second-person questions
Examples of principal sentences
Substantival clauses
Conditional clauses
Indefinite clauses
Examples of subordinate clauses
Perfect infinitive
Conditionals
Doubt that
Prepositions


Chapter III. Airs and Graces
Certain types of humour
Elegant variation
Inversion
Exclamatory
Balance
In syntactic clauses
Negative, and false-emphasis
Miscellaneous
Archaism
Occasional
Sustained
Metaphor
Repetition
Miscellaneous
Trite phrases
Irony
Superlatives without the
Cheap originality


Chapter IV. Punctuation
General difficulties
General principles
The spot plague
Over-stopping
Under-stopping
Grammar and punctuation
Substantival clauses
Subject, &c., and verb
Adjectival clauses
Adverbial clauses
Parenthesis
Misplaced commas
Enumeration
Comma between independent sentences
Semicolon with subordinate members
Exclamations and statements
Exclamations and questions
Internal question and exclamation marks
Unaccountable commas
The colon
Miscellaneous
Dashes
General abuse
Legitimate uses
Debatable questions
Common misuses
Hyphens
Quotation marks
Excessive use
Order with stops
Single and double
Misplaced
Half quotation


PART II

Some less important chapters had been designed on Euphony, Ambiguity, Negligence, and other points. But as the book would with them have run to too great length, some of the examples have been simply grouped here in independent sections, with what seemed the minimum of comment.

Euphony
  1. Jingles
  2. Alliteration
  3. Repeated prepositions
  4. Sequence of relatives
  5. Sequence of that, &c.
  6. Metrical prose
  7. Sentence accent
  8. Causal as clauses
  9. Wens and hypertrophied members
  10. Careless repetition

Quotation, &c.
  1. Common misquotations
  2. Uncommon misquotations of well-known passages
  3. Misquotation of less familiar passages
  4. Misapplied and misunderstood quotations and phrases
  5. Allusion
  6. Incorrect allusion
  7. Dovetailed and adapted quotations and phrases
  8. Trite quotation
  9. Latin abbreviations, &c.

Grammar
  1. Unequal yokefellows and defective double harness
  2. Common parts
  3. The wrong turning
  4. Ellipse in subordinate clauses
  5. Some illegitimate infinitives
  6. Split infinitives
  7. Compound passives
  8. Confusion with negatives
  9. Omission of as
  10. Other liberties taken with as
  11. Brachylogy
  12. Between two stools
  13. The impersonal one
  14. Between … or
  15. A placed between the adjective and its noun
  16. Do as substitute verb
  17. Fresh starts
  18. Vulgarisms and colloquialisms

Meaning
  1. Tautology
  2. Redundancies
  3. As to whether
  4. Superfluous but and though
  5. If and when
  6. Maltreated idioms
  7. Truisms and contradictions in terms
  8. Double emphasis
  9. Split auxiliaries
  10. Overloading
  11. Demonstrative, noun, and participle or adjective

Ambiguity
  1. False scent
  2. Misplacement of words
  3. Ambiguous position
  4. Ambiguous enumeration

Style
  1. Antics
  2. Journalese
  3. Somewhat, &c.
  4. Clumsy patching
  5. Omission of the conjunction that
  6. Meaningless while
  7. Commercialisms
  8. Pet Phrases
  9. Also as conjunction; and &c.


 
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