Usage tips from Brian Garner I

Notes from Brian Garner’s Modern English Usage:

  • Subject-verb agreement: “If a sentence has two or more singular subjects connected by and, use a plural verb. Yet if the subjects really amount to a single person or thing, use a singular verb.” E.g.: “His best friend and companion was his cat.”
  • Subject-verb separation: Keep a sentence’s subject and verb close together.
  • subpar is a vogue word; replace it.
  • subsequently –> revise to later
  • subsequent to –> revise to after
  • prior to –> revise to before
  • such: can be used to refer to a previously mentioned category, as in the phrase “such people.” But “such” should not be used as a demonstrative adjective in place of this, that, these, or those.
  • sufficient number of –> revise to enough
  • suicide victim –> revise to suicide
  • sundry or various and sundry –> delete
  • supersede - note the correct spelling. From the Latin root -sed- (to sit), not -ced- (to move).