As a former English teacher and a newspaper column writer, most of my life has revolved around the English language. Words attract me. Grammar intrigues me. I remember being thrilled when I got homework that involved diagramming sentences. Some of my happiest moments have been spent searching for the right word to fit into a sentence. In other words, I am crazy about our native tongue. (Or, as some people might put it – I am just crazy.)

A friend of mine recently sent me a list of "Literary Rules" that made me fall on the floor laughing. These tongue-in-cheek statements are creative. See if you can dig out the humor.

1. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.

2. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.

3. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.

4. Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.

5. Be more or less specific.

6. Remarks in brackets (however relevant) are (usually) (but not always) unnecessary.

7. Also, too, never ever use repetitive redundancies.

8. No sentence fragments.

9. Contractions aren't necessary and shouldn't be used.

10. Don't use no double negatives.

11. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.

12. One word sentences? Eliminate.

13. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.

14. The passive voice is to be ignored.

15. Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary.

16. Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.

17. Use the apostrophe in it's proper place and omit it when its not needed.

18. Resist hyperbole. Not one writer in a million can use it correctly.

19. Puns are for children, not groan readers.

20. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

For those of you who are scratching your heads and wondering what in the heck that was – each saying contains the very thing it warns against. Look harder.

And, to reward you for figuring out the rules – here are some Croakers!

"You snake!" she rattled.

"Someone's at the door," she chimed.

"Company's coming," she guessed.

"Dawn came too soon," she mourned.

"Ring the bell," she appealed.

"I think I'll end it all," Sue sighed.

"I ordered chocolate, not vanilla," I screamed.

"Your embroidery is sloppy," she needled cruelly.

"Where did you get this meat?" he bridled hoarsely.

"We're taking over the government," the general cooed.

"That's no show dog. It's a mongrel," she muttered.

"And I used to be a pilot," he explained.

Hope you got a laugh out of this column. If you did, thank your English teacher!

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO CONTACT DR. SMITH, SHE CAN BE REACHED AT HER EMAIL ADDRESS: JSMITH798@SC.RR.COM OR IN CARE OF THIS NEWSPAPER.