William Safire — The Fumblerules

portrait of William Safire — The Fumblerules
The original Doubleday book cover (1990)

A "fumble rule" is a self-referential, self-contradictory rule for writing, or rather a rule for not writing. Originally assembled by William Safire in his "On Language" column in The New York Times (4 November 1979), they also were published in book form as Fumble-Rules: A Lighthearted Guide to Grammar and Good Usage (1990 & 2002), and reissued as How Not To Write: The Essential Misrules of Grammar (2005). These rules appeared as shown here in at least one of those sources, some were slightly modified and some were unchanged in all four. I should note that in some cases the sequence may have been meaningful in the original, the system here enforces alphabetical order. Note that Safire did not say to never observe these rules, rather he felt that a writer should know them well and, on rare occasions, follow them for effect.

Biography from Wikipedia

William Safire — The Fumblerules quotes:

Quotes found: 40 — (15 per page, this is page 1 of 3) 1 2 3 Next

Click here to find books by William Safire — The Fumblerules at Amazon.com

Quotes found : 40 — (15 per page, this is page 1 of 3) 1 2 3 Next

Please report any problems on this page! If you see any typos, incorrect attributions, deformed characters, or any other problem with this page, we want to fix it as soon as possible. Please click here to report errors.

Feel free to search through 126,941 quotes.
    by text
 by author

Note: Do not use titles in author searches, we don't use them, including president, senator, prime minister, king, queen, saint, or doctor, or abbreviations thereof. See explanation here.