Sturgis’s Laws

“Sturgis” is me. The “Laws” aren’t Rules That Must Be Obeyed. Gods forbid, we writers and editors have enough of those circling in our heads and ready to pounce at any moment. These laws are more like hypotheses based on my observations over the years. They’re mostly about writing and editing. None of them can be proven, but they do come in handy from time to time.

I’m currently going through the laws one by one and blogging about them. As I do, I’ll add them here, with links to the post in which they were featured.

Sturgis’s Law #1:
If you stare at any sentence long enough, it will look wrong.

Corollary: Sturgis’s Law #1a
If you stare at any word long enough, it will look wrong.

Sturgis’s Law #2
Given enough time to fill, even the most intelligent commentator will wind up making stupid statements.

Sturgis’s Law #3
A good sentence is more than the sum of its parts.

Sturgis’s Law #4
“The check’s in the mail,” “I gave at the office,” “All this manuscript needs is a light edit”: Caveat Editor.

Sturgis’s Law #5
Hyphens are responsible for at least 90 percent of all trips to the dictionary. Commas are responsible for at least 90 percent of all trips to the style guide.

Sturgis’s Law #6
Your writing will teach you what you need to know.

Sturgis’s Law #7
It’s hard to see the whole when you’re up too close, and easy to see unity when you’re too far away.

Sturgis’s Law #8
People tend to define problems in a way that lets themselves off the hook.

Sturgis’s Law #9
Guidelines are not godlines.

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