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Fumblerules are humorous rules for writing, collected from teachers of English grammar.[1] A fumblerule contains an example contrary to the advice it gives, such as "don't never use no double negatives", "eschew obfuscation" and "a preposition is never something to end a sentence with", a form of self-reference.

The science editor George L. Trigg published a list of such rules in 1979.[2] The term "Fumblerules" was coined in a list of such rules compiled by William Safire on Sunday, 4 November 1979,[3][4] in his column "On Language" in the New York Times. Safire later authored a book titled A Lighthearted Guide to Grammar and Good Usage, which was reprinted in 2005 as How Not To Write: The Essential Misrules of Grammar.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dennis Joseph Enright (1983). A Mania for Sentences. Chatto & Windus/Hogarth Press. 
  2. ^ Physical Review Letters 42 (12), pp. 747–748 (19 March 1979)
  3. ^ alt.usage.english.org's Humorous Rules for Writing
  4. ^ Safire, William (1979-11-04). "On Language; The Fumblerules of Grammar". New York Times. p. SM4. 

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