by Kathryn Petras and Ross Petras of Mscsweeney’s
Strunk Rule: Omit needless words
Trump Rule: No word is needless. They’re all great! Terrific! They’re fantastic words! I know about fantastic words!
On Day One, we will begin working on an impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful southern border wall. We will use the best technology, including above- and below-ground sensors. That’s the tunnels. Remember that. Above and below. Above- and below-ground sensors, towers, aerial surveillance and manpower to supplement the wall, find and dislocate tunnels and keep out criminal cartels and Mexico, you know that, will work with us.
— speech, 8/31/16
Strunk rule: Place yourself in the background.
Trump rule: Background?
I know more about renewables than any human being on Earth.
— interview, Sean Hannity, 4/13/16
I think nobody knows more about taxes than I do, maybe in the history of the world. Nobody knows more about taxes.
— interview, AP 5/13/16
I know more about ISIS [the Islamic State militant group] than the generals do. Believe me.
— speech, 11/12/15
There is nobody who understands the horror of nuclear more than me.
— speech, 6/15/16
I know more about Cory [Booker] than he knows about himself.
— tweet, 7/25/16
Strunk Rule: Avoid using dialect.
Trump Rule: Make dialect great again!
When these people [Asians] walk into the room, they don’t say, “Oh hello, how’s the weather? It’s so beautiful outside. How are the Yankees doing?”They’re doing wonderful, that’s great.’ They say, “We want deal!”
— 8/26/15, during a campaign event in Iowa
Strunk Rule: Don’t overstate.
Trump Rule: Tell the truth about your great, great relationships with the [fill in the blank]. They love you!
I have a great relationship with the blacks. I’ve always had a great relationship with the blacks.
— TALK1300 radio interview, 4/14/11
I have a great relationship the Mexican people. I love them, they love me!
— MSBNC interview, 7/8/15
I have a great relationship with the people of Scotland and an unbelievably good relationship with the people of Aberdeen.
— press conference 6/8/15
I love Neil Young. And he loves me! We have a great relationship.
— in a Bloomberg interview after Young asked him to stop using his music as part of the campaign, 6/15
Strunk rule: Put statements in a positive form.
Trump rule: Sometimes you can be positively negative! Or negatively positive! Or both! Truth!
@ariannahuff is unattractive both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man — he made a good decision.
— tweet, 8/28/12
While @BetteMidler is an extremely unattractive woman, I refuse to say that because I always insist on being politically correct.
— tweet, 10/29/12
Rosie is crude, rude, obnoxious and dumb — other than that I like her very much!
— tweet, 7/11/14
Strunk Rule: Use orthodox spelling
Trump Rule: If Shakespeare (who is doing a terrific job) can spell things his way, so can you.
Wow, the highly respected Governor of Iowa just stated that “Ted Cruz must be defeated.” Big shoker! People do not like Ted.
— tweet, 1/19/16
Lying Ted Cruz and leightweight chocker Marco Rubio teamed up last night in a last ditch effort to stop our great movement. They failed!
— tweet, 2/26/16
I am honered to serve you, the great American People, as your 45th President of the United States!
— tweet, 1/21/17
Strunk rule: Use figures of speech sparingly
Trump rule: A good metaphor is as beautiful as someone’s not-tiny shapely hands!
I have read a lot about it and I watched it and Liberty University, like a rocket ship, a really great rocket ship.
— speech at Liberty University, 1/18/15
On gay marriage: It’s like in golf. A lot of people — I don’t want this to sound trivial — but a lot of people are switching to these really long putters, very unattractive. It’s weird. You see these great players with these really long putters, because they can’t sink three-footers anymore. And, I hate it. I am a traditionalist. I have so many fabulous friends who happen to be gay, but I am a traditionalist.
— interview, New York Times, 5/2/11
Strunk rule: The number of the subject determines the number of the verb.
Trump rule: Too complicated! Use whatever tense you want!
You know what uranium is, right? It’s a thing called nuclear weapons and other things like lots of things are done with uranium including some bad things.
— press conference, 2/16/17
And speaking of tenses, present, future, past? Who cares?
Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice.
— at an African American History Month event, 2/2/17
ANDERSON COOPER: “Did you use that $960 million loss to avoid paying personal federal income taxes?”
TRUMP: “Of course I do. Of course I do.”
— presidential debate, 10/10/16
Strunk Rule: Avoid fancy words
Trump Rule: I have the best fancy words. So fancy that no one else knows them!
I wrote The Art of the Deal; I say that not in a braggadocious way
— presidential debate, 9/26/16
China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters — rips it out of water and takes it to China in unpresidented act.
— tweet, 12/17/16
Strunk Rule: Avoid repetition
Trump Rule: What’s the problem with repetition, when you repeat something?
You know what a diplomat is? That’s a person that studies to be nice. In other words, they study to be nice.
— interview, CNBC’s The Kudlow Report, 3/18/11
That’s wrong. They were wrong. It’s The New York Times, they’re always wrong. They were wrong.
— Republican debate, 1/14/16
But when you look at this tremendous sea of love — I call it a “sea of love”…
— interview, ABC, describing a framed photograph of his inauguration crowd, 1/25/17
Strunk Rule: Avoid the use of qualifiers.
Trump Rule: Qualifiers are beautiful. Very beautiful!
These are the most beautiful phones I’ve ever used in my life.
— interview, New York Times, 1/27/17
We’re going to have beautiful clean coal.
— CPAC address, 2/24/16
We’re going to have a very, very elegant day, The 20th is going to be something that will be very, very special, very beautiful.
— tweet, 1/18/17
What I like is build a safe zone in Syria. Build a big, beautiful safe zone, and you have whatever it is so people can live…
— campaign rally, 2/13/17
Qualifiers are also tremendous!:
I have a tremendous income.
— presidential debate, 9/26/16
I pay tremendous numbers of taxes
— presidential debate, 10/9/16
I have had tremendous success.
— interview, ABC News, 7/30/16
I am worth a tremendous amount of money
— interview, CNN 6/26/15
Strunk rule: Do not inject opinions. Opinions scattered indiscriminately about leave the mark of egotism on a work.
Trump rule: Who are you calling an egotist?! My opinions are facts, unlike the FAKE news. Share!
@frankluntz works really hard but is a guy who just doesn’t have it — a total loser!
— tweet, 8/3/14
@cher attacked @mittromney. She is an average talent who is out of touch with reality. Like @rosieo’donnell, a total loser.
— tweet, 5/10/12
I don’t cheat at golf but SamuelLJackson cheats — with his game he has no choice — and stop doing commercials! Don’t like SamuelLJackson’s golf swing. Not athletic. I’ve won many club championships. Play him for charity!
— tweet, 1/5/16
Strunk rule: Place the emphatic words of a sentence at the end
Trump rule: And add an exclamation point! Great!
Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do. Love!
— tweet, 12/31/16