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The fourth edition of The Elements of Style , published 54 years after Strunk's death, omits his stylistic advice about masculine pronouns: "unless the antecedent is or must be feminine". Components new to the fourth edition include a foreword by Roger Angell , stepson of E. White, an afterword by the American cultural commentator Charles Osgood , a glossary, and an index.

Five years later, the fourth edition text was re-published as The Elements of Style Illustrated , with illustrations by the designer Maira Kalman. This edition excludes the afterword by Charles Osgood and restores the first edition chapter on spelling.

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The Elements of Style was listed as one of the best and most influential books written in English since by Time in its list. If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second-greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The book's toxic mix of purism, atavism, and personal eccentricity is not underpinned by a proper grounding in English grammar. It is often so misguided that the authors appear not to notice their own egregious flouting of its own rules It's sad. Several generations of college students learned their grammar from the uninformed bossiness of Strunk and White , and the result is a nation of educated people who know they feel vaguely anxious and insecure whenever they write however or than me or was or which , but can't tell you why.

Pullum has argued, for example, that the authors misunderstood what constitutes the passive voice , and he criticized their proscription of established and unproblematic English usages, such as the split infinitive and the use of which in a restrictive relative clause. In On Writing , p. Of course, it's short; at eighty-five pages it's much shorter than this one. I'll tell you right now that every aspiring writer should read The Elements of Style. Rule 17 in the chapter titled Principles of Composition is 'Omit needless words.

In , Tim Skern remarked perhaps equivocally that The Elements of Style "remains the best book available on writing good English". Britt Peterson of the Boston Globe wrote that it was a "curious addition". In , the Open Syllabus Project [22] lists The Elements of Style as the most frequently assigned text in US academic syllabuses, based on an analysis of , texts appearing in over 1 million syllabuses.

Because the text of Strunk's original is now in the public domain and freely available on the Internet, publishers can and do reprint it in book form. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The Elements of Style First expanded edition William Strunk Jr.

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White Dewey Decimal. Retrieved Time, Inc. Each sub-bullet is a table leg that supports its parent.

The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr.

For each paragraph: the first sentence should state your main point; the middle sentences should elaborate on and support it; the final sentence should re-emphasise the first. If you need more than one linking phrase, consider setting them apart in their own paragraph.


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Keep related words together to maintain flow and help the reader identify relationships between them. Avoid using too many. Instead try tighter constructions. Unless you are pressed for time. The final punctuation mark in parenthesis is omitted unless it is a question mark, an exclamation point or the expression is wholly detached.

Elements of Style Module 1 (ELEMENTARY RULES OF USAGE)

In-line quotes, or those that are the direct object of verbs, are preceded by a comma and enclosed in quotation marks. Proverbial expressions, colloquialisms, slang and indirect quotes are not enclosed in quotation marks:.

The Elements of Style

Abbreviate references and give them in parenthesis or footnotes, not in the body of the sentence. If you enjoyed this post, why not:.


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Vigorous writing is concise. There is a general agreement among those who have enjoyed the experience that surf-riding is productive of great exhilaration. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that he make every word tell.


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Macbeth was very ambitious. This led him to wish to become king of Scotland. The witches told him that this wish of his would come true. The king of Scotland at this time was Duncan. Encouraged by his wife, Macbeth murdered Duncan.

The Elements of Style Illustrated

He was thus enabled to succeed Duncan as king. Encouraged by his wife, Macbeth achieved his ambition and realized the prediction of the witches by murdering Duncan and becoming king of Scotland in his place. Avoid this word as a perfunctory means of introduction. Instead of announcing that what you are about to tell is interesting, make it so. Then consider signing up for my Monday Medley newsletter. It's a collection of fascinating finds from my week, usually about psychology, technology, health, philosophy, and whatever else catches my interest.

I also include new articles, book notes, and podcast episodes. High-Level Thoughts Some very important lessons for the aspiring writer.