Read The Elements Of Style by William Strunk Jr. Online


The Elements of Style (1918), also known as Strunk & White, by William Strunk, Jr. This book is a prescriptive American English writing style guide comprising eight "elementary rules of usage", ten "elementary principles of composition", "a few matters of form", a list of forty-nine "words and expressions commonly misused", and a list of fifty-seven "words often misspeThe Elements of Style (1918), also known as Strunk & White, by William Strunk, Jr. This book is a prescriptive American English writing style guide comprising eight "elementary rules of usage", ten "elementary principles of composition", "a few matters of form", a list of forty-nine "words and expressions commonly misused", and a list of fifty-seven "words often misspelled".+Active table of contents+Biography of William Strunk...

Title : The Elements Of Style
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ISBN : 9789562916462
Format Type : Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages : 52 Pages
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The Elements Of Style Reviews

  • Patricia
    2019-02-09 15:17

    This book is good for the following things: 1. Propping up a short table leg2. Lining a bird cage3. Building a fire4. Using as a coaster for cold drinksI devoted some of my grammar thesis to criticizing this book, and it was time well spent. Geoff Nunberg may have said it best: "The weird thing is to see rules like these passed down as traditional linguistic wisdom. Take that edict that you ought to say "10 persons" rather than "10 people." You can still find it in the recent editions of Strunk and White's revered Elements of Style, along with antique admonitions against saying "contact us" or calling something "worthwhile." The linguist Arnold Zwicky calls these zombie rules. Somebody should have run them through a wood chipper long ago, but here we are in 2010 assigning students a style guide that tells them that correct English requires them to write, "There were 5,000 screaming persons at the Lady Gaga concert."

  • Patrick Gibson
    2019-01-23 12:09

    I remember, my Freshman year, sitting in the Music Building lounge waiting for my next class when Maryanne came crashing in, with an appropriate amount of chaos, announcing to all “Oh crap, I can’t find my Strunk and White.” Everyone else in the room apparently knew what she was talking about, but I sat with a blank stare. A few weeks latter my required English 101 professor insisted we hit the bookstore and buy ‘The Elements of Style.’ We were to treat it like the Holy Grail of grammar, carry it with us at all times, sleep with it, and consider it our eternal faithful lover. This would become the first of many copies of Strunk & White that have come and gone in my life. I think at one time I actually had four copies. Maryanne, made a similar pontification in the same lounge a month later “Oh no, I have lost my Boosey & Hawkes”* which I did understand. It may have sounded more erotic than Strunk & White but certainly less dramatic. For me Boosies and Hawksies came and went, but Strunks and Whites have remained constant. This year, for my birthday, I received yet another copy. Only this edition is hardback and Illustrated! At first I thought: how queer can this be? It has got to be a mistake. It’s a grammar book! This had to be a novel, a book on fashion, or something sharing a name. Nope. Same Strunk & White – only this time with pictures. Over the years, I have acquired other books on grammar (even one on Pittsburgh diction—go figure) but none can compare. The Elements of Style is concise, easy to understand and practically perfect. It’s the best. Ever.And a very clever artist has figured out how to illustrate sentence fragments, misused words, the hyphen, participle phrases and lots of other teeth gritting English stumbling blocks—in a very Magritte sort of way.Yet, there is one thing, even the most excellent book, won’t be able to do, as, my friends will attest, and this, would be, comma abuse, of which, I am the Master.*It’s a Music Publisher

  • J.G. Keely
    2019-01-26 18:26

    There must be some structure to language. We must agree on some aspects of it, and creating rules and definitions around those mutual agreements helps to foster intelligibility throughout the language.Likewise, this agreement to abide by these rules means that we can teach communication. This does not mean only in the case of children, but it certainly simplifies it for them. This also means that writers can continue to learn, to interact, and to write understandably and not wastefully.We take these rules from traditions, but also from common sense. Strunk's rulings on word use (especially amongst words with similar meanings) are based on the root words, and the original meanings. Strunk means to separate these similar words so that instead of synonyms, we have two similar but precise words.This also prevents confusion, as various English dialects may take these words in different ways, but all share the same roots.However, language changes constantly, so regulating it and placing rules on it is difficult. Many feel that it stifles creativity, or that it places hegemonic power in the hands of the elite. One benefit of this regulation is that we can read Shakespeare today with little trouble.Dictionaries came into popularity around the time of Shakespeare, as did the study of philology. We have more trouble reading Chaucer, even though only two-hundred years separate Chaucer and Shakespeare, while twice that length separates Shakespeare from us.The work of Strunk and White is not to close off language, nor to set it absolutely free, but to make a linguistic analysis of its forms, meanings and changes, but one that the layman can appreciate. The work is somewhat dated by today's standards, but this actually provides the perfect example for many of the book's observations on the mutability of language.It likewise supports the assertion that language may change, but not as much as you might think. Strunk and White is just as useful to an author today as it was when it was compiled.It is light-hearted and often humorous, and presents language and communication in a thoughtful way. Any writer should come away from this book with a new respect for language, and with a keener eye for seeing their own writing.While the book sometimes seems severe in its regulations, this is only because misuse is so rampant and so ugly. Similarly, someone might tell you "under no circumstances should you balance on a chair on the edge of the roof of a ten story building". This rule is perfectly reasonable, despite the fact that some well-trained, adventurous individuals are quite capable of this feat.The fact remains that for the majority, violating these simple rules will result in an unsightly mess. A talented and experienced writer can flaunt and even break the rules when it suits him. The greatest writers do, and this book gives examples of how and why they do it.However, rules are how we create meaning. Whether you follow them or break them, you must know them and understand how they work in order to communicate to your reader. You cannot subvert and idea unless you understand it, and you cannot communicate anything to your reader that doesn't have a basis in their experiences and understanding.There is no impressive act of creation that is not conscious and considered, because rebellion cannot happen in a void. It's the rule that proves the exception.

  • David
    2019-02-04 16:16

    In her charming essay, "Insert a Carrot", Anne Fadiman describes a trait shared by everyone in her family - a heightened sensitivity to the flaws in other people's writing. The Fadimans all belong to that tribe whose members cannot read without simultaneously copy-editing. When dining out, they amuse each other by pointing out typos on the menu. It might seem obnoxious, but really they just can't help it. If you're blessed with the copy-editing gene you can't just switch it off. I have the same problem. When I read, typographical and grammatical errors leap off the page, assailing my eyeballs, demanding to be noticed. A distraction that I am incapable of ignoring, they hijack my attention and diminish my respect for the author. I want my own writing to be free of such distractions; it should be forceful and persuasive. I welcome constructive advice that helps me attain that goal. My copy of "Modern American Usage" is grubby and well-thumbed. I think its author, Bryan A. Garner, has accomplished something quite remarkable. He has written a usage guide that gives writers clear, concrete, reasoned advice, without being overly dogmatic or erring on the side of sloppiness. I hate sloppy writing. I also hate Strunk and White. Its popularity is inexplicable to me. Here are just a few of my objections:1. Their famous motto, "Omit needless words", is fatuous and has absolutely no practical value. (If I knew how to do this, I'd already be some kind of great communication guru.) Repeating this essentially vapid advice in similarly empty formulations like "Be clear" and "Don't explain too much" is of no practical help to anybody, and suggests that even the authors have difficulty in deciphering their own admonitions.2. The stylistic tips that are not simply platitudinous are often just silly, hopelessly vague, or reflective of the long outdated prejudices of a couple of old white dudes. For example - Do not inject opinion.Prefer the standard to the offbeat.Do not use dialect unless your ear is good. Write with nouns and verbs.Don't construct awkward adverbs.Avoid fancy words.Use figures of speech sparingly.Do not overwrite.Having trouble figuring out whether your ear is "good", your adverb is "awkward", or your writing is "over"? Good luck with that. S & W will be of no help whatsoever. Why not?3. The examples used to illustrate "bad" style in the book are generally ludicrously bad. The need for correction is so glaringly obvious that the examples have little instructive value. The authors are well able to demolish straw men, but if you want advice on a subtle point, they are unlikely to be of any practical help.4. The fetishistic obsession with avoiding the passive voice is (a) baffling (b) profoundly irritating when some freaking paperclip starts to lecture you about it (c) so obviously idiotic that the authors themselves ignore it throughout the book. Other questionable decrees include the ukase that "none" should always take a singular verb, the prohibition on starting a sentence with "however", and the pointless "which/that" discussion.These exemplify one of the book's biggest problems, which - to be fair - is not necessarily the authors' fault. It has achieved the status of a kind of sacred text, with all of the problems that result. People become blind to the internal inconsistencies within the text, it gets quoted with the kind of self-righteous zeal characteristic to "true believers" and to similar ends. Instead of stimulating thoughtful discussion, S & W is wielded as a weapon to end it. Which might not be so terrible if the advice it contains were not so vague, idiosyncratic and frequently inconsistent. Probably the most infuriating aspect of writing our book was my co-author's continual invocation of Strunk and White as the final arbiter. One can only wonder by whose authority these two gentlemen were anointed God.In a cunning marketing gimmick, the latest edition of Strunk and White has been jazzed up by including illustrations by Maira Kalman. Ms Kalman is a delightful artist, whose work elsewhere I greatly admire. But she really should have said no to this particular project. Her illustrations are occasionally pretty, sometimes baffling, but generally pointless. They add no particular insight, though some readers may find them a welcome distraction from the barked eccentricities of the book's two main authors.

  • Kenny
    2019-02-03 12:10

    The gold standard. No more need be said than to quote Mr. Strunk's thoughts under the headline "Omit Needless Words":"Vigorous writing is concise. 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 reader make all sentences short, or avoid all detail and treat subjects only in outline, but that every word tell."And every word of Mr. Strunk's (as updated and expanded by the brilliant and self-effacing E.B. White) indeed does tell.Don't touch your keyboard without reading this book!

  • Pooja
    2019-02-11 17:23

    Write to-day, to-night, to-morrow (but not together) with hyphen.Write any one, every one, some one, some time (except the sense of formerly) as two words.Thanking you in advance. This sounds as if the writer meant, "It will not be worth my while to write to you again." Simply write, "Thanking you," and if the favor which you have requested is granted, write a letter of acknowledgment.#Life-Writing-Lessons!

  • Richard Derus
    2019-02-02 11:38

    Rating: 5* of fiveThe essential guide to HOW to write! How much better to start with a guide to achieving an effect you're looking for.

  • Leonard Gaya
    2019-02-01 15:13

    “It is an old observation that the best writers sometimes disregard the rules of rhetoric”, says professor Strunk. The old fart was probably referring to his students at Cornell University. The Elements of Style is indeed a dusty textbook (1918), but still widely in use today. It aims at providing a set of rules and tips on how to write properly, if not elegantly. Stephen King, in On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, strongly recommends this book to any aspiring fiction writer.In truth, such rules as, for instance, the pre-eminence of the active over the passive voice, or the superiority of the positive over the negative mode in a sentence (which, at the time, were perhaps not as evident), have become the sesame of communication, advocated at school, in business and even in spelling and grammar software.Some of Strunk’s remarks are amusing, sarcastic even, like this one on the use of the word Nature: “Often vaguely used in such expressions as “a lover of nature;” “poems about nature.” Unless more specific statements follow, the reader cannot tell whether the poems have to do with natural scenery, rural life, the sunset, the untracked wilderness, or the habits of squirrels.”The core of all this hodgepodge of rules -some of them, quite outdated- is to prompt students to write boldly, confidently, with crispness and vigour, and avoid fizzling out with sloppy writing. Nothing to complain about.

  • David
    2019-02-14 17:28

    It is very good for what it does, which is advise on how to write clearly and concisely. But generations of writers have completely misunderstood its purpose and used it as a Bible of Good Writing. It's not. Linguist Geoffrey Pullum has famously gone on something of a crusade against The Elements of Style, and while he makes good points, it may be a little unfair to blame S&W for the fact that writers don't realize the original authors were addressing an audience of barely-literate college students. If you are a fiction writer, S&W's advice should be taken with a very large grain of salt — if you try to write novels using The Elements of Style as your guide, you will probably write very cleanly and correctly but very badly.

  • JonathanT
    2019-01-21 13:25

    OBVIOUSLY I NEED MORE APPRECIATION FOR GRAMMAR. But to be honest I’ve never been much of a grammar enthusiast?? At all?? Just stalk my blog for any amount of time and you’ll figure out that typos are my trademark. XD But still, despite the fact that this is drier than hardtack and less interesting than dirt, IT IS 100% HELPFUL. Like why did no one tell me before now that it’s “memento” not “momento?” I feel betrayed by autocorrect tbh. Next time I have a question about grammar (HAHAHAhaha let’s just pretend I ask myself questions about grammar when instead I normally just wing it) I’ll refer back to this. :D Also if you’re an editor you probably need this in your life.

  • Blake
    2019-01-17 18:24

    Had I read this a year ago, happily under the spell of nazism, I might have filled this little review with the kind of gleaming praise and happy diligence of the awakened; however, in the past year I was compelled to take up a few contemporary grammar and style guides and subsequently have developed a sore throat around these pills. I spit them out.My grammar is not sparkling, nor even prone to an occasional gloss shimmer; nonetheless, a book of this sort does little to help the sheen. Its voice is commanding and the pressing of its commands outright to the reader leaves little space for compromise. The authority it has gained thereby, and particularly over young writers and students, is somewhat unnerving in its potential. It is troubling, in particular and general, that the book's tidiness comes at the cost of elaboration. A command is short and to the point, but it is not explicative. There are a few exceptions in which the categoricity of these commands is spelled out for the reader, but in most cases we are left alone with the word. So in these circumstances there is no knowing those rules that are worth following from those that are not.

  • Eric
    2019-01-20 11:27

    I never thought I would say this about a book, but every writer needs to read this book. Hell, if you plan on writing anything you should read this book. The title is very misleading. Anyone who came across it for the first time might think it was a book about "style" as an artform. For those who are worried about the pedantry of writing, this book is mostly about grammar and what can be more effective in using the English language. This needs to be in the curriculumn for high schools, especially now when grammar is being forgotten so that people can e-mail and sound stupid on myspace. I only had two bones to pick with this book: First, I thought a comment E.B. White made in terms of using only "he" instead of "she" as a universal antecedent for sentences that may begin, "One must watch his/her step," is a bit off for somebody who studies language. On one hand we have someone in love with language who agrees with Strunk that student body should be replaced with studentry, and on the other hand White is giving in to gender roles within language. A bit silly, and as many readers might have picked recognized, writing books have "she" in a lot of them. Second, White made a comment about not using a foreign language in a work which, though I agree can be confusing, can still be pulled off. The way it came across was distasteful. But those are perhaps just comments on what I might feel about White as a person and not as a writer or teacher. Get this book!

  • Simon Fay
    2019-02-01 11:12

    As a couple of reviewers have mentioned, Elements of Style has become somewhat out of style. There are plenty of people who stand by it as a trusted source for all things grammar, but I imagine even diehard supporters will grudgingly admit that the standards it established have led to some truly convoluted sentences.Even so, I still recommend it as a handy pocketbook for anybody who's interested in the craft of writing. When I originally read it a number of years ago, I was a little strict in following the rules it outlined. It had a negative impact on my writing. But as I outgrew some of the habits it taught me, I began to think of it more as a leap off point for amateur wordsmiths, a sturdy foundation for beginners to build their own style on.Yes, there are probably more up to date guides on grammar and writing, but I haven't read those, so my rating for this book exists in a vacuum of sorts: It's a good manual if you take it as the beginning of wisdom, not the end. Most importantly, the material is simple and engaging. The examples and logic are straightforward. And at the very least it will get you playing with the English language.

  • Lisa
    2019-02-09 17:26

    What a classic. This book I read is a reprint from the original 1920 version.It's a great book for writers. Let's face it, we all write emails, so we can all use it.Here are examples of the great reminders I got from the book -1) use active voicenot: confirmation of these reports cannot be obtained.instead: these reports cannot be confirmed2) omit needless wordsnot: he is a man who drinks ofteninstead: he drinks often3) put statements in positive formnot: I did not pay attention to the rain dropsinstead: I ignored the rain drops4) the word 'less' should not be used as a synonym for the word 'fewer'5) don't thank people in advanceif you say "thanks in advance"'re saying "I cannot be bothered with writing you again"

  • Roy Lotz
    2019-02-15 16:36

    I still remember, and will always remember, my 11th grade English class. Before that year, English class had meant little more than vocabulary tests, book reports, and those five-paragraph (hamburger) essays. But this class was different. Our teacher was not interested in getting us to pass a standardized test; instead, she wanted to really teach us how to read and write.To my astonishment, I realized that nobody had ever done that before. I had been taught how to write a five-paragraph essay, but not how to write. I had been taught how to pass tests on books, but not how to read them. Writing formulaic essays and passing multiple-choice tests requires certain skills: brute memorization and learning by rout. But reading and writing require something much different: a sensitivity to the written word. Integral to developing this sensitivity was reading this slim volume.The Elements of Style is normally billed as a kind of guidebook or instruction manual—these are the rules of grammar; these are the rules of style: follow them and you will produce good writing. And, indeed, this is how the book is formatted. But half of Strunk’s rules of grammar and usage are hopelessly outdated; the other half will probably be outdated in another fifty years. What’s more, how can anyone hope to encapsulate ‘good style’, since highly respected authors have written an enormous variety of styles?No; the value of this book lies neither in its rules of grammar nor of style. It is valuable because Strunk and White cherish language. Consider this quote: “The colon has more effect than the comma, less power to separate than the semicolon, and more formality than the dash.” Now, this may or may not be true; I’m not saying it isn’t. My point is that, regardless, what’s important is Strunk’s attitude—that he cared deeply enough about writing to sit down and describe the feelings evoked by punctuation. To my high school self, this was beyond belief.Strunk felt that writing was about communication—getting your point across fully without wasting the reader’s time. Say what you will about him, he was not a hypocrite; this little book can be read in one sitting. In fact, so fully does this book live up to its author’s ideals, that the reader gets a full dose of his personality. When reading Strunk's taut bullet points—“Put statements into positive form!” “Omit needless words!”—you can almost hear him yelling them in a crowded classroom—his voice harsh and nasal, his skin pale, his face cleanly shaven, wearing a tweed jacket and tapping the lectern with an open palm.“Omit needless words!” he says again, this time with a slight grin. And with that grin, you both realize the obvious: that he’s secretly thankful for all the writers who don’t abide by his principles; otherwise, he would have nothing to be grumpy about.The point is not that you write this way or that; the point is that you care about the way you choose.

  • Paul Nash
    2019-02-10 14:08

    If you're an aspiring writer or just like to write for pleasure (like myself), there's no better grammatical guide!King turned me on to this little gem! :)

  • Peter
    2019-01-16 18:30

    Dated and Obsolete.Readers that are looking for a style manual, a usage or grammar guide can find many options better than Strunk and White. When I began using this book back in the late 1980s, it helped me immensely with college papers and then my early writing for work. Now, reading it again, thirty years later, it is just like the computer I used back in the late eighties, obsolete in many ways and underpowered for today's tasks. The English language is always growing and changing, impacted by its many speakers and writers. What was true thirty years ago, is not necessarily true today. I know. I know. That's not right Peter; grammar does not change; people just begin using it incorrectly. I refer you to the Bard. Shakespeare wrote in As You Like It, "I cannot go no further." It was not idiomatic. When grammarians finally set down the edict that double negation was wrong, one of the great linguists of the day said that the English language was all the weaker because of it. That's a long time ago, but other changes occur all the time. Rest assured, as the Millenial generation makes its mark on the language, they will change a few things themselves.As writers and speakers of the language, we need a style and usage manual that makes sure we are up to date. Strunk and White's Elements of Style is not. Moreover, as we get more and more sophisticated (think of the computers we now hold in our hands), we need a style and usage manual that is also more advanced. I'm sorry, a good manual on the English language will not fit in your pocket. If you are looking for a good style and usage manual, check out anything Bryan Garner has written.No doubt I've made some grammar or style mistakes in my review. I'm not perfect, but my style and usage manual by Bryan Garner is.

  • Will Ransohoff
    2019-01-21 17:25

    It's a little prescriptive, but this book's advice is solid. The fourth chapter was actually fun to read because parts of it came across as a long, pompous rant."To say, "Hopefully I'll leave on the noon plane" is to talk nonsense. Do you mean you'll leave on the noon plane in a hopeful frame of mind? Or do you mean you hope you'll leave on the noon plane? Whichever you mean, you haven't said it clearly. Although the word in its new, free-floating capacity may be pleasurable and even useful to many, it offends the ear of many others, who do not like to see words dulled or eroded, particularly when the erosion leads to ambiguity, softness, or nonsense."Hopefully I don't run into Strunk or White on the street; they would really hate how I usually talk and write. There is some great advice about writing forcefully and concisely in this book, and at a hundred pages it's well worth the time.

  • Jim
    2019-01-23 11:15

    Everyone thinks of this as a book for writers, but today, most of us are. We write to communicate through email, memos & letters. Everyone can benefit by reading this book. It looks quite short & slim, but that is deceiving, like Kern & Ritchie's book on C. They fit a LOT into a small package & it takes practice & referral to get the basics down.

  • Gisela Hausmann
    2019-01-31 12:25

    What a great book - a classic. I loved the funny examples (of yore), sentences most of us would not write any longer. Then again, because we would not write them anymore we pay attention, we are tempted to analyze them. Is the book still relevant? You bet!“… show the weakness of the word NOT. Consciously or unconsciously, the reader is dissatisfied with being told only what is not; he wishes to be told what is. Hence, as a rule, it is better to express even a negative in positive form.Not honest ................................dishonestNot important .............................triflingDid not remember...........................forgotDid not pay attention to...................ignoredDid not have much confidence in............distrusted…”And isn’t it, that we read the words listed on the left side, every day?Whoops, make that, "the book's importance and relevance is proven in the fact that that most of us get to read and also write the words listed on the left side, too frequently. Highly recommended. Gisela Hausmann, author & blogger

  • Kellyn Roth
    2019-02-06 13:14

    Admittedly, I use the dictionary a lot less than this little book.

  • David Fleming
    2019-02-05 14:12

    The aspect that makes this my book of choice regarding English language usage and style is the fact that its authors presented it in a structure that doesn’t demand a reader to understand the naming of the different parts of speech in order to benefit from its teaching. The format is basically a series of boldface statements. These are spoken in the standard English gobbledeguck yet immediately backed up by real-world examples. This is a highly effective strategy because, let’s face it, all those fancy words don’t really mean all that much to non-academics. But, if modal auxiliaries, pronominal possessives and gerunds are your thing, there’s a handy glossary at the end. (Some of these terms are actually quite useful, like the difference between a loose sentence and a periodic sentence. It’s not what you think. Get your mind out of the gutter.)Then, there’s Section V, An Approach to Style with no less than twenty-one reminders of how to be stylish in one’s writing. The authors could not be reached for comment at to whether the number twenty-one has any correlation to the American drinking age. Yes, I know, they’ve long passed-on to that great ellipsis in the sky. Makes one wonder: If heaven exists, do they correct the speech of ghosts up there? That’s probably not important. What’s important is that this is one, lean, mean grammatical machine.So maybe you read this book and then you still want more. You’ve become an insatiable style and grammar monster, maintaining parallel constructions and using active voice and economy in every instance. But you still want more - MORE! Well, then I suppose you could read this: Arthur Plotnik's Spunk and Bite: A writer's guide to punchier more engaging language style. The title is a play on the names of the authors of The Elements of Style and it’s a pretty decent follow-up to this classical work.

  • Hayden
    2019-01-16 13:09

    I feel like I've just been dumped into a bathtub where I've been vigorously and roughly scrubbed until raw.This book is short and viciously concise. Its strongly worded list of dos and don'ts in writing is not left to any ambiguity. (I guess the author is following his own advice)I do not agree with those who view this book as the ultimate word on grammar and writing (we're not supposed to say "five people" but instead "five persons?" Seriously?) but neither do I disparage it as an outdated and pretentious work as many modern students of writing and literature do. Most of my own disagreements lie in the fourth chapter, "Words and Expressions Commonly Misused," which is where he started to really lose me. Some of his complaints are genuinely outdated or are simply what I think are the author's own preferences. Still, the majority of this book's content is basic but sadly neglected grammar guidelines that I wholeheartedly agree with AND WISH TO HEAVEN THAT MORE PEOPLE WOULD FOLLOW.Still, despite some reservations, I would recommend this to any writer wanting to brush up on some of the basics. It really is like taking a scalding bath to wash away the grime and dirt of the cringe-worthy grammar we run into on a daily basis. (Thanks, social media)

  • David Acevedo
    2019-02-06 17:36

    I have a bone to pick with the author of this book. Several bones... First off, the book is way too Americanised. The so called "elements of style" in this book are sold as international standard (a linguistic crime as there is no such thing), yet it sets aside the British proprieties as well as the Irish, Indian and Australian niceties. Now, maybe I'm a true internationalist, but when a book tells me that I should not use contractions in an official document, when in fact, there's a huge and extensive debate about it still going on, and leaning nowadays towards using them for ease and flow of language purposes, and when a book of "style" tells me that I should not use my native "utilize" and instead should use "use", I become immediately suspicious.

  • R.K. Ryde
    2019-02-07 12:18

    Great reference book when writing. To be honest though, I like the illustrations more :)

  • Skyler Myers
    2019-01-27 14:16

    PROs:* Short and concise* Good examples* Lots of information covered in a small period of timeCONs:* Technical grammatical language used* Many statements are presented as absolutes (i.e. NEVER do 'this'), when in reality they are more situational* HORRIBLE formatting on the KindleI saw that this book is highly recommended and regarded, decided to look it up, and found that it was free to download on the Kindle. I went ahead and downloaded it and read it in one sitting. Unfortunately much of it was almost incoherent to me due to the technical language used (be prepared to understand what the third person of a past participle conjunctive adverb is). Someone better versed in grammatical language surely would have a greater appreciation of the book than I.It is hard to even judge the helpfulness of the content of the book due to the subjective nature of the tips provided. Many of these tips are even quite obvious, such as the famous statement to "omit needless words". How ever would I have figured that out? The author even admits that many of these rules can be broken in proper moments, and master writers disregard the rules occasionally to their advantage. Because of this, it seems that simply reading from the masters would be immeasurably more helpful than this manual.Lastly, the book shows its age on a few sections, notably the 'common spelling errors' section. I'm sure this was a much praised list prior to the advent of spell checker.

  • Stela
    2019-01-17 19:09

    This was a very quick reading!A useful book for teachers, with some basic linguistic and stylistic rules clearly explained. I found a lot of errors my students endlessly commit and I list for fun some of them:- always refer the participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence to the grammatical subject, in order not to lead to sentences like the following: "Being in a dilapidated condition, I was able to buy the house very cheap." Poor me!;-do not form paragraphs of single sentences (I'll never tire to repeat this, for the result of breaking this rule is so artificial and emphatic!);-do not use negation as a means of evasion, only as a denial or an antithesis);-do omit (please!) needles expressions as "the fact that";-put modifiers as close as you can to the word they modify: "He found only two mistakes" not "He only found two mistakes";-use the word "clever" only for small matters;-do not use etc. at the end of a list of persons;-do not mistake "who" for a complement when it is in fact a subject to a second verb: "His brother who he said would send him the money" not "His brother whom he said would send him the money"There are many other sound rules I let you the pleasure to discover!

  • A.
    2019-01-19 11:09

    My former literature teacher recommended this text to me when I asked him about tools to improve my writing.It discusses grammar, word choice, and writing style. Though I knew some of the information in this book, because reading frequently instills writing patterns in one's mind, the rest of the information summarized every little piece of feedback former teachers have given me about my writing, which I need to take heed of. I found this to be beneficial, and I think I will keep my paperback copy as a reference book to use when editing my essays and other writings.

  • Gavin Abdollahi
    2019-01-31 14:25

    “The mind travels faster than the pen; consequently, writing becomes a question of learning to make occasional wing shots, bringing down the bird of thought as it flashes by. A writer is a gunner, sometimes waiting in the blind for something to come in, sometimes roaming the countryside hoping to scare something up.” The Elements of Style is THEwriter's handbook.It is a collection of rules and tips, meant to guide you on your journey of writing. Those rules and tips are very helpful, informative, and very necessary for wannabe writers. A must read for any author, or any person whom wishes to become one.

  • Beth
    2019-02-07 19:27

    I hated, hated, HATED this book! Talk about literary elitism at its worst. This book annoyed me to no end because the entire tone of this book was, "If you write like this or if you say this, then it's wrong." So much of what was written in the "Improperly used words" section could be completely argued that language has evolved to the point where many of these rules don't apply anymore. I also didn't like the imperative manner in which it was written. Don't order me to do these things; give me encouragement, tell me what's good about writing, don't just tell me what not to do. The last chapter of the book was much more positive, and I think that's because it was written by E.B. White. I could totally tell where one voice began and the other ended. I guess what really upsets me most about this book is how discouraging it can be for beginning writers to see so many nit-picky "rules" of writing and find themselves saying, "Why bother?" For people who enjoy writing, maybe this book might be of some use as a way to give you "friendly reminders," but I fear beginning writers getting a hold of this book, saying, "Writing has way too many rules," and then giving up before they even try. I have many other writing books in my collection that are written with voice and flow, and are inspirational rather than enraging. (e.g.In the Middle by Nancie Atwell,Clearing the Way and Crafting Authentic Voice by Tom Romano,The Craft of Revision by Donald M. Murray,Style: Toward Clarity and Grace by Joseph M. Williams, etc.) I think I will continue to refer to those books rather than this one.