Category Menu

Elements of Style: Strunk & White

This little book has been recommended to me by numerous writers and editors since I began writing for publication in 1999. Since it has been around for a long time, there are several editions, my copy being the Third Edition. The 50th anniversary edition was published in 2008 and is available at retailers.

In the beginning, the book was developed by William Strunk, Jr., as a teaching aid in college classes at Cornell University. E. B. White was a student of Strunk, and, in 1957, he was asked to revise the book for publication after Strunk’s death.

Strunk’s motto was, “Omit needless words.” A timeless truth. Why muddy the waters with words you don’t need? Express your thoughts as succinctly as possible to keep your reader’s attention.

Elementary rules of usage are covered in Part I, followed by Elementary Principles of Composition (Part II). Matters of form, commonly misused words, and a section entitled “An Approach to Style” complete the book.

As mentioned earlier, this book has been recommended in numerous writers’ workshops I have attended. However, I’ve discovered that Elements of Style does not enjoy universal endorsement. See a collection of articles criticizing this venerable reference on the New York Times site. Don’t stop there, though. Read the comments on that article. I think, to say the least, the value of  Strunk & White for writers is up for debate.

I suggest that you buy or borrow a copy and read it for yourself. To have lasted to long and to be recommended by so many people, there must be something of value between the covers! Buy it on Amazon: The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition

Comments are closed.

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes