The Chestertonian (Sarah G)'s Reviews > The Elements of Style

The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr.
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"I remember that I died laughing through that whole book. I went back and read it again for fun."

Okay, so I didn't think The Elements of Style was that funny--that was a classmate of mine. My own reaction to Strunk and White was horror. I had never known there could be so many wrong ways to use words; many of the wrong ways were habits for me. I had thought my writing was concise, but S&W convicted me of wordiness. Those two men were stern teachers to me.

After my initial humility at finding I regularly made over thirty stylistic errors began to wear off, I argued with several of the rules. Strunk is (in my opinion) too strict about the correct use of "however," and a few other rules are outdated as well. Yet in spite of those rules that are going the way of the wall phone, The Elements of Style remains a classic guide to clear English prose. It is a rare book that gives so much useful instruction in so few pages, but perhaps if more of us take to heart the command to "omit needless words," then more such succinct gems will be written.
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