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The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition [School & Library Binding]

William Strunk Jr. , E.B. White , Roger Angell
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (807 customer reviews)

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School & Library Binding, August 1, 1999 $16.64  
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Book Description

August 1, 1999 0881030686 978-0881030686 4th
FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. The only style manual ever to appear on bestseller lists offers practical, fundamental advice on improving writing skills, promoting a style marked by simplicity, orderliness, and sincerity.

Editorial Reviews


"...a marvellous and timeless little book... Here, succinctly, elegantly and without fuss are the essentials of writing clear, correct English." John Clare, "The Telegraph" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

Some acclaim for previous editions:

"Buy it, study it, enjoy it. It's as timeless as a book can be in our age of volubility."
The New York Times

"No book in shorter space, with fewer words, will help any writer more than this persistent little volume."
The Boston Globe

"White is one of the best stylists and most lucid minds in this country. What he says and his way of saying it are equally rewarding."
The Wall Street Journal

"The book remains a nonpareil: direct, correct, and delightful."
The New Yorker

". . . Should be the daily companion of anyone who writes for a living, and for that matter, anyone who writes at all."
Greensboro (N.C.) Daily News

"This excellent book, which should go off to college with every freshman, is recognized as the best book of its kind we have."
St. Paul Dispatch – Pioneer Press

"It's hard to imagine an engineer or a manager who doesn't need to express himself in English prose as part of his job. It's also hard to imagine a writer who will not be improved by a liberal application of The Elements of Style."
Telephone Engineer & Management

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Series: Elements of Style
  • School & Library Binding: 105 pages
  • Publisher: Turtleback; 4th edition (August 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881030686
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881030686
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 4.6 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (807 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,181,852 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
472 of 498 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Writer's Tool. August 27, 2001
When I write a book I use only a handful of reference tools: dictionary, thesaurus, Gregg's Reference Handbook, Writers Market, and the Elements of Style. Strunk and White is a wonderfully-written, extraordinarily concise tool that pays homage to classic high-end English. It takes language insight to make this prediction in 1979: "By the time this paragraph makes print, uptight... rap, dude, vibes, copout, and funky will be the words of yesteryear." The book begins with eleven "Elementary Rules of Usage," and then continues with eleven more "Elementary Rules of Composition," and eleven "Matters of Form." Each is presented as a brief statement followed by another sentence or two of explanation and a few clarifying examples. This amazing compilation fills only thirty-eight pages, yet covers ninety percent of good writing fundamentals. My favorite section is Chapter IV, a twenty-seven-page, alphabetical listing of commonly misused words and expressions. Here's a trade secret: when my manuscript is "done," I then turn to this chapter and use my word processor's Find function to study every instance of all these problematic words and phrases. I never fail to find errors this way. Many great writers are so only because they've learned to make use of the best available tools. The end of the book contains an essay on "An Approach to Style" with a list of twenty-one "Reminders." Those who fight the apparently-natural tendency to go against these recommendations succeed as writers. Those who don't, fail. It's that simple. The single drawback of The Elements of Style is that it's too concise; it does not stand alone as an all-encompassing tutorial or reference guide. Many readers will seek other sources for more in-depth explanation of style elements. Despite that, it easily replaces ten pounds of other reference material. --Christopher Bonn Jonnes, author of Wake Up Dead.
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168 of 180 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential June 7, 2003
As the 'rules' in this iconic book take up only 14 pages, it continually amazes me how often I can find the answer to a grammar or punctuation guestion within those pages. It doesn't cover everything, and some of the 'rules' are of course changing with the passage of time - but if a wannabe writer can't afford a whole bookcase of tomes on How to Write, then this is the one he or she should buy.
Beyond those 14 pithy pages, however, are another 100 or so that extend the value of the book immeasurably: Principles of Composition, Commonly Misused Words, and perhaps the most valuable: An Approach to Style, which gives excellent advice along the lines of Do not overwrite, Avoid qualifiers, Don't over-explain, Avoid adverbs, Avoid dialect, Don't inject opinion, and tons of others.
When all's said and done, however, one of the very best parts is a wonderful essay by the inimitable EB White himself - the Introduction, which serves as a perfect example of all that the rest of the small book preaches: write concisely, clearly, and well, and say something worthwhile.
Other books for writers to consider: Bird by Bird, On Writing, and Writing Down the Bones.
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399 of 446 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TEXTBOOKS DON'T HAVE TO BE BIG March 19, 2001
While skimming through Stephen King's book ON WRITING, he highly recommended THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE. Taking his advice I searched for a copy and found one in a free bin--of all places! I looked at it and decided that it was so much better than any other textbook that I had seen that I decided to WRITE IT. Three pages a day for a month or so. It's a very short book, only about 80 pages or so. You learn everything from words that are often spelled wrong, to punctuation, to style, etc. Very blunt and to the point. No exercises in here, problems 1 - 10 all. Nope, you just read this book and enjoy it. Why, there's actually a little humor in it at times, which is pretty good for a textbook. Now I've heard some people say that this book is bad because it is saying to follow all these rules and don't stray from them. I think they got it all wrong. This book is essentially saying this: you can't blaze new trails in the English language without having a solid foundation in the basics first! This goes for ANYTHING. You don't suddenly set off an a 200 mile trek, you slowly work up to it, starting from the basics. After you have mastered the basics, then you can break free. One thing that this book continually points out is that it is OFTEN A MATTER OF EAR. Meaning that if you are experienced enough, you will know whether to stick to the traditional or whether to be liberal when phrasing something, for example. By far this is the most talked-about textbook that I've seen and the most valuable.
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61 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best December 29, 2000
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was looking for a book with basic rules of english grammar to improve the presentation in my recent report and forthcoming thesis. Something that had all in one place, was concise, to the point and no novel-likeness. Strunk & White was the prescription. It has everything a writer needs in terms of language and some aspects of style and presentation. It speaks of the obvious but precious gems which people tend to forget over time. I am impressed with the organisation of the book. What I was really looking for was, Elements of usage and An approach to Style. I recommend this for students planning to write reports, thesis, term papers or any sort of writing that needs to be crisp and clear.The Fine Art of Technical Writing by Carol Rosenblum Perry would be an excellent along with the "little" book for students. It's a necessity if you are in the academia, it's a great aid otherwise.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Help- grammar, usage of words, and ect.
I've used the book since 1967 to help me with common mistakes made in grammar, usage of words, and ect.
Published 14 hours ago by James D Easley
5.0 out of 5 stars GOOD REFERENCE.
This reference is easy to understand. It's a writer's companion.
Published 1 day ago by Donna Levy
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
great book good reading
Published 2 days ago by Anthony T. Refuerzo
5.0 out of 5 stars A book you can't afford not to have
The Elements of Style, or "Stunk & White," has been my favorite book since the early 1980s. I used it and applied what I learned in all of my writings. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Hoa V. Nguyen
5.0 out of 5 stars The Landmark Tool for Writers
Great book. Read this and keep it as a reference and treat it like a Bible for writers.

FYI -- there is also a free version here on the Kindle Store.
Published 4 days ago by Kevin P. Halloran
5.0 out of 5 stars Just like everyone says, it's esstential for every writer
An essential tool for all authors. This book is important understand the basics. Even though I'm sure you've heard a lot of this grammar stuff before, it's nice to have it all in... Read more
Published 5 days ago by dccowan
5.0 out of 5 stars Great reference tool.
One of the best reference tools around. A former editor (NYC!) suggested the title and he was spot on - as usual!
Published 7 days ago by andrea shepard
3.0 out of 5 stars grammar reference
Good reference but I am looking for better
Published 7 days ago by Omega 3
5.0 out of 5 stars I wanted to become a better writer and following the guidelines in...
"The Elements of Style" is crucial for anyone who takes writing seriously.

The answers to all the questions your teacher didn't or couldn't answer are in... Read more
Published 9 days ago by PhylliaA
5.0 out of 5 stars great bookgreat book great book, great book, great book, great book...
great bookgreat book great book, great book, great book, great book great book great book, great book, great book, great book great book great book, great book, great book, great... Read more
Published 11 days ago by Leonard Natural
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Topic From this Discussion
Difference between 3rd and 4th editions
The fourth edition features some post Strunk/White editing you may find intrusive--namely, the essay recommending the use of the masculine singular as gender-neutral has been replaced with a contradictory one. In general, it shouldn't make a difference; use the one you have.
Jan 29, 2009 by dpm |  See all 4 posts
difference between hard and soft cover versions
When the hardcover (4th edition) came out a few years ago, I compared it to the paperback that was then available (the 3rd edition). The rules of usage and composition and suggestions as to style were all the same, just most of the example sentences were updated to more modern-sounding... Read More
May 5, 2008 by Stan Brown |  See all 3 posts
Grammar gripes v. 1.1
Why not, insead, use the term "... then he or she must..."? This not only sounds perfectly fine, but is also a politically correct term.
Jul 14, 2008 by Army Finance |  See all 4 posts
Audio Version Worth listening Be the first to reply
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