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Writing with Style: Conversations on the Art of Writing (2nd Edition) Paperback – Print, January 6, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0130257130 ISBN-10: 0130257133 Edition: 2nd

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Writing with Style: Conversations on the Art of Writing (2nd Edition) + The Agony and the Ecstasy: A Biographical Novel of Michelangelo + Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 198 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 2 edition (January 6, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0130257133
  • ISBN-13: 978-0130257130
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,530 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

A concise, witty, practical book on style that is as entertaining as it is genuinely instructive. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

"Books on writing tend to be windy, boring, and impractical. I intend this one to be different - short, fun, and genuinely useful."

Writing with Style is certainly that. In this fast-moving guide, John Trimble masterfully equips you with all the essentials you need to be a confident, self-sufficient writer. He takes the mystery out of how skilled writers actuallly think, explains why the fundamentals are so fundamental, arms you with dozens of practical writing tips, and liberates you from the straitjacket of outmoded stylistic taboos. He even manages to make common sense out of punctuation.

Best of all, Trimble's style is as fresh as his approach - in fact, his style is a superb example of all that he is trying to convey on the art of writing.

In this Silver Anniversary Edition, additional words of wisdom are included and, for the first time, an index has been added. The second edition will continue to be an indispensable classic reference for the next 25 years.


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Customer Reviews

Trimble makes it enjoyable and easy to understand.
Karli Barrett
For years I've been recommending this book to my students in college English courses.
David Lee Miller (dlmill1@pop.uky.edu)
How can I review such a good book without looking like an idiot?
Randy Given

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 90 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Cheney on January 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a fine book, and I'm surprised it's not better known. More useful than Strunk & White, less intimidating than Joseph Williams, it is the single best book for someone who is looking to improve their writing beyond spelling and grammar. With clear, succinct, and witty chapters on subjects which other books go overboard on -- beginnings, middles, and ends; diction; punctuation; revising and proofreading -- there is no better introduction to the art (beyond the craft) of writing. There are useful tips on usage and superstitions ("never use contractions", "never split an infinitive", etc.) as well as a twenty-five-page collection of quotes from writers about writing. Many of the points which Trimble considers most important are highlighted in boxes separate from the text, so if you're in a hurry and looking for the meat of a chapter, it's easy to find.
This is not a perfect book, though, an it's not intended to be encyclopedic, so you won't find answers to all your questions. The chapter on writing a critical analysis is tantalizingly useless and seems like an afterthought (although it was included in the first edition). The "Quoting" chapter is useful if you're not doing academic writing, but the book seems aimed at an academic audience, and such audiences mostly need to know the details of citing sources through the MLA , APA, or Chicago styles. (On the other hand, Trimble has some interesting tips on using quotes in your writing.)
If you're an experienced writer, you won't find anything new here. That's okay, though. Few of the ideas Trimble explores have ever been stated more clearly or gracefully.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Wolf on January 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
Everyone knows about and owns a copy of Strunk and White, but I found this little book by Trimble to be a lot more useful and probably more relevant to writing today.
If I were to teach a writing course (unlikely as it sounds), I'd be sure to have all my students buy a copy of this to supplement their writing practice.
The highlight of this book, I think, is Trimble's comments on style. He has a great chapter on 'Superstitions' of writing. Still think that you shouldn't end a sentence with a preposition? Not so. The best response to someone who insists that you should is to tell the short anecdote about Churchill, as Trimble does: "When the prime minister--a Nobel Laureate in literature--found that an editor of his memoirs had had the cheek to 'correct' one of his sentences ending in a preposition, he wrote back, 'This is the kind of impertinence up with which I shall not put.'"
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Eric P. Perramond on March 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book was assigned in a graduate-level research methods class in geography. I generallly do not hold much hope for writer's "manuals," but Trimble's slim volume is so much more. His own writing is clear, honest, and pithy. I make all of my senior research students read it now, as a professor, and it's by far the best small treatise on the subject. It could be used side-by-side with Strunk&White's Elements of Style seamlessly. Get it!
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Trish C. Berrong on June 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
As a student of John's, I was amazed by his ability to create an environment where neurotic college students felt completely comfortable sharing their work with very talented peers. As someone who now makes a living stringing words together, I credit him with teaching me to write honestly, conversationally and effectively. Reading his book is a lot like returning to a class: He nurtures, nudges, inspires, excites, and never, ever condescends. And, as always, he's charming as all get-out. I've bought at least half a dozen copies of "Writing with Style"--when I give it to writer friends, I never get it back.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Carl W. Banks on December 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
Reading Trimble's style guide changed my writing forever. In this book, Trimble explains the thought process of a good writer, and he makes his point so well that, since reading it, I have permanently conditioned myself to think in way he describes.
This style guide is more an essay on good writing than a reference book. Trimble focuses more on the thought process of a writer than on details. He exhorts us to always consider the audience as we write, and he carefully explains how to do this. He explains the writing process; how to construct the text to best communicate the point. He gives useful advice on common writing tasks like quoting and punctuating.
My favorite chapter is where he debunks some myths about the English language; these myths are arbitrary rules that had been thrust upon us by rigid prescriptive grammarians trying to make English more like Latin.
I first read an older edition of the book for an English class as high school senior about eight years ago. Reading this book made me excited about writing; Trimble writes in such as way that builds interest. I read the book cover to cover and immediately adopted the practices recommended in it. Unfortunately, in high school, they only lent textbooks, so I had to give it back. About eight years later, I repurchased the new edition of this book. Oddly enough, rereading it was kind of a waste of time, for I had learned the lessons well the first time and they had stuck with me. Trimble hadn't just given me good advice; he had permanently changed me.
I recommend that everyone who writes get this book, read it, and do what the book says.
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