- Paperback: 105 pages
- Publisher: Pearson; 4th edition (August 2, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780205309023
- ISBN-13: 978-0205309023
- ASIN: 020530902X
- Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 0.3 x 7.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2,689 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition 4th Edition
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"...a marvellous and timeless little book... Here, succinctly, elegantly and without fuss are the essentials of writing clear, correct English." John Clare, "The Telegraph"
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
Top customer reviews
I'm writing this review for the free Kindle version with tan and dark red cover (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005IT0V8O/ref=cm_cr_ryp_prd_ttl_sol_0). This Kindle version has clickable linkage, the Table of Contents is simple and well constructed, and the book is loaded with examples, so it's good to have as a reference for those times when one gets stuck on a cumbersome sentence or an overused word or expression, for suggestions on resolving active/passive voice, and so forth. Beyond that, my best advice for anyone who's already well-versed in grammar and composition is this, from the book's Introductory section:
"... once past the essentials, students profit most by individual instructions based on the problems of their own work...".
In other words, don't expect this book to work miracles. It won't write your book, essay or user guide for you. But as my heading says, I do recommend "Elements" as a desk tool for getting past any nagging nuances/bad habits one may have as a writer, or for attacking specific issues as they arise.
Back when I worked for a newspaper, one of my editors was trying to get a review of mine on a particular page, which meant he needed to edit a little bit out ... he came back and told me - I couldn't edit your review. Every word was essential. - YES. Thank you, Strunk & White.
Part 1 is essentially a recap of the most commonly abused rules. How to use parentheses, possessive nouns, commas, colons, cases, hyphens, participles, are a few of the addressed topics. Even if you're a decent writer who doesn't misuse a few of these elements, it's still beneficial to know the rules behind their proper usage. Some naturally know where a comma goes in a sentence, but explaining it is another matter.
Part 2 Is about composition. Voice, tense, tone, paragraphs, and connecting ideas are the primary topics here. Additionally, Strunk and White introduce and develop their characteristic minimalism in writing. How can we omit needless words, pare down our paragraphs, and become effective writers by sticking to the main points of argument? They can help.
Part 4 is more about misused phrases and words. There are a bunch of homonyms, idioms, and homophones that give people trouble in writing. Do you know when to use pare or pear, bare or bear, less or fewer? They give you the proper usage and a few tricks to remember their use.
Parts 3 and 5 are concerned with developing an individual style in writing. They use the principles of strong writing to aid the reader in developing a subjective style. This may seem counterintuitive; the rules are objective but the style is subjective. But by learning the essentials of style, you have the ability to contemplate how you would personally expand these principles to achieve your own voice. Would you prefer a terse and staccato style or a whimsical and flowery style?
It really should be handed out to anyone planning on attending university. Too many of today's students are awful writers, and it's simply because they haven't been taught. This can help.