The Elements of Style 1st Edition
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Frequently bought together
- Publisher : W L C; 1st edition (July 28, 2009)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 52 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1557427283
- ISBN-13 : 978-1557427281
- Item Weight : 2.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.13 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,178,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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Today, I am working on a fairly complex document with another lawyer in the office. She's editing my work and I am editing hers. She made a "correction" to which E.B. White would surely have objected. I had no Elements of Style here at my office to prove this to her.
Hello, Kindle version! Thank goodness for it! (I'm now ordering another paperback copy for my office too.)
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.
These rules follow the same guidelines. Simple, direct sentences are only right these days because enough people agree upon it. When the style changes, so will the usefulness of this book.
Just a thought
* Short and concise
* Good examples
* Lots of information covered in a small period of time
* Technical grammatical language used
* Many statements are presented as absolutes (i.e. NEVER do 'this'), when in reality they are more situational
* HORRIBLE formatting on the Kindle
I saw that this book is highly recommended and regarded, decided to look it up, and found that it was free to download on the Kindle. I went ahead and downloaded it and read it in one sitting. Unfortunately much of it was almost incoherent to me due to the technical language used (be prepared to understand what the third person of a past participle conjunctive adverb is). Someone better versed in grammatical language surely would have a greater appreciation of the book than I.
It is hard to even judge the helpfulness of the content of the book due to the subjective nature of the tips provided. Many of these tips are even quite obvious, such as the famous statement to "omit needless words". How ever would I have figured that out? The author even admits that many of these rules can be broken in proper moments, and master writers disregard the rules occasionally to their advantage. Because of this, it seems that simply reading from the masters would be immeasurably more helpful than this manual.
Lastly, the book shows its age on a few sections, notably the 'common spelling errors' section. I'm sure this was a much praised list prior to the advent of spell checker.
Top reviews from other countries
To give a few examples:
'Less than ten' is incorrect, whilst 'fewer than ten' is correct.
'This man, who is my friend,' is better written 'This man, my friend,'
'I should like tea' is usually correct, 'I would like tea' is usually not.
'Worthwhile' is best avoided altogether - not exactly incorrect but poor style.
And so it goes on.
I found this book moderately useful, although it does seem to concentrate on American English rather than UK English. Some of the advice doesn't apply on this side of the Atlantic. For example, we tend not to use `most' as an abbreviation of `almost' so we're not going to make the mistake of saying `most everyone' as many Americans do.
Some reviewers commented that the kindle version was hard to read, but I didn't have any problems with it. I think it must have been reformatted as a result of some early negative reviews.
On the whole this is a great book for anyone who's got into sloppy writing habits (like me). Stephen King recommends it in his book `On Writing' - and recommendations don't get much stronger than that. It's probably fair to summarise the message of the book by saying `express yourself in as few words as possible and be as precise as possible'.
Each chapter consists of an instruction for an element of language, followed by two or more examples. The editor has chosen to format both the instructions and the examples in the same font, with the same indentation. You'll soon find it very difficult to read, even more so if you want to use it as a reference book while you write or edit.
This edition omits the name of the editor or the publisher, perhaps in shame at the insult they've done to an excellent work. I would return my copy if possible.
William Strunck Jr. The Elements of style . Kindle Edition.
The public domain edition was published in 1918, and is half the length of recent editions. It predates recent language, predates political correctness, and arguably predates the shorter modern form of `plain English'.
Buyers should be aware that they are not getting the modern Strunk and White edition (especially when Amazon have pooled reviews for modern editions with the 1918 version!).
At a mere 60 pages, the 1918 Strunk edition is the most concise English language style guide. This is a major advantage when compared with more recent, more wordy style guides.