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The Elements of Style

by William Strunk, Jr., E. B. White (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
17,255180191 (4.18)135
Hailed for its directness and clever insight, this unorthodox textbook was born from a professor's love for the written word and perfected years later by one of his students--famed author E.B. White. Ever since its first publication in 1959, writers have turned to this book for its wise and accessible advice.… (more)
  1. 40
    On Writing Well by William Zinsser (chwiggy)
  2. 32
    The Reader Over Your Shoulder: A Handbook for Writers of English Prose by Robert Graves (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Reader Over Your Shoulder has the same sort of advice as Elements of Style, but with many interesting examples of prose written in violation of the principle they are advocating.
  3. 00
    Latein ist tot, es lebe Latein!: Kleine Geschichte einer großen Sprache by Wilfried Stroh (chwiggy)
  4. 01
    Deutsch fürs Leben: Was die Schule zu lehren vergaß by Wolf Schneider (JuliaMaria)

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» See also 135 mentions

English (174)  Italian (1)  German (1)  Japanese (1)  All languages (177)
Showing 1-5 of 174 (next | show all)
I think my expectations were a little high for this one, so I was a little disappointed, but it's a handy book on craft, if not an inspiring or amazing one. A good reference to have on the shelf, though. ( )
  Tara_Calaby | Jun 22, 2020 |
Many other books on writing are not as directly helpful as this one. I have made every mistake a human being can make while writing. I'm making mistakes right now. Improvement is a lifelong process. This readable and referenceable book is one to keep in the desk drawer, to peruse before and after writing.

Aside from the argument that the English language is sliding toward less standardization, many editors, agents, publishers and readers demand or expect PhD-level grammar (whatever that equates to). But it really should not take years of reading and diagramming sentences to put words together in a satisfactory fashion.

If you have tried other how-to-write books, I'd set them aside until you've finished this one. This may contain all you need to know in a much smaller bundle. As a rule, I am not a fan of criticism. I could pick apart most pieces of writing. You could pick apart most of what I write. It's human nature to seek out flaws. In order to write competitively, writers must arm themselves against critics. But even more than that, communication benefits from clarity and articulation. I feel that a close study of this book will elevate a writer's awareness of certain flaws. These flaws pass most of us by without notice. But they can also undermine an otherwise excellent piece of writing.

Wouldn't we all like to write at a level where grammar is no longer part of the equation, where each sentence unfurls from the pen with the pithy lightning strike of Oscar Wilde's polished prose, on the first draft of course, where we can excavate the furthest reaches of our imagination and mind without regard to "should the comma go here, or here?" But I am not sure if such a state of nirvana exists. Revision never ends.

In summary, I recommend picking up this book. I trust it much more than those bloggers (paid by the word) posting "Helpful Tips." ( )
  LSPopovich | Apr 8, 2020 |
This is a good reference book on the elements of academic writing. The book provides several examples to follow and many rules. It is an easy read and should be kept as reference material. ( )
  donbarger | Mar 27, 2020 |
A virtual necessity yet considering its age, a wonder that it’s still relevant. A legend for a reason and an essential foundational work. ( )
  scottcholstad | Feb 13, 2020 |
I like the concise points and don't understand what the controversy is about the book; his points make sense to me and seem valid, especially for student writers. ( )
  emanate28 | Feb 10, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 174 (next | show all)
Buy it, study it, enjoy it. It's as timeless as a book can be in our age of volubility. (previous edition)
added by ArrowStead | editThe New York Times
...still a little book, small enough and important enough to carry in your pocket, as I carry mine.
added by ArrowStead | editFront cover, Charles Osgood
The Elements of Style does not deserve the enormous esteem in which it is held by American college graduates. Its advice ranges from limp platitudes to inconsistent nonsense. Its enormous influence has not improved American students' grasp of English grammar; it has significantly degraded it.

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Strunk, William, Jr.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
White, E. B.Authormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Angell, RogerForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kalman, MairaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The first writer I watched at work was my stepfather, E.B. White.
First words
1. Form the possessive singular of nouns by adding 's.
Introduction: At the close of the first World War, when I was a student at Cornell, I took a course called English 8.
[50th anniversary and 1979 editions.]
Introduction: A small book arrived in my mail not long ago, a gift from a friend in Ithica.
[1959 edition]
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
"The Elements of Forbidden" about 5 copies of which are buried in this work, are due to a since-corrected LibraryThing error, and are really also 'Style' works
This is the edition of The Elements of Style that was written by William Strunk and later expanded upon by E.B. White.  Please do not combine with the original, unexpanded version by Strunk alone, nor with the illustrated edition.
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Book description
According to the St. Louis Dispatch, this "excellent book, which should go off to college with every freshman, is recognized as the best book of its kind we have." It should be the ". . . daily companion of anyone who writes for a living and, for that matter, anyone who writes at all" (Greensboro Daily New). "No book in shorter space, with fewer words, will help any writer more than this persistent little volume"
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Grammatical correctness:

Here's how to do it. (lturpin42)

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