Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Elements of Style - Book Review

The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White

When I first saw The Elements of Style at a used book sale, what caught my eye was the fact that it was co-authored by E.B. White, the author of Charlotte’s Web, and other classic works. I wasn’t disappointed.

Even the introduction was fascinating, as Mr. White tells about a publisher asking him to revise a little book written by his own former professor, who had since died. He makes the professor come back to life in our imaginations, as we read his story.

The book is divided into several parts:
Elementary Rules of Usage (This tells the rules, but also when and how you can break the rules.)
Elementary Principles of Composition (Some tips are obvious, but obviously forgotten at times, such as “Use the Active Voice”. )
A Few Matters of Form (This includes Exclamations, Hyphens, Margins, Syllabication, and more.)
Words and Expressions Commonly Misused (This is a fun section that I re-read in nuggets…often with my mouth open in amazement at what I “didn’t know”. )
An Approach to Style (This section was added by E.B. White himself. There’s nothing like having a great author to teach us in the comfort of our homes.)

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