The Elements of Style – Strunk & White

Make every word tell.

The Elements of Style is THE definitive guide to English writing.

It was originally published in 1918 by William Strunk, professor of English at Cornell University.  After revision and enlargement by his former student E. B. White, it became a highly influential guide to English usage during the late 20th century, commonly called Strunk & White.

The small but powerful book includes simple rules of usage, principles of composition, and commonly misused expressions and spelling. The Approach to Style section is superb. Sometimes sharp, sometimes humorous – anyone interested in writing must own a copy.

My copy is the illustrated version which I love. The illustrations by Maira Kalman brighten up a classic reference book.

β€œVigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all sentences short or avoid all detail and treat subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.”

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