The Elements of Style is an English collaboration that spans decades. It originated from William Strunk Jr. to aid his students at Cornell. Decades later, a prior student named E.B. White edited a version for the public. This fourth version adds a glossary of grammatical terms and adds modern examples. The book starts with rules from writing, such as “remove needless words.”

the elements of style


The style of the text is: make a point and provide examples. When composing the written word, being brief strengthens the sentence.

All over the land there was an abundance of green grass growing on the ground.

The green grass covered the landscape.

Writing too wordy is boring to the reader. When you are concise, your sentence conveys more meaning. Re-reading the sentences out loud, being succinct also promotes imagination.

The Elements of Style Rule #17

Throughout the first few chapters, the author lists rules for all writing. Rule number seventeen is to “omit needless words.” Consider that code should not contain repetitive functions and another example, a finished crochet project, no unnecessary yarn.

The fact that he had neglected his studies,

She is a woman that was fearless in the business world.

He neglected his studies.

She was fearless in the business world.

Also recognize, a wordy outlandish character in a story is one that annoys the reader. If you are trying to channel that animation, being too wordy could be advantageous to you as the writer gets their point across to the reader.

A matter of ear

What do words deliver when said aloud vs read? Often when we speak, we annunciate in contrast from reading. Hearing the text forces you to interpret the meaning twice, catching mistakes or reinforces context.

Four score and seven years ago,

I dreamt

Once upon a time

Eighty-seven years ago,

I have a dream

A long time ago

The Elements of Style Summary

This book is essential for authors, bloggers and writers of all kinds. English language students often have had this book assigned but I believe it helps other students as well. I would appreciate more concise technical writing. Imagine if there were abridged, straightforward government documents!

You can find yourself a copy of The Elements of Style here.

Check out my previous blog post here.

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Published by Powersjo

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