March 7, 2008

The Elements of Style

A book review

The Elements of Style

By William Strunk,Jr. and E.B. White
4th edition

For any person interested in writing well in english, this is the book to own. No library should be without a copy. I 1st purchased my copy a number years ago (3rd edition) when attending York University. I bought it for a class and have used it many, many times over and I have recently purchased the 4th edition. You can find a copy at any major book store and is under $10 in price. The only caution I recommend is to watch for American spelling, a caution that also applies to Micro-Soft?s spell check (American english often leaves letters out of words). ?When your writing follows the rules of grammer, your words take flight, carrying your reader with them.?

The Elements of Style (A.K.A:”Strunk & White”) is an American English writing guide. It is one of the most influential and best-known English grammar guides in North America, and is often mandatory reading for high school and university writing courses. Fifty-four pointers are presented along with a list of common mistakes concerning individual words: Eleven rules of punctuation and grammar; eleven principles of writing; eleven matters of form; and twenty-one reminders for a better style in Chapter V, as well as a list of commonly misused words and expressions.
History: This book was originally written in 1918 and privately published by Cornell University professor William Strunk, Jr., E.B.White had studied under Strunk in 1919 but had since forgotten the ?little book,” a “forty-three-page summation of the case for cleanliness, accuracy, and brevity in the use of English.? When the author died in 1946, Macmillan Publishing commissioned Mr White to revise and recast a new edition which was published in 1959. The work was revised, expanded and chapter 5 was added, creating the handbook now known to millions of writers and students as, simply, “Strunk and White”. By the time the fourth edition of “Strunk and White” appeared in 1999, its second author had died, and a foreword by White’s stepson, Roger Angell was added, an afterword by Charles Osgood, a glossary, and an index. An anonymous editor modified the text of this 1999 edition.

White’s first edition sold some two million copies, with total sales of three editions (over a span of four decades) surpassing ten million copies. (Wikipedia)

Leave a Comment