Elements of Style

Strunk, William Jr., and E. B. White. The Elements of Style. 2000, Fourth ed. New York: Longman, 1957.

I only include this book to tell you not to use it. This is truly an execrable and god-awful excuse for a style manual. Not only is it half a century out of date, but Strunk’s and White’s understanding and knowledge of basic principles of grammar is shoddy at best (e.g., three out of four of their examples of the passive voice are not actually in the passive voice). The only reason I can think of as to why this has become a perennial bestseller is that it lends itself to teaching rules-based writing that is easier for lazy teachers to grade, but that is no excuse if the rules are bad and lead to poor-quality prose. I am a fierce opponent of censorship of any type, but if I had to burn one book, this one would be it.

(I realize my commentary here is over the top, and that there are much worse style manuals on the market, but the degree to which this piece of crap is revered requires an especially strong rebuke.)

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