Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Elements of Style by William Shrunk JR. and E.B. White

"The breezy style is often the work of an egocentric, the person who imagines that everything that comes to mind is of general interest and that uninhibited prose creates high spirits and carries the day."

The Elements of Style is an excellent book to read through and keep on hand as a reference. It gives a simple and compact list of rules and common writing mistakes, as well as giving guidance on how to develop an effective style.

The book lays out the basic grammar and general style rules. The major focus being to teach us how to use the rules so that we can break those same rules effectively and create our own style. The writers encourage readers to be clear in their communicating and to build a structure on nouns and verbs, rather than adjectives and adverbs.

The difference between works which stand the test of time and works which die after their initial release are outlined. The book's own style reads like a textbook. The index and glossary make it an easy to use reference book, and its size makes it worth carrying with you. Familiarity with the content provides a foundation for young writers to expand into their own style.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to write. It offers the tools for writing clear, direct, logical prose. Shrunk and White set a high standard for writing. With most of the world offering their two cents worth in writing, I think this is great. They encourage us to shine out by first mastering the basics and then developing our genius as we discover it.

1 comment:

Rick Blanc said...

EB White and perhaps William makes it known that the "Little Book" not all inclusive of the English rules and styles. Many of the elements of a sentence are assumes the readers knows what they mean, for example, parenthetical. To understand why a rule exist, you would need to learn the principal which the rule is based.

Learning the mechanics of language, especially English, may become difficult, boring, and time consuming for most. The masses will surely degenerate this language for lack of interest to study. As a result, it becomes a dialect based off of poor English skills and less to do with cultural differences.