Product Added : November 17th, 2012
Category : Books
"This Best Selling The Elements of Style (4th Edition) Tends to SELL OUT VERY FAST! If this is a MUST HAVE product, be sure to Order Now to avoid disappointment!"
You know the authors' names. You recognize the title. You've probably used this book yourself. This is The Elements of Style, the classic style manual, now in a fourth edition. A new Foreword by Roger Angell reminds readers that the advice of Strunk & White is as valuable today as when it was first offered.This book's unique tone, wit and charm have conveyed the principles of English style to millions of readers. Use the fourth edition of "the little book" to make a big impact with writing.
When I write a book I use only a handful of reference tools: dictionary, thesaurus, Gregg’s Reference Handbook, Writers Market, and the Elements of Style. Strunk and White is a wonderfully-written, extraordinarily concise tool that pays homage to classic high-end English. It takes language insight to make this prediction in 1979: “By the time this paragraph makes print, uptight… rap, dude, vibes, copout, and funky will be the words of yesteryear.” The book begins with eleven “Elementary Rules of Usage,” and then continues with eleven more “Elementary Rules of Composition,” and eleven “Matters of Form.” Each is presented as a brief statement followed by another sentence or two of explanation and a few clarifying examples. This amazing compilation fills only thirty-eight pages, yet covers ninety percent of good writing fundamentals. My favorite section is Chapter IV, a twenty-seven-page, alphabetical listing of commonly misused words and expressions. Here’s a trade secret: when my manuscript is “done,” I then turn to this chapter and use my word processor’s Find function to study every instance of all these problematic words and phrases. I never fail to find errors this way. Many great writers are so only because they’ve learned to make use of the best available tools. The end of the book contains an essay on “An Approach to Style” with a list of twenty-one “Reminders.” Those who fight the apparently-natural tendency to go against these recommendations succeed as writers. Those who don’t, fail. It’s that simple. The single drawback of The Elements of Style is that it’s too concise; it does not stand alone as an all-encompassing tutorial or reference guide. Many readers will seek other sources for more in-depth explanation of style elements. Despite that, it easily replaces ten pounds of other reference material. –Christopher Bonn Jonnes, author of Wake Up Dead.
As the ‘rules’ in this iconic book take up only 14 pages, it continually amazes me how often I can find the answer to a grammar or punctuation guestion within those pages. It doesn’t cover everything, and some of the ‘rules’ are of course changing with the passage of time – but if a wannabe writer can’t afford a whole bookcase of tomes on How to Write, then this is the one he or she should buy.
Beyond those 14 pithy pages, however, are another 100 or so that extend the value of the book immeasurably: Principles of Composition, Commonly Misused Words, and perhaps the most valuable: An Approach to Style, which gives excellent advice along the lines of Do not overwrite, Avoid qualifiers, Don’t over-explain, Avoid adverbs, Avoid dialect, Don’t inject opinion, and tons of others.
When all’s said and done, however, one of the very best parts is a wonderful essay by the inimitable EB White himself – the Introduction, which serves as a perfect example of all that the rest of the small book preaches: write concisely, clearly, and well, and say something worthwhile.
Other books for writers to consider: Bird by Bird, On Writing, and Writing Down the Bones.
While skimming through Stephen King’s book ON WRITING, he highly recommended THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE. Taking his advice I searched for a copy and found one in a free bin–of all places! I looked at it and decided that it was so much better than any other textbook that I had seen that I decided to WRITE IT. Three pages a day for a month or so. It’s a very short book, only about 80 pages or so. You learn everything from words that are often spelled wrong, to punctuation, to style, etc. Very blunt and to the point. No exercises in here, problems 1 – 10 all. Nope, you just read this book and enjoy it. Why, there’s actually a little humor in it at times, which is pretty good for a textbook. Now I’ve heard some people say that this book is bad because it is saying to follow all these rules and don’t stray from them. I think they got it all wrong. This book is essentially saying this: you can’t blaze new trails in the English language without having a solid foundation in the basics first! This goes for ANYTHING. You don’t suddenly set off an a 200 mile trek, you slowly work up to it, starting from the basics. After you have mastered the basics, then you can break free. One thing that this book continually points out is that it is OFTEN A MATTER OF EAR. Meaning that if you are experienced enough, you will know whether to stick to the traditional or whether to be liberal when phrasing something, for example. By far this is the most talked-about textbook that I’ve seen and the most valuable.
I was looking for a book with basic rules of english grammar to improve the presentation in my recent report and forthcoming thesis. Something that had all in one place, was concise, to the point and no novel-likeness. Strunk & White was the prescription. It has everything a writer needs in terms of language and some aspects of style and presentation. It speaks of the obvious but precious gems which people tend to forget over time. I am impressed with the organisation of the book. What I was really looking for was, Elements of usage and An approach to Style. I recommend this for students planning to write reports, thesis, term papers or any sort of writing that needs to be crisp and clear.The Fine Art of Technical Writing by Carol Rosenblum Perry would be an excellent along with the “little” book for students. It’s a necessity if you are in the academia, it’s a great aid otherwise.
“The Elements of Style” was written by E.B. White in the 1950s. It is a revised and expanded version of a booklet used by his English professor William Strunk Jr. in 1919. During the years since its publication, the book reached the fourth edition, modernized and more suitable for the times (and the changes in language).
While this book was originally aimed at writers (of books and newspaper articles), solid writing skills are important for everyone. In these days of the content-rich web, people spend a lot of their collaboration time online. Blog entries, comments, forum and mailing list posts are quite a bit of writing, and one has to follow some simple but important rules to write correctly and effectively.
What’s best about it is the size. These days, when the feeling is that writers and publishers get paid by the weight of their huge tomes, it is refreshingly pleasant to hold a small pocket book of only 100 pages, packed with useful information. The guidelines for correct writing are presented as a list of rules, divided to a few subtopics, with a well-selected index making things easy to find.
The book answers some of the most common doubts in writing English text:
1. Correct usage of punctuation: commas, colons, semicolons, dashes and periods.
2. Possessive singulars of nouns (“Charles’s book”)
3. Using the active voice, positive form and definite, concrete language for making a point effectively.
4. Pairs of words that are commonly confused: among/between, inside of/inside, shall/will, that/which
On the downside, this book can be seen as overly pedantic. Some words it discourages to use are already ingrained in modern English, and the strict rules it contains aren’t the best fit for all kinds of writing. Therefore, I would not advise using this book “religiously” as something obliging. Rather, it is best used as a useful reference for certain things. Some rules you might not agree with, but most of them are just plain common sense of English writing, and rules like the ones I listed above are decidedly essential.
I no longer read the rules. I know most of them now, and I know which ones I will break if I am not careful.
I still read the introduction, and I still glance through the book looking for encouragement and inspiration. The effort pays off when I write a ghastly sentence in the middle of an important e-mail and consider pressing the “send” button. I remember that I may save one reader by re-writing that sentence.
I could slink off the field of battle, but instead, I lower my lance and charge. Strunk and White remind me that the battle is worth it and that, by God, it’s fun.
A pithy little handbook that gives rules and examples to help you avoid the most common mistakes in writing, plus some smart advice on the finer points by a renowned essayist and children’s writer. It is by far the single most useful book on writing. But it is not the last word. For those who wish to go further, I recommend these books in addition to Strunk & White: The Prentice Hall Handbook for Writers, for a review of basic grammar and syntax; Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace, by Joseph M. Williams, for more detailed advice on constructing paragraphs; The Oxford Essential Guide to Writing, by Thomas Kane, for more general advice; and Garner’s Modern American Usage, for intelligent, detailed, and up-to-date guidance on diction. All these books belong on the shelf of every serious writer.
(By the way, I agree with the previous reviewer that the third edition is slightly preferable to the current one.)
This book can be read in a couple hours (at most), but despite its short length, it provides many useful suggestions to help clarify one’s writing. It is mostly a collection of simple rules and their explanations, all of which are easy to grasp and to employ in one’s writing. As in George Orwell’s essay “Politics and the English Language,” the central theme here is to be clear. Be precise and don’t confuse the reader.
The table of contents list the rules, so once you’ve read the book, you can just flip to the contents to remind yourself of them. If you want to improve your writing, there are many books on the topic, but here is where to start. If you disagree with the rules as some Amazon reviewers do, fine. The authors are dead, and I’m sure they won’t take it too personally if you criticize their work. But I don’t find the rules restrictive. To the contrary, unless you really know the language and are adept at using it, you can’t break these rules without making a terrible blunder. Anybody who writes will benefit from spending an hour or so skimming through this book once every few years.
The second edition of this classic work improved on the first edition, and the third was the best of all. It was perfection. The fourth, posthumous edition slips a little bit. It’s still better than any other style guide, but a hint of Political Correctness has crept into some of its advice and examples. Why did the publishers feel the need to tinker with perfection? If you already have the third edition, don’t bother getting the new one. If you don’t have any copies of this great book, check the used bookstores for the previous edition.