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The Elements Of Style This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   The Elements of Style, by William Strunk Jr., and E.B. White, is a slim but informative volume containing rules of the English language and hints on how a beginning writer can develop a writing style. The first section of the book lists rules for possessives and pronouns. Although at first glance these rules may seem ridiculously elementary, many of the listed errors are surprisingly common. For example, the name of one of the authors is written William Strunk Jr., not William Strunk, Jr. The next chapter deals with how to use the most effective language possible and make your composition effective as a whole. Listed are prewriting hints, such as "Choose a suitable design and hold to it" and rules to keep in mind while writing and rewriting, including pointers on the formation and purpose of the paragraph.

The third segment of the book covers matters of form such as format, headings, and more punctuation reminders. Along with the rules are examples of errors to avoid. Some are refreshingly funny, such as the example of the two merging Chattanooga newspapers. Before the merger the papers were called The Chattanooga News and The Chattanooga Free Press. The new name became The Chattanooga News-Free Press, which sounds as though the publication was devoid of news.

The last section lists words and expressions commonly misused. It covers rules as well as explanations of some confusing and less well-known rules (such as concise definitions of words that often are incorrectly interchanged).

The final portion is written by E.B. White on approaching style. A brief explanation of how aspiring authors can find their own writing style discusses pointers for writing and rewriting as well as specific cautions about the language used in writing. For example, Mr. White makes it clear that qualifiers are to be avoided and only orthodox spelling should be used, rather than simplified words such as nite and thru (in place of night and through).

Not only is this book helpful to authors, students, and anyone who writes, it is pleasant to read. Although the format consists mainly of lists of rules with explanations, The Elements of Style is not a textbook. It is not a light piece of reading that demands little attention. It should be approached without the grudging attitude felt toward a book assigned for school. Rather, The Elements of Style contains lighthearted, friendly reminders of what most of us may know about writing, but often forget. n




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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goddess_of_the_moon_123 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 2, 2010 at 5:00 pm
I'm infamous for starting a nonfiction book ad not finishing it, but I made it through this one and learned something to boot!
 
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