The Elements of Style | Reflections & Notes

William Strunk Jr., and E.B. White. The Elements of Style. Third Edition. Macmillan Publishing Co., 1979.

REFLECTIONS

I read this little book as a quick educational intensive as I embark on the journey of writing. Rather than mere rules, however, I was awaken to the critical necessity of good writing and the role that it has in the course of human affairs. It is a critical time in history, and writers–who are themselves communicators–are an essential rudder guiding our trajectory. The times may still prove that the pen really is mightier than the sword.

I was also struck how a book about literature was really about humanity, our quirks, tendencies, and defects. Advice such as “place yourself in the background,” “do not overstate,” “do not explain too much,” “be clear,” and “do not inject opinion,” are gems of wisdom that have been poignant for nearly a century. I opine they are more relevant now than ever. I do believe if more of us could adopt in our social, religious, and political lives what Strunk and White are advising for writers, I believe we would all be better off.


NOTES

Introduction

The Elements of Style…was Will Strunk’s parvin opus, his attempt to cut the vast tangle of English rhetoric down to size and write its rules and principles on the head of pin. … In its original form, it was a forty-three-age summation of the case for cleanlinessaccuracy, and brevity. (xi)

I. ELEMENTARY RULES OF USAGE

1. Form the possessive singular of nouns by adding ‘s.

Exceptions are the possessives of ancient proper names in -es and -is, the possessive Jesus’, and such forms as for conscience’ sake, for righteousness’ sake. But such forms as Moses’ Laws, Isis’ temple are commonly replaced by

the laws of Moses
the temple of Isis

2. In a series of three or more terms with a single conjunction, use a comma after each term except the last.

Thus write,

red, white, and blue
gold, silver, or copper

3. Enclose parenthetic expressions between commas.

This rule is difficult to apply; it is frequently hard to decide whether a single word, such as however, or a brief phrase is or is not parenthetic. If the interruption to the flow of the sentence is but slight, the writer may safely omit the commas. But whether the interruption is slight or considerable, he must never omit one comma and leave the other.

Dates usually contain parenthetic words or figures. Punctuate as follows:

February to July, 1972
April 6, 1956
Wednesday, November 13, 1929

Note that it is customary to omit the comma in

6 April 1958

A name or a title in direct address is parenthetic.

If, Sir, you refuse, I cannot predict what will happen.
Well, Susan, this is a fine mess you are in.

The abbreviations etc., i.e., and e.g., the abbreviations for academic degrees, and titles that follow a name are parenthetic and should be punctuated accordingly.

Letters, packages, etc., should go here.
Horace Fulsome, Ph.D., presided.
Rachel Simonds, Attorney
The Reverend Harry Lang, S.J.

No comma, however, should separate a nouns from a restrictive term of identification.

Billy the Kids
The novelist John Fowles
William the Conqueror
Pliny the Younger

Although Junior, with its abbreviation Jr., has commonly been regarded as parenthetic, logic suggests that it is, in fact, restrictive an therefore not in need of a comma.

James Wright Jr.

Nonrestrictive related clauses are parenthetic, as are similar clauses introduced by conjunctions indicating time or place. Commas are therefore needed. A non-restrictive clause is one that does not serve to identify or define the antecedent noun.

The audience, which had at first been indifferent, became more and more interested.

In 1769, when Napoleon was born, Corsica had but recently been acquired by France.

Each of [these] sentences is a combination of two statements that might have been made independently.

The audience was at first indifferent. Later it became more interested.

Napoleon was born in 1769. At that time Corsica had but recently been acquired by France.

4. Place a comma before a conjunction introducing an independent clause.

The situation is perilous, but there is still one chance of escape.

Two-part sentences of which the second member is introduced by as (in the sense of “because”) ,for, or, nor, or while (in the sense of “and at the same time”) likewise require a comma before the conjunction.

5. Do not join independent clauses by a comma.

If two or more clauses grammatically complete and not joined by a conjunction are to form a single compound sentence, the proper mark of punctuation is a semicolon.

Stevenson’s romances are entertaining; they are full of exciting adventures.

It is nearly half past five; we cannot reach town before dark.

It is, of course, equally correct to write each of these as two sentences, replacing the semicolons with periods.

Stevenson’s romances are entertaining. They are full of exciting adventures.

If a conjunction is inserted, the proper mark is a comma.

Stevenson’s romances are entertaining, for they are full of exciting adventures.

A comparison of the three forms given above will show clearly the advantage of the first. … Indeed, this simple method of indicating relationship between statements is one of the most useful devices of composition. The relationship, as above, is commonly one of cause and consequence.

6. Do not break sentences in two.

In other words, do not use periods for commas.

Rules 3, 4, 5, and 6 cover the most important principles that govern punctuation. They should be so thoroughly mastered that their application becomes second nature.

7. Use a colon after an independent clause to introduce a list of particulars, an appositive, an amplification, or an illustrative quotation.

A colon tells the reader that what follows is closely related to the preceding clause. The colon has more effect than the comma, less power to separate than the semicolon, and more formality than the dash. It usually follows an independent clause and should not separate a verb from its complement or a preposition from its object.

Your dedicated whittler requires three props: a knife, a pice of wood, and a back porch.

Join two independent clauses with a colon if the second interprets or amplifies the first.

But even so, there was a directness and dispatch about animal burial: there was no stopover in the undertaker’s foul parlor, no wreath or spray.

A colon may introduce a quotation that supports or contributes to the preceding clause.

The squalor of the streets reminded him of a line from Oscar Wilde: “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

The colon also has certain functions of form: to follow the salutation of a formal letter, to separate hour from minute in a notation of time, and to separate the title of a work from its subtitle or a Bible chapter from a verse.

8. Use a dash to set off an abrupt break or interruption and to announce a long apositive or summary.

A dash is a mark of separation stronger than a comma, less formal than a comma, and more relaxed than parentheses.

His first thought on getting out of bed–if he had any thought at all–was to get back in again.

Use a dash only when a more common mark of punctuation seems inadequate.

9. The number of the subject determines the number of the verb.

A common blunder is the use of a singular verb form in a relative clause following “one of…” or a similar expression when the relative is the subject.

One of the ablest men who have attacked this problem.

One of those people who are never ready on time.

Use a singular verb form after each, either, every-one, everybody, neither, nobody, someone.

Everybody thinks he has a sense of humor.

Although both clocks strike cheerfully, neither keeps good time.

With none, use the singular verb when the word means “no one” or “not one.”

None of us is perfect.

A plural verb is commonly use when none suggests more than one thing or person.

None are so fallible as those who are sure they’re right.

A compound subject formed of two or more nouns joined by and almost always requires a plural verb.

The walrus and the carpenter were walking close at hand.

But certain compounds, often clichés, are so inseparable they are considered a unit and so take a singular verb, as do compound subjects qualified by each or every.

The long and the short of it is…

Bread and butter was all she served.

Give and take is essential to a happy household.

Every window, picture, and mirrors was smashed.

A singular subject remains singular even if other nouns are connected to it by with, as well as, in addition to, except, to gather with, and no less than.

His speech as well as his manner is objectionable.

A linking verb agrees with he number of its subject.

What is wanted is a few more pairs of hands.

The trouble with truth is its many varieties.

Some nouns that appear to be plural are usually constructed as singular and given a singular verb.

Politics is an art, not a science.

In these cases the writer must simply learn the idioms. The contents of a book is singular. The contents of a jar may be either singular or plural, depending on what’s in the jar–jam or marbles.

10. Use the proper case of pronoun.

The personal pronouns, as well as the pronoun who, change form as they function as subject or object.

Will Jane or he be hired, do you think?

The culprit, it turned out, was he.

We heavy eaters would rather walk than ride.

Who knocks?

Give this work to whoever looks idle.

A pronoun in a comparison is nominative if it is the subject of a stated or understood verb.

Sandy writes better than I. (Than I write.)

Use the simple personal pronoun as a subject.

Blake and I stayed home.

Howard and you brought the lunch, I thought.

The possessive case of pronouns is used to show ownership. It has two forms: the adjectival modifier, your hat, and the noun form, a hat of yours.

The dog has buried one of your gloves and one of mine in the flower bed.

A present participle as a verbal, on the other hand, takes the objective case.

They heard him singing in the shower.

The difference between a verbal participle and a gerund is not always obvious, but note what is really said in each of the following.

Do you mind me asking a question?
Do you mind my asking a question?

In the first sentence, the queried objection is to me, as opposed to other members of the group, putting one of the questions. in the second example, the issue is whether a question may be asked at all.

11. A participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence must refer to the grammatical subject.

Walking slowly down the road, he saw a woman accompanied by two children.

The word walking refers to the subject of the sentence, not to the woman. If the writer wishes to make it refer to the woman, he must recast the sentence.

He saw a woman, accompanied by two children, walking slowly down the road.

II. ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION

12. Choose a suitable design and hold to it.

…in most cases planning must be a deliberate prelude to writing. The first principle of composition, therefore, is to foresee or determine the shape of what is to come and pursue that shape. (15)

13. Make the paragraph the unit of composition.

The beginning of each paragraph is a signal to [the reader] that a new step in the development of the subject has been reached.

As a rule, begin each paragraph either with a sentence that suggests he topic or with a sentence that helps the transition.

In general, remember that paragraphing calls for a good eye as well as a logical mind. Enormous blocks of print look formidable to a reader. [The reader] has a certain reluctance to tackle them; [the reader] can lose his way in them. Therefore, breaking long paragraphs in two, even if it’s not necessary to do so for sense, meaning, or logical development, is often a visual help. But remember, too, that firing off many short paragraphs in quick succession can be distracting. Paragraph breaks used only for show read like the writing of commerce or of display advertising. Moderation and a sense of order should be the main considerations in paragraphing.

14. Use the active voice.

Thea active voice is usually more direct and vigorous than the passive:

I shall always remember my first visit to Boston.

This is much better than

My first visit to Boston will always be remember by me.

The habitual use of the active voice, however, makes for forcible writing. This is true not only in narrative concerned principally with action but in writing of any kind. Many a tame sentence of description or exposition can be made lively and emphatic by substituting a transitive in the active voice for some such perfunctory expression as there is or could be heard.

15. Put statements in positive form.

Make definite assertions Avoid tame, colorless, hesitating, noncommittal language. Use the word not as a means of denial or in antithesis, never as a means of evasion.

…as a rule, it is better to express even a negative in positive form.

dishonest [NOT “not honest”]
trifling [ NOT “not important”]
forgot [NOT “did not remember”]
ignored [NOT “did not pay any attention to”]
distrusted [NOT “did not have much confidence in”]

Placing a negative and positive in opposition makes for a stronger structure.

Not charity, but simple justice.

Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more.

If your every sentence admits a doubt, your writing will lack authority. Save the auxiliaries would, should, could, may, might, and can for situations involving real uncertainty.

16. Use definite, specific, concrete language.

Prefer the specific to the general, the definite to the vague, the concrete to the abstract.

If those who have studied the art of writing are in accord on any one point, it is on this: the surest way to arouse and hold the attention of the reader is by being specific, definite, and concrete. The greatest writers–Homer, Dante, Shakespeare–are effective largely because they deal in particulars and report the details that mater. Their words call up pictures.

In his Philosophy of Style, Herbert Spencer gives two sentences to illustrate how the vague and general can be turned into the vivid and particular:

In proportion as the manners, customs, and amusements of a nation are cruel and barbarous, the regulations of its penal code will be sever.

In proportion as men delight in battles, bullfights, and combats of gladiators, will they punish by hanging, burning, and the rack.

17. Omit needless words.

Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.

An expression that is especially debilitating is the fact that. It should be revised out of every sentence in which it occurs.

18. Avoid a succession of loose sentences.

This rule refers especially to loose sentences of a particular type: those consisting of two clauses, the second introduced by a conjunction or relative.

If the writer finds that he has written a series of loose sentences, [s/he] should recast enough of them to remove the monotony, replacing them by simple sentences, by sentences of two clauses joined by a semicolon, by periodic sentences of two clauses, by sentences (loose or periodic) of three clauses–whichever best represent the real relations of the thought.

19. Express coordinate ideas in similar form.

The familiar Beatitudes exemplify the virtue of parallel construction.

20. Keep related words together.

The position of the words in a sentence is the principal means of showing their relationship. Confusion and ambiguity result when words are badly placed. The writer must, therefore, bring together the words and groups of words that are related in thought and keep apart those that are not so related.

21. In summaries, keep to one tense.

In summarizing the action of a drama, the writer should use the present tense. In summarizing a poem, story, or novel, he should also use the present, though he may use the past if it seems more natural to do so. If the summary is in the present tense, antecedent action should be expressed by the perfect, if in the past, by the past perfect.

But whichever tense is used in the summary, a past tense in indirect discourse or in indirect question remains unchanged.

Apart from the exceptions noted, whichever tense the writer chooses he should use throughout. Shifting from one tense to another gives the appearance of uncertainty and irresolution.

22. Place the emphatic words of a sentence at the end.

THIS: Since that time, humanity has advanced in many ways, but it has hardly advanced in fortitude.

NOT HTIS: Humanity has hardly advanced in fortitude since that time, though it has advanced in many other ways.

The word or group of words entitled to this position of prominence is usually the logical predicate–that is, the new element in the sentence…

The principle that the proper place for what is to be made most prominent is the end applies equally to the words of a sentence, to the sentences of a paragraph, and to the paragraphs of a composition.

III. A FEW MATTES OF FORM

Colloquialisms. If you use a colloquialism or a slang word or phrase, simply use it; do not draw attention to it by enclosing it in quotation marks. To do so is to put on airs, as though you were inviting the reader to join you in a select society of those who know better.

Exclamations. Do not attempt to emphasize simple statements by using a mark of exclamation. … The exclamation mark is to be reserved for use after true exclamations or commands.

Hyphen. When two or more words are combined to form a compound adjective, a hyphen is usually required. … Do not use a hyphen between words that can better be written as one word: water-fowl, waterfowl. Your common sense will aid you in the decision, but a dictionary is more reliable. The steady evolution of the language seems to favor union: two words eventually become one, usually after a period of hyphenation.

The hyphen can play tricks not he unwary, as it did in Chattanooga when two newspapers merged–the News and the Free Press. Someone introduced a hyphen into the merger, and the paper became The Chattanooga News-Free Press, which sounds as though the paper were news-free, or devoid of news. Obviously, we ask too much of a hyphen when we ask it to cast its spell over words it does not adjoin.

Margins. Keep right-hand and left-hand margins roughly the same width. Exception: if a great deal of annotating or editing is anticipated, the left-hand margin should be roomy enough to accommodate this work.

Numerals. Do not spell out dates or other serial numbers. Write them in figures or in Roman notation, as may be appropriate.

Exception: When they occur in dialogue, most dates and numbers are best spelled out.

“I arrived home on August ninth.”
“In the year 1970, I turned twenty-one.”

Parentheses. A sentence containing an expression in parentheses is punctuated outside the marks of parenthesis exactly as if the parenthetical expression were absent. The expression within the marks is punctuated as if it stood by itself, except that the final stop is omitted unless it is a question mark or an exclamation point.

Quotations. Formal quotations cited as documentary evidence are introduced by a colon and enclosed in quotation marks.

A quotation grammatically in apposition or the direct object of a verb is preceded by a comma and enclosed in quotation marks.

I am reminded of the advice of my neighbor, “Never worry about your heart till it stops beating.”

When a quotation is followed by an attributive phrase, the comma is enclosed within the quotation marks.

“I can’t attend,” she said.

Typographical usage dictates that the comma be inside the marks, though logically it often seems not to belong there.

When quotations of an entire line, or more, of either verse or prose are to be distinguished typographically from text matter, as are the quotations in this book, begin on a fresh line and indent. Quotation marks should not be used unless they appear in the original, as in dialogue.

Quotations introduced by that are indirect discourse and not enclosed in quotation marks.

Proverbial expressions and familiar phrases of literary origin require no quotation marks.

References. In scholarly work requiring exact references, abbreviate titles that occur frequently, giving the full forms in an alphabetical list at the end. As a general practice, give the references in parentheses or in footnotes, not int he body of the sentence. Omit the words act, scene, line, book, volume, page, except when referring by only one of them.

Syllabication. When a word must be divided at the end of a line, consult a dictionary to learn the syllables between which division should be made. The student will do well to examine the syllable division in a number of pages of any carefully printed book.

Titles. For the titles of literary works, scholarly usage prefers italics with capitalized initials. The usage of editors and publishers varies, some using italics with capitalized initials, others using Roman with capitalized initials and with or without quotation marks. Use italics (indicated in manuscript by underscoring) except in writing for a periodical that follows a different practice. Omit initial A or The from titles when you place the possessive before them.

IV. WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS COMMONLY MISUSED

V. AN APPROACH TO STYLE (With a List of Reminders)

In this final chapter, we approach style in its broader meaning: style in the sense of what is distinguished and distinguishing. Here we leave solid ground. Who can confidently say what ignites a certain combination of words, causing them to explode in the mind? Who knows why certain notes in music are capable of stirring the listener deeply, though the same notes slightly rearranged are impotent?

…the younger writer…will often find him/herself steering by stars that are disturbingly in motion.

Since the book is a rule book, these cautionary remarks, these subtly dangerous hints, are presented in the form of rules, but they are, in essence, mere gentle reminders: they state what most of us know and at times forget.

Every writer, by the way he uses the language, reveals something of his spirit, his habits, his capacities, his bias. … All writing is communication; creative writing is communication through revelation–it is the Self escaping into the open. No writer long remains incognito.

The beginner should approach style warily, realizing that it is himself he is approaching, no other;…

Here, following, are some suggestions and cautionary hints that may help the beginner find his way to a satisfactory style

1. Place yourself in the background.

Write in a way that draws the reader’s attention to the sense and substance of the writing, rather than to the mood and temper of the author.

Therefore, the first piece of advice is this: to achieve style, begin by affecting none–that is, place yourself in the background. A careful and honest writer does not need to worry about style. As he becomes proficient in the use of the language, his style will emerge, because he himself will emerge, and when this happens he will find it increasingly easy to break through the barriers that separate him from other minds, other hearts–which is, of course, the purpose of writing, as well as its principal reward. Fortunately, the act of composition, or creation, disciplines the mind; writing is one way to go about thinking, and the practice and habit of writing not only drain the mind but supply it, too.

2. Write in a way that comes naturally.

Never imitate consciously, but do not worry about being an imitator; take pains instead to admire what is good. Then when you write in a way that comes naturally, you will echo the halloos that bear repeating.

3. Work from a suitable design.

4. Write with nouns and verbs.

The adjective hasn’t been built that can pull a weak or inaccurate noun out of a tight place.

In general, …it is nouns and verbs, not their assistants, that give to good writing its toughness and color.

4. Revise and rewrite.

Do not be afraid to seize whatever you have written and cut it to ribbons; it can always be restored to its original condition in the morning, if that course seems best. Remember, it is no sign of weakness or defeat that your manuscript ends up in need of major surgery. This is a common occurrence in all writing, and among the best writers.

6. Do not overwrite.

7. Do not overstate.

When you overstate, the reader will be install on guard, and everything that has preceded your overstatement as well as everything that follows it will be suspect in his mind because he has lost confidence in your judgment or your poise.

A single overstatement, weaver or however it occurs, diminishes the whole, and a single carefree superlative has the power to destroy, for the reader, the object of the writer’s enthusiasm.

8. Avoid the use of qualifiers.

Rather, very, little, pretty–these are the leeches that infest the pond of prose, sucking the blood of words.

9. Do not affect a breezy manner.

The breezy styles is often the work of an egocentric, the person who imagines that everything that pops into his head is of general interest and that uninhibited prose creates high spirits and carries the day.

10. Use orthodox spelling.

The practical objection to unaccepted and oversimplified spellings is the disfavor with which they are received by the reader. They distract his attention and exhaust his patience. He read the form though automatically, without thought of its needless complexity; he reads the abbreviation tho and mentally supplies the missing letters, at the cost of a fraction of his attention. The writer has defeated his own purpose.

11. Do not explain too much.

It is seldom advisable to tell all.

Let the conversation itself disclose the speaker’s manner or condition.

Inexperienced writers not only overwork their adverbs but load their attributives with explanatory verbs: “he consoled,” “she congratulated.” They do this, apparently, in the belief that the word said is always in need of support, or because they have been told to do it by experts in the art of bad writing.

12. Do not construct awkward adverbs.

13. Make sure the reader knows who is speaking.

Dialogue is a total loss unless you indicate who the speaker is.

Obscurity is an imposition on the reader, to say nothing of its damage to the work.

14. Avoid fancy words.

In this, as in so many matters pertaining to style, one’s ear must be one’s guide: gut is a lustier noun than intestine, but the two words are not interchangeable, because gut is often inappropriate, being too coarse for the context. Never call a stomach a tummy without good reason.

The question of ear is vital. Only the writer whose ear is reliable is in a position to use bad grammar deliberately; only he knows for sure when a colloquialism is better than formal phrasing; only he is able to sustain his work at the level of good taste. So cock your ear.

“A claw hammer, not an ax, was the tool he murdered her with.” This is preferable to “A claw hammer, not an ax, was the tool with which he murdered her.” Why? Because it thousands more violent, more like murder. A matter of ear.

And would you write “The worst tennis player around her is I” or “The worst tennis player around here is me”? The first is good grammar, the second is good judgment–although the me might not do in all contexts.

15. Do not use dialect unless your ear is good.

16. Be clear.

When you become hopelessly mired in a sentence, it is best to start fresh; do not try to fight your way through against the terrible odds of syntax. Usually what is wrong is that the construction has become too involved at some point; the sentence needs to be broken apart and replaced by two or more shorter sentences.

Muddiness is not merely a disturber of prose, it is also a destroyer of life, of hope: death on the highway caused by a badly worded road sign, heartbreak among lovers caused by a misplaced phrase in a well-intentioned letter, anguish of a traveler expecting to be met at a railroad station and not being met because of a slipshod telegram.

17. Do not inject opinion.

18. Use figures of speech sparingly.

The reader needs tim to catch his breath; he can’t be expected to compare everything with something else, and no relief in sight.

19. Do not take shortcuts at the cost of clarity.

A good rule is to start your article by writing out names in full, and then, later, when the reader has got his bearings, to shorten them.

The longest way around is usually the shortest way home, and the one truly reliable shortcut in writing is to choose words that are strong and sure-footed to carry the reader on his way.

20. Avoid foreign languages.

The writer will occasionally find it convenient or necessary to borrow from other languages. Some writers, however, from sheer exuberance or a desire to show off, sprinkle their work liberally with foreign expressions, with no regard for the reader’s comfort. it is a bad habit. Write in English.

21. Prefer the standard to the offbeat.

The young writer will be drawn at every turn toward eccentricities in language. He will hear the beat of new vocabularies, the exciting rhythms of special segments of his society, each speaking a language of its own. All of us come under the spell of these unsettling drums; the problem for the beginner is to listen to them, learn the words, feel the vibrations, and not be carried away.

The language is perpetually in flux: it is a living stream, shifting, changing, receiving new strength from a thousand tributaries, losing old forms in the back-waters of time. To suggest that a young writer not swim in the main stream of this turbulence would be foolish indeed, and such is not the intent of these cautionary remarks. The intent is to suggest that in choosing between the formal and the informal, the regular and the offbeat, the genera and the special, the orthodox and the vertical, the beginner err on the side of conservatism, on the side of established usage. No idiom is taboo, no accent forbidden; there is simply a better chance of doing well if the writer holds a steady course, enters the stream of English quietly, and does not thrash about.

“But,” the student may ask, “what if it comes natural to me to experiment rather than conform? What if I am a pioneer, or even a genius?” Answer: then be one. But do not forget that what may seem like pioneering may be merely evasion, or laziness–the disinclination to submit to discipline. Writing good standard English is no cinch, and before you have managed it you will have encountered enough rough country to satisfy even the most adventurous spirit.


Style takes its final shape more from attitudes of mind than from principles of composition, for, as an elderly practitioner once remarked, “Writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar.” The moral observation would have no place in a rule book were it not that the style is the writer, and therefore what a man is, rather than what he knows, will at last determine his style. If one is to write, one must believe–in the truth and worth of the scrawl, in the ability of the reader to reeve and decode the message. No one can write decently who is distrustful of the reader’s intelligence, or whose attitude is patronizing.

It is now necessary to warn the writer that his concern for the reader must be pure: he must sympathize with the reader’s plight (most readers are in trouble about half the time) but never seek to know his wants. The whole duty of a writer is to please and satisfy himself, and the true writer always plays to an audience of one. Let hims tart sniffing the air, or glancing ta the Trend Machine, and he is as good as dead, although he may make a nice living.

Full of his beliefs, sustained and elevated by the power of his purpose, armed with the rules of grammar, the writer is ready for exposure.

About VIA

www.kevinneuner.com

One comment

  1. HAT

    White’s book is a classic. But check out Francis-Noel Thomas’ Clear and Simple as the Truth. Superb, and a whole different take on “style.”

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