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The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition
By William Strunk, Jr.
The Elements of Style (1918) (aka Strunk & White), by William Strunk, Jr., and E.B. White, is an American English writing style guide. It is the best-known, most influential prescriptive treatment of English grammar and usage, and often is required reading and usage in U.S. high school and university composition classes. The original, 1918 edition of The Elements of Style detailed eight elementary rules of usage, ten elementary principles of composition, “a few matters of form”, and a list of commonly misused words and expressions.
Asserting that one must first know the rules to break them, this classic reference book is a must-have for any student and conscientious writer. Intended for use in which the practice of composition is combined with the study of literature, it gives in brief space the principal requirements of plain English style and concentrates attention on the rules of usage and principles of composition most commonly violated.
"...a marvellous and timeless little book... Here, succinctly, elegantly and without fuss are the essentials of writing clear, correct English." John Clare, "The Telegraph"
Table of Contents:
II. Elementary Rules of Usage
1. Form the possessive singular of nouns with 's
2. In a series of three or more terms with a single conjunction, use a comma after each term except the last
3. Enclose parenthetic expressions between commas
4. Place a comma before and or but introducing an independent clause
5. Do not join independent clauses by a comma
6. Do not break sentences in two
7. A participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence must refer to the grammatical subject
8. Divide words at line-ends, in accordance with their formation and pronunciation
III. Elementary Principles of Composition
9. Make the paragraph the unit of composition: one paragraph to each topic
10. As a rule, begin each paragraph with a topic sentence; end it in conformity with the beginning
11. Use the active voice
12. Put statements in positive form
13. Omit needless words
14. Avoid a succession of loose sentences
15. Express co-ordinate ideas in similar form
16. Keep related words together
17. In summaries, keep to one tense
18. Place the emphatic words of a sentence at the end
IV. A Few Matters of Form
V. Words and Expressions Commonly Misued
VI. Words Commonly Misspelled
- February 28, 2014 New version 2.0
- March 11, 2014 New version 2.1