Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Book Review: The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White

I am not (by definition) into grammar textbooks. I am tremendously into the careful use of language, and so far The Elements of Style is the one book on the subject that I have recommended on any and all occasions without reservations!

This thin little book belongs in every writer’s arsenal. Easily accessible, pertinent and succinct, it touches on subjects that matter (elementary rules of usage, principles of composition, matters of form, and commonly misused words and expressions). In short, all those small, daily, irritating trip-ups which too often bring our writing to the dust. And it’s all done in roughly 80 small pages!

The ending chapter, An Approach to Style, is worth the price of the entire book and (in my opinion) if thoroughly studied is all you might ever need on the subject. To quote: 

“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. If the writing is solid and good, the mood and temper of the writer will eventually be revealed, and not at the expense of the work. 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.”

Most excellent, is it not?

Heidi Peterson is a lover of wide-spreading land, summer dust, white pounding waterfalls, and mountain tops; also of good dark coffee and rich stories. Most of all she's a lover of the One who is the Word, the Word made flesh. You can visit her additional blog (where she shares more about books, movies, and further marvels of life) at: Along the Brandywine.

Visit and contact at: Sharing the Journey // Along the Brandywine // ladyofanorien(at)gmail(dot)com


  1. Replies
    1. Hamlette,
      Absolutely -- and it's filled with so much good stuff I had the hardest time figuring out what to quote in the review!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...