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The Elements of Style (4th Edition) [Hardcover]

William Strunk Jr. , E. B. White
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (172 customer reviews)
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Hardcover CDN $12.24  
Paperback CDN $9.86  

Book Description

Aug. 24 1999 0205313426 978-0205313426 4
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.

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Customers buy this book with On Writing Well 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction CDN$ 14.43

The Elements of Style (4th Edition) + On Writing Well 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
Price For Both: CDN$ 26.67

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"...a marvellous and timeless little book... Here, succinctly, elegantly and without fuss are the essentials of writing clear, correct English." John Clare, "The Telegraph" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

Some acclaim for previous editions:

"Buy it, study it, enjoy it. It's as timeless as a book can be in our age of volubility."
The New York Times

"No book in shorter space, with fewer words, will help any writer more than this persistent little volume."
The Boston Globe

"White is one of the best stylists and most lucid minds in this country. What he says and his way of saying it are equally rewarding."
The Wall Street Journal

"The book remains a nonpareil: direct, correct, and delightful."
The New Yorker

". . . Should be the daily companion of anyone who writes for a living, and for that matter, anyone who writes at all."
Greensboro (N.C.) Daily News

"This excellent book, which should go off to college with every freshman, is recognized as the best book of its kind we have."
St. Paul Dispatch – Pioneer Press

"It's hard to imagine an engineer or a manager who doesn't need to express himself in English prose as part of his job. It's also hard to imagine a writer who will not be improved by a liberal application of The Elements of Style."
Telephone Engineer & Management

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
By Zaid
This is the most precious book I have ever read. I have learned from it in few hours what I could not learn in more than 12 years of schooling. In particular, it is a little book about how everyone must write in English, and I emphasize on the words ‘little’ and ‘must’ for reasons you will know as soon as you start reading the book.
The book contains 11 elementary rules of usage, 11 elementary principles of composition, a few matters of form, and a list of words and expressions commonly misused that establish the, not a, solid ground, of plain English style in brief space. All these rules and principles are given by William Strunk Jr. in the form of sharp commands, who is appropriately strongly self-confident of his approach to English writing style. The book is enriched by the revision of E. B. White and his addition of a chapter on writing. The author strongly argues that the main elements of correct English style are “cleanliness, accuracy, and brevity”, with a very strong emphasis on the latter. Under Strunk’s sixth principle of composition, Omit Needless Words, he writes:
"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."
I liked Strunk’s audaciousness and self-confidence of presenting his view on the topic. He also has a very nice sense of humour, which he had probably never intended. My favourite example is his strong criticism of how the word ‘hopefully’ is used.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless - Clear and Direct June 12 2006
Roughly 80 years ago, William Strunk wrote a small textbook for students in his English Composition class. He wrote it with the intention of creation a short and accessible reference for his students, one of whom - E. B. White, author of the children's classic "Charlotte's Web" - would revise it almost thirty years later for publication to the general college market.

Since its inception, "The Elements of Style" has been the definitive text on clear written communication. It contains explicit guidelines that can easily be followed by anyone, and lays down the law in the form of 22 Elementary Rules of Usage and Elementary Principles of Composition (my favorite of which, "Omit needless words," I couldn't resist quoting in my own book).

Perhaps most importantly, from the perspective of the aspiring writer (who generally has neither an abundance of time nor money), the book is short (can be leisurely read in a couple of hours) and inexpensive (affordable for even the starving student).

This book is highly, highly recommended for anyone who considers taking pen to paper.

Danny Iny

Author of "Ordinary Miracles - Harness the power of writing and get your point across!" (ISBN 1-4116-7252-6)
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
In 1919 when William Strunk Jr. was an English professor at Cornell, he self-published this small volume and used it as a required textbook. One of his students was E.B. White who later wrote the children's classic, "Charlotte's Web" and was also a columnist for the New Yorker. In 1957, Mr. White made some slight revisions and had "The Elements of Style" republished. The result, as they say, is history. Now in its fourth edition, this small book has become a classic. I know I must have learned my grammar in elementary school, but I have no recollection of actual lessons. I don't think I ever did learn terms such as adjectival modifier, adverbial phrase, split infinitive, intransitive verb or participial phrase. My teachers must have done a good job though, because grammar has never been a problem for me.
Only 85 pages long, this book was a good refresher course for me. It emphasizes clarity and conciseness and certainly is a good example of this concept itself. Of course it's not easy subway reading; grammar rules do tend to be rather boring. I can't help but picture a rather stuffy old man with a condescending attitude standing at a lectern and giving his own rule for the use of the word "prestigious" which he considers an adjective of last resort. "It's in the dictionary," he says, "but that doesn't mean you have to use it". I'm not a big fan of this kind of wit, although it does make the lessons he teaches more palatable. He's a product of another era, when students held their professors in reverence. It was the style then to talk down to students and I don't like being talked down to, even in a little book and by a man who's been dead since 1946.
But it's not about the messenger; it's about the message.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Get the 3rd Edition Sept. 4 2003
By A Customer
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.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Must have for serious writers
Very technical but essential to knowing the mechanics of word sentence design. Aimed at literary artists, this is a staple for writers.
Published 2 months ago by Derek Finnik
5.0 out of 5 stars Never learned so much from such a tiny book
This book is just amazing. It's extremely clear and to the point... More importantly, it's certainly useful for basically everybody (except for whoever doesn't ever need to write... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Gabriel Silva
3.0 out of 5 stars It is not as well-organized as I expected
I am not a native English speaker, but my english as second language is quite good. I read the reviews for this book, and people said this book is really well organized. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Yingche CHEN
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book about writing that I have read.
It's very short but very useful. Some of the information can even be transposed for writing in other languages (like French.)
Published 9 months ago by Chantal Fournier
5.0 out of 5 stars it's a good book to have but only if you actually read it
it's a good book to have since it is helpful. how ever there are a older version of this book available online so if you're actually prefer to read book than this is the book for... Read more
Published 10 months ago by 0126
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for anyone who takes writing seriously
How can you possibly do without this landmark book? It is practical with real life examples that are meaningfully presented.
Published 11 months ago by Andre Nadeau
5.0 out of 5 stars review
didn't read it, I just read the sparknotes for my class. well I guess I have to wright more words so I can submit my review, but yah I bought this book because of my school. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Books4You
5.0 out of 5 stars Good
It is suggested by my teacher, so I hope it's good for improving writing. The book is new, so not bad with this price.
Published 13 months ago by health55yan
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic
There's not much to be said about this one that hasn't been said by others. It's compact, precise, and, when appropriate, funny as hell. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Harrison Koehli
5.0 out of 5 stars The Elements of Style
This paperback book is helpful in making sure the writing style of the
assignments I am working on are appropriately written. Read more
Published 17 months ago by HRM039
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