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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most Clear, Concise, & Informative on Correct Writing Style
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...
Published on March 12 2006 by Zaid

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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. For me, it is not as well-organized as I expected.
Published 6 months ago by Yingche CHEN


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most Clear, Concise, & Informative on Correct Writing Style, March 12 2006
By 
This review is from: The Elements of Style (Paperback)
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.
"This once-useful adverb meaning “with hope” has been distorted and is now widely used to mean “I hope” or “it is to be hoped.” Such use is not merely wrong, it is silly. To say, “Hopefully I’ll leave on the noon place” is to talk nonsense. Do you mean you’ll leave on the noon plane in a hopeful frame of mind? Or do you mean you hope you’ll leave on the noon place? Whichever you mean, you haven’t said it clearly. Although the word in its new, free-floating capacity may be pleasurable and even useful to many, it offends the ear of many others, who do not like to see words dulled, or eroded, particularly when the erosion leads to ambiguity, softness, or nonsense."
The Elements of Style is full of precious gems that are available to anyone who can read English. The book may be the cheapest to buy and I believe is the most concise and clear book you can ever wish for that teaches you the elements of style in English writing. It is a unique book that you must obtain whether English is you mother tongue or just another language that you speak, because it will teach you elementary principles of style that should be common to all human languages.
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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
By 
Danny Iny "Author and Entrepreneur" (Montreal, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Elements of Style (Paperback)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars If you can get past the attitude, there's a lot to learn, Feb. 4 2001
By 
Linda Linguvic (New York City) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Elements of Style (Paperback)
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. And Professor Strunk had something to important to say. He made a good case for clarity. I applaud that. Much of what I already believe was reinforced. In spite of myself, I did learn a lot. And getting the essence of English grammar and style into so few pages is a feat of genius. I highly recommend this book. If you can get past the attitude you will find it can even apply to e-mail correspondence. Take advantage of the learning experience. You won't be sorry.
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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
This review is from: The Elements of Style (Paperback)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic, Dec 19 2012
By 
Harrison Koehli (Alberta, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Elements of Style (Paperback)
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. The only fault is that some 'guidelines' are presented as hard-and-fast rules, and while it has been updated in recent years, it's still a bit dated. But even then, The Elements of Style (****1/2) is a book I don't foresee ever leaving my bookshelf.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the Best, Dec 20 2001
By 
M. D. Cummings "Marv" (Kanosh, Utah United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Elements of Style (Paperback)
Twenty-one years ago, a professor in one of my English Lit. classes brought out a book that was NOT one of those texts that you thought you were going to have to take along into the next life in order to finish it. The book was quite the opposite. It was a small 78 page publication that was no more intimidating than a comic book.
I was a student that needed help in my punctuation, word usage, and style. I hoped, as did all the students, that the day would come when we would be published. The professor said, "If you're ever going to make it in the writing field, this book will be your best guide. Stick to the principles mentioned in its pages and you will achieve your goals. That is, assuming you have any writing ability in you at all."
Currently, I am taking a refresher course through a correspondence school back East. Guess what book is part of their curriculum? You're right, it's The Elements of Style. This time I have given the book a strict credence, and in the next few months I will have my first publishing credit.
I believe, The Elements of Style, is still the best book on correct writing techniques there is on the market. It was so tweny-one years ago and it will be so twenty-one years from now.
M.D. Cummings
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5.0 out of 5 stars Must have for serious writers, Feb. 1 2014
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This review is from: The Elements of Style (Paperback)
Very technical but essential to knowing the mechanics of word sentence design. Aimed at literary artists, this is a staple for writers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Never learned so much from such a tiny book, Jan. 24 2014
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This review is from: The Elements of Style (Paperback)
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 anything).
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3.0 out of 5 stars It is not as well-organized as I expected, Sept. 25 2013
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This review is from: The Elements of Style (Paperback)
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. For me, it is not as well-organized as I expected.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best book about writing that I have read., July 6 2013
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This review is from: The Elements of Style (Paperback)
It's very short but very useful. Some of the information can even be transposed for writing in other languages (like French.)
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The Elements of Style
The Elements of Style by E. B. White (Paperback - July 23 1999)
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