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The Elements of Style Paperback – 23 Jul 1999


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Product details

  • Paperback: 105 pages
  • Publisher: Longman; 4 edition (23 July 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 020530902X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0205309023
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 1 x 17.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (174 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,122 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

"...a marvellous and timeless little book... Here, succinctly, elegantly and without fuss are the essentials of writing clear, correct English."

John Clare, The Telegraph

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


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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By qubiq on 2 May 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
This was my first purchase via Kindle and could well be my last. An appealing price compared to a paper copy attracted me to this version, but frequent typesetting problems and other display errors make it poor value.

A suitable example from chapter II section 16 as it appears on Kindle (before wrapping to the width of the window):

"... The subject of a sentence and the principal verb should not, as a rule, be separated by a phrase or clause that can be transferred to the beginning.
Wordsworth, in the fifth book of The Excursion, gives a minute description of this church.
Cast iron, when treated in a Bessemer converter, is changed into steel.
In the fifth book of The Excursion, Wordsworth
gives description of a minute this church.
By treatment converter, cast iron is changed into steel.
in a Bessemer" (sic. including pointless line breaks and jumbled words)

This should read:
... The subject of a sentence and the principal verb should not, as a rule, be separated by a phrase or clause that can be transferred to the beginning.

Wordsworth, in the fifth book of The Excursion, gives a minute description of this church.
Cast iron, when treated in a Bessemer converter, is changed into steel.

In the fifth book of The Excursion, Wordsworth gives a minute description of this church.
By treatment in a Bessemer converter, cast iron is changed into steel."

It would be better still to keep something of the original layout in which the original (bad) and new (improved) versions sat side-by-side.

When the majority of the meaning of a book is about layout, careful placement of punctuation and sentence construction, errors such as these either:
(a) make the ebook utterly useless
or
(b) unintentionally turn each paragraph into a jigsaw puzzle which makes you concentrate harder.

Buy a print copy!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By B. D. Wilson VINE VOICE on 28 Nov. 2007
Format: Paperback
"The Elements of Style" was recommended to me by Stephen King in his book "On Writing". I see it as basically filling in the gaps that King left in his book. King's book was more concerned with the practical matters of writing, whereas, TEOS is all about LANGUAGE and how to use it, which King only touched upon.

And this book certainly packs a lot of information and advice, especially given that it is only 85 pages long. It has five chapters. The first chapter is called ELEMENTARY RULES OF USAGE and contains eleven grammatical tips, from the use of commas and semi-colons to structuring of a sentence. The second chapter, ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION, is more about writing style and ways to keep your writing punchy and fresh. Chapter 3, A FEW MATTERS OF FORM, mostly concerns physical presentation of your work and may be more suitable to formal letter writing that fiction, but may be useful to other forms nonetheless. Chapter 4 is about WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS COMMONLY MISUSED and includes some of my pet hates, including those who turn "I couldn't care less" into "I could care less", thus completely destroying the meaning of the phrase. I also learned a few new things from this section. The fifth chapter is called AN APPROACH TO STYLE and contains 21 general tips, or "reminders", about how to keep your writing consistent and stop it going bad. A lot of my description here sounds very general and vague, and makes most of the sections sound the same, but trust me that it all makes sense and has a point in the book that I just can't quite explain - I need a bigger vocab!

There are one or two minor problems with the book.
Read more ›
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Mr. P. Jones on 19 Oct. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
It's a shame that Amazon don't have a extra review section, for comment on how the book translates into a Kindle edition. I'm having to mark Strunk's good work poorly, because the publisher has been too lazy to make a proper kindle edition. I'm sure this would be a good read if it was, y'know, readable. At the moment it's nothing other than robbery.
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78 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Slartibartfast on 22 Oct. 2001
Format: Paperback
First published in the 1930's, this tiny gem is jammed with
timeless writing advice. The Elements of Style shows you how to be
clear, concise and precise, and is itself written in a similar
style. No other book packs as much useful information into such a tiny
space. The authors of 1000 page tomes, such as the Chicago Manual of
Style, would do well to follow Strunk's enduring advice. This should
be mandatory reading for anyone involved in a career in research, editing or
technical authoring.
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90 of 93 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME on 5 Jan. 2006
Format: Paperback
I first encountered Strunk and White's 'Elements of Style' when I was an undergraduate, and I have been a fan of this book ever sense. Perhaps it is because of the excellent teamwork that is apparent on the pages between the master of language, William Strunk, and the master of narrative, E.B. White. How can you go wrong learning grammar from the likes of the author of such wonderful tales as Stuart Little?
During my English composition class as an undergraduate, we had to read this book twice, once at the beginning of the term, and again at the end. I have since referred to the pages so often that I am on my fourth or fifth copy, as the binding and pages have worn out from use. Long before books such as 'Woe is I' or 'Eats, Shoots and Leaves', this book, 'The Elements of Style' has held a certain pride of place in being useful, accessible and interesting in its presentation of a traditionally and typically boring subject - grammar and usage.
Among the pieces I re-read on a frequent basis is the list of commonly misused or abused words and phrases. Here is a list of easily corrected mistakes that the typical writer and speaker needs to keep in mind. Also, the suggestions for composition are gentle reminders that creativity and good craftsmanship need not be contradictory.
This is a wonderful gift and wonderful treat for oneself.
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