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75 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pocket Pearl
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...
Published on 22 Oct 2001 by Slartibartfast

versus
135 of 151 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Useful, but neither perfect nor the best
This brief book can teach the inexpert writer much, and even experts will learn a few new things. However, it presents itself, and is often presented by others, as a flawless masterpiece - something it is not.
What jars most is that the book itself is riddled with errors. I'm not nit-picking about pedantic subtleties - there are real, serious mistakes: the authors...
Published on 16 Aug 2002 by Clive Jones


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75 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pocket Pearl, 22 Oct 2001
This review is from: The Elements of Style (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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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important little book..., 28 Nov 2007
By 
B. D. Wilson (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Elements of Style (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. For example, as Stephen King points out, it says that the most important part of a sentence should always go at the end - but is "With a hammer he killed Frank" really better than "He killed Frank with a hammer"? I don't think so, either. Also, it seems to me that a lot of this advice, particular when it comes to grammar, depends on your own comforts and preferences and those of your editor and/or publisher. That doesn't mean we should pay it no heed, but I do believe that you can quite easily get away with ignoring half of this book's advice and still be a respected, published writer.

But overall, an excellent little book that I think every writer should read, whether they are beginners or highly experienced. The writing style of Strunk himself is straightforward and formal, occasionally venturing into humour and informality, which means that you are likely to learn something by reading it, but unlikely to be bored while doing so.

Highly recommended to writers of all talents.
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89 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great guide, 5 Jan 2006
By 
Kurt Messick "FrKurt Messick" (London, SW1) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Elements of Style (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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54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars for the aspiring writer, 25 Mar 2006
By 
curtis sonny (london, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Elements of Style (Paperback)
This handy no nonsense book was recommended to me by Stephen King in his foreword for the book "on writing". I fully agree with him and that no word is wasted and examples are given to amplify the points. Anyone who is interested in improving their prose should get one...and it's easy on the pocket.It should be the first book you buy on style and finding your voice.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Staple of Every Writer's Bookshelf, 8 Jun 2011
By 
John M. Ford "johnDC" (near DC, MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Elements of Style (Paperback)
This is the classic book on how to write. If you've already read it, you don't need me to tell you how good it is. If you haven't, then stop reading this review and go get it--either online for free or in an inexpensive paper version. I'll just suggest three books to back it up on your shelf. Strunk and White is the best by far, but these will help you, too.

Kilian Crawford's Writing for the Web provides guidance and examples for successful online writing. Web readers have different expectations and attention spans and it takes different techniques to capture, hold and develop their interest in your message.

Roy Peter Clark's Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer provides strategy advice that ranges from "Nuts and Bolts" like "Begin sentences with subjects and verbs" to "Useful Habits" such as "Turn procrastination into rehearsal."

Mark Kramer and Wendy Call's Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers' Guide contains advice from experienced writers and editors on a range of topics. The short chapter format makes it perfect for opportunistic reading by busy writers.

Who am I to make these recommendations? Some great writer, maybe? Nope. I'm a so-so writer who enjoys it, wants to be better at it, and needs all the help he can get. And I've read each of these books and learned something. My guess is that you will, too.

Feed your shelf and it will be there for you.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative and Amusing, 17 Feb 2009
By 
S. A. Bain (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Elements of Style (Paperback)
Recommended by a journalist friend, The Elements of Style has proved ideal for this latent grammar nerd. Good if you have to write for your job and care about not reading like an illiterate. Sadly the gaps left by the UK education system may mean that you don't have the technical understanding to take on some of the finer points. Contains some excellent jokes.
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135 of 151 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Useful, but neither perfect nor the best, 16 Aug 2002
By 
Clive Jones - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Elements of Style (Paperback)
This brief book can teach the inexpert writer much, and even experts will learn a few new things. However, it presents itself, and is often presented by others, as a flawless masterpiece - something it is not.
What jars most is that the book itself is riddled with errors. I'm not nit-picking about pedantic subtleties - there are real, serious mistakes: the authors spell the English place "Bridgwater" as "Bridgewater", for example, and they often omit essential hyphens, thereby missing their meaning.
I was also upset that so many of the before-and-after examples are flawed. Too often, in mending style, nuances are lost; in many cases I could see alternatives that were more correct, brief, elegant and exact.
It would be interesting to see Strunk's original offering, or an earlier edition of White's adaptation: some of the material is pristine and unobjectionable, so maybe successive editings have let the work fall from former greatness. It is hard to tell, now.
If you are buying just one book on English usage, let it be Bill Bryson's "Troublesome Words". If you want to own a legendary work on the subject, buy Fowler. If you already have a dozen such books, by all means get this one too.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for me, 2 Mar 2004
By 
Mrs. Giulia Clifford "Julia" (Bishop's Stortford, Herts, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: The Elements of Style (Paperback)
Being a non native English speaker who wants stubbornly to write her book in English, I found this book useful. I don't know if it's true, as one of the other reviewer said, that there are samples that could have been better than the ones in this book, but I indeed found them useful.
Reading this book I found an answer to lots of questions I had about English. Of course I know that my English is still not flawless, but reading this book has helped me to write better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for any writer; a little gem., 23 July 2009
By 
R. F. Stevens "richard23491" (Ickenham UK) - See all my reviews
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Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Elements of Style (Paperback)
Many individuals are confident in their writing ability, and have happily placed ink on paper for years. I was one such, but when I first read this little gem last year I suddenly became horribly aware of the inadequacies in my written English.

William Strunk's original notes required one to follow a very short list of golden rules. E B White, a former student taught by Strunk, added a few more and tidied up the presentation. In this fourth edition it is still a small book, barely enough to fill a pocket, but it is worth its weight in gold.

Once having read it, I also realised I should study Fowler's Modern English Usage more closely. The Pocket Fowler's Modern English Usage (Oxford Paperback Reference) is massive and will not fit any of my pockets, but it is just as valuable, for it neatly complements the essential framework established by Strunk and White.

My English might not have improved much, but at least I now have a suitable target to aim for.

.
Addendum 8/1/2011. Please make sure you buy the 1999 Fourth Edition, by Strunk AND White!

Amazon have managed to cross-link the reviews for different versions and editions of this book, hence doing their very best to confuse us. Which is why some of the reviews posted here seem so contradictory. Unless you are doing research into the original source, please avoid wasting your hard-earned in buying a very much older edition written by William Strunk alone, such as that recently reprinted by Filiquarian.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Plain and simple, 13 Mar 2009
This review is from: The Elements of Style (Paperback)
This book does what it sets out to do - educates the reader in how to write clear and easily understandable English. The book achieves in 95 pages what takes similar books several hundred pages; provides 11 rules of usage, 11 principles of composition, a list of words and expressions commonly misused, and 21 approaches to style; liberally sprinkled throughout with examples of good and bad useage, and quotes from published works, explaining why each example does or does not work.
Highly recommended for anyone who writes or needs to express themselves in words which convey their point in a plain and simple style.
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The Elements of Style
The Elements of Style by E. B. White (Paperback - 23 July 1999)
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