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.
The revisions to the new edition are purposely kept minimal in order to retain the book's unique tone, wit, and charm. A new Glossary of the grammatical terms used in The Elements of Style provides a convenient reference for readers. The discussion of pronoun use is revised to reflect the contemporary concern with sexist language. In addition, there are numerous slight revisions in the book itself which implement this advice. 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 has 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.
I. ELEMENTARY RULES OF USAG
1. Form the Possessive Singular of Nouns by Adding '
2. In a Series of Three or More Terms with a Single Conjunction, Use a Comma after Each Term except the Las
3. Enclose Parenthetic Expressions between Comma
4. Place a Comma before a Conjunction Introducing an Independent Clause
5. Do Not Join Independent Clauses with a Comma
6. Do Not Break Sentences in Two
7. Use a Colon after an Independent Clause to Introduce a List of Particulars, an Appositive, an Amplification, or an Illustrative Question
8. Use a Dash to Set Off an Abrupt Break or Interruption and to Announce a Long Appositive or Summary
9. The Number of the Subject Determines the Number of the Verb
10. Use the Proper Case of Pronoun
11. A Participial Phrase at the Beginning of the Sentence Must Refer to the Grammatical Subject
II. ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION
12. Choose a Suitable Sesign and Hold to It
13. Make the Paragraph the unit of Composition
14. Use the Active Voice
15. Put Statements in Positive Form
16. Use Definite, Specific, Concrete Language
17. Omit Needless Words
18. Avoid a Succession of Loose Sentences
19. Express Coordinate Ideas in Similar Form
20. Keep Related Words Together
21. In Summaries, Keep to One Tense
22. Place the Emphatic Words of a Sentence at the End
III. A FEW MATTERS OF FORM
IV. WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS COMMONLY MISUSED
V. AN APPROACH TO STYLE (WITH A LIST OF REMINDERS)
1. Place Yourself in the Background
2. Write in a Way That Comes Naturally
3. Work From a Suitable Style
4. Write with Nouns and Verbs
5. Revise and Rewrite
6. Do Not Overwrite
7. Do Not Overstate
8. Avoid the Use of Qualifiers
9. Do Not Affect a Breezy Manner
10. Use Orthodox Spelling
11. Do Not Explain Too Much
12. Do Not Construct Awkward Adverbs
13. Make Sure the Reader Knows Who is Speaking
14. Avoid Fancy Words
15. Do Not Use Dialect Unless Your Ear Is Good
16. Be Clear
17. Do Not Inject Opinion
18. Use Figures of Speech Sparingly
19. Do Not Take Shortcuts at the Cost of Clarity
20. Avoid Foreign Languages
21. Prefer the Standard to the Offbeat
William Strunk, Jr. first used his own book, The Elements of Style, in 1919 for his English 8 course at Cornell University. The book was published in 1935 by Oliver Strunk.
E. B. White was a student in Professor Strunk's class at Cornell, and used "the little book" for himself. Commissioned by Macmillan to revise Strunk's book, White edited the 1959 and 1972 editions of The Elements of Style.
...a marvellous and timeless little book... Here, succinctly, elegantly and without fuss are the essentials of writing clear, correct English.
- John Clare, "The Telegraph"