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 book 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 USAGE.
1.Form the Possessive Singular of Nouns by Adding 's.
2.In a Series of Three or More Terms with a Single Conjunction, Use a Comma after Each Term except the Last.
3.Enclose Parenthetic Expressions between Commas.
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.
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.