WILLIAM STRUNK Jr.
With Revisions, an Introduction, and a Chapter on Writing
E. B. WHITE
F O U R T H EDITION
[Note on scan -- Left in this text when refering to the actual text means the top, Right means the bottom: The log was partially submerged. (Top and Left)
The log was partly submerged. (Bottom andRight)
This is consistant throughout the text.]
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 quotation.
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 a sentence must refer to the grammatical subject. II. ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION
12. Choose a suitable design 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 design.
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.
SCAN & PROOF NOTES
by Roger Angell
The first writer I watched at work was my stepfather, E. B. White. Each Tuesday morning, he would close his study door and sit down to write the "Notes and Comment" page for The New Yorker. The task was familiar to him—he was required to file a few hundred words of editorial or personal commentary on some topic in or out of the news that week—but the sounds of his typewriter from his room came in hesitant bursts, with long silences in between. Hours went by. Summoned at last for lunch, he was silent and preoccupied, and soon excused himself to get back to the job. When the copy went off at last, in the afternoon RFD pouch—we were in Maine, a day's mail away from New York—he rarely seemed satisfied. "It isn't good enough," he said sometimes. "I wish it were better." Writing is hard, even for authors who do it all the time. Less frequent practitioners—the job applicant; the business executive with an annual report to get out; the high school senior with a Faulkner assignment; the graduate-school student with her thesis proposal; the writer of a letter of condolence— often get stuck in an awkward passage or find a muddle on their screens, and then blame themselves. What should be easy and flowing looks tangled or feeble or overblown—not what was meant at all. What's wrong with me, each one...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document