The Elements of Style

The Elements of Style Summary

The Elements of Style
By William Strunk, Jr.

The Elements of Style (1918) (aka Strunk & White), by William Strunk, Jr., and E.B. White, is an American English writing style guide. It is the best-known, most influential prescriptive treatment of English grammar and usage, and often is required reading and usage in U.S. high school and university composition classes. The original, 1918 edition of The Elements of Style detailed eight elementary rules of usage, ten elementary principles of composition, “a few matters of form”, and a list of commonly misused words and expressions.

Asserting that one must first know the rules to break them, this classic reference book is a must-have for any student and conscientious writer. Intended for use in which the practice of composition is combined with the study of literature, it gives in brief space the principal requirements of plain English style and concentrates attention on the rules of usage and principles of composition most commonly violated.

Table of Contents:
I. Introductory

II. Elementary Rules of Usage

1. Form the possessive singular of nouns with '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 and or but introducing an independent clause

5. Do not join independent clauses by a comma

6. Do not break sentences in two

7. A participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence must refer to the grammatical subject

8. Divide words at line-ends, in accordance with their formation and pronunciation

III. Elementary Principles of Composition

9. Make the paragraph the unit of composition: one paragraph to each topic

10. As a rule, begin each paragraph with a topic sentence; end it in conformity with the beginning

11. Use the active voice

12. Put statements in positive form

13. Omit needless words

14. Avoid a succession of loose sentences

15. Express co-ordinate ideas in similar form

16. Keep related words together

17. In summaries, keep to one tense

18. Place the emphatic words of a sentence at the end

IV. A Few Matters of Form

V. Words and Expressions Commonly Misued

VI. Words Commonly Misspelled

Book Reviews

Scruff 171

Typos1 star

Just reviewing the preview I see many typos (which I presume to be errors in “translating” this to an ebook). Very distracting.15


Highly disappointed1 star

I wish I had read the reviews before purchasing. I could not imagine that this book, of all books, would be full of typos. Disrespectful!15


Disappointed1 star

Very poorly transposed this book has so many spelling errors there's one on the very first page for a book about writing what a let down to see this15


Typos!1 star

I'm shocked to see so many typos!! Not worth the purchase.15


Typos1 star

Wish I could leave less than a one star rating. Typos. Enough said.15


It also pains me to say...1 star

...but the review by the other commenter is very accurate: this iBook is full o typos and misspellings galore! What a sad state to leave such a long-used book by our schools, professors, and professionals!!! 😔15


Typo's galore2 star

It is frustrating, no infuriating to see soooo many typographical errors. I wonder if the original content as well has gone awry too. It seems this "little" book cannot be trusted. Disappointed.25

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