Book Review of The Elements of Style by Strunk, William and White, B. Elwyn

Book Review of The Elements of Style by Strunk, William and White, B. Elwyn

Outline of Chapters 1, 2 and 5 of Strunk, William and White, B. Elwyn. The Elements of Style Book Review

Strunk and White, in their book The Elements of style, purpose of discuss the grammatical styles and rules that ought to be considered while writing. Lets get an overview of the book in this Book Review of The Elements of Style by Strunk, William and White, B. Elwyn.

Chapter 1 discusses the elementary rules of use in detail to remind writers the mistakes that are made often while writing. In chapter 2, the writers explore principals governing composition writing. In the chapter, there are various styles and ways of writing compositions and English papers as is discussed in great details to equip writers with the expertise needed in order to produce papers that are of high quality. In the book’s last chapter, an approach to writing styles is discussed in great detail.

The book, in chapter 1 goes into detail of grammatical rules that must be taken into consideration while writing. I am going to highlight a couple of rules highlighted in the book. To start with, it explains how the possessive singular of nouns needs to be formed. This is through adding- ‘s to singular nouns with the exceptions of those proper nouns that end in –es and –is. There is no need to use the apostrophe for pronominal possessives such as its, ours, yours, theirs and hers. While this is the case, indefinite pronouns will use an apostrophe for instance one’s opinion. There is also mention of use of commas in which case the comma is supposed to be applied in a series of three or additional terms with the single conjunction except for the last.

In relation to this, independent clauses are not supposed to be joined through the use of commas and what is more, commas should not be used instead of periods to break two sentences. In the chapter, there is also discussion regarding the use of semicolons, dashes and colons. Rules like determination of the number of verbs by number of subjects and use of proper pronouns are some of the few grammatical rules addressed in the chapter.

In chapter two of the book, there are basic rules that offer guidance for composition writing in great detail. Issues like selecting an ideal design, relying on paragraphs as a unit of writing compositions as well as active voice use while writing are also emphasized in chapter 2 of the book. It is of great importance for writers to realize that the paragraph is the basic of writing a composition. Paragraphs are supposed to be applied as a representation of different points a writer is interested in elaborating on a given topic that they have decided to write about. Though this might be the case, care needs to be taken in order to avoid making them short or long but rather, constructing them in a manner that is logical and in which meaning is derived from them.

Additionally, the chapter also deals with other rules governing writing. It places emphasis on use of statement in positive form in order to make assertions that are positive. Other rules of writing such as use of concrete language and specifics should be taken into consideration since specifics usually depict a picture that is clearer than the general and hence, the reader is in a position to understand what exactly the writer intends. Care ought to be taken as well by the writer to ensure they do not present pieces that are wordy or use loose successive sentences. For purposes of making any writing piece interesting, the writer is supposed to aim at keeping words that are related together, expressing ideas that coordinate in the same manner and keeping to single tense summaries. In books last chapter, the approach to style is handled in a perspective that is broader. While the chapters preceding are guidelines that govern use of English as a grammatical language, the chapter is based on the authors’ experiences as a writer. In the chapter, there is no rigid framework for the aspiring writer to adhere to faithfully though it gives an idea of how they can evade writing habits that are poor on the basis of the authors’ experiences. In the book, Strunk and White fully acknowledge no perfect guide on the style of writing compositions exists as is the case with other works like poetry where sonnets refer to fourteen line poems.

In composition, style is the writer’s expression and the words are the means of communicating inner thoughts. Therefore, a composition has the capability of expressing the emotions of a writer like frustration and anger. Therefore, a good writer is supposed to draw the reader’s attention to the content before their emotions. It is clear that writing represents the writer’s identity.

Based on the authors’ experiences, writers are supposed to take care to place themselves in the background so as to write naturally and also aim at working with an ideal design. It is also crucial that writers must adhere to use of verbs and nouns rather than adverbs and adjectives, be able to rewrite and revise their work as well as void overstating and overwriting while writing and lastly, use orthodox language. The rules stated above are just some of the guidelines that need to be followed while writing though they cannot be stipulated as rigid. In conclusion, the writer is supposed to be in a position to write without making any grammatically errors and in a manner that entices the reader.


Works Cited

Strunk, William and White, B. Elwyn. The Elements of Style. New York: Ithaca, 1918.


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