Cover image for The elements of style
The elements of style
Strunk, William, 1869-1946.
Personal Author:
Fourth edition.
Publication Information:
Boston : Allyn and Bacon, [2000]

Physical Description:
xviii, 105 pages ; 19 cm
General Note:
Includes index.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PE1408 .S787 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PE1408 .S787 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PE1408 .S787 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
PE1408 .S787 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PE1408 .S787 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PE1408 .S787 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PE1408 .S787 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PE1408 .S787 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PE1408 .S787 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



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. 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's unique tone, wit and charm have 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.

Author Notes

William Strunk Jr. was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on July 1, 1869. He received a bachelor's degree at the University of Cincinnati in 1890 and Ph.D. at Cornell University in 1896. He taught English at Cornell University for forty-six years. He wrote two books: The Elements of Style, which was later published under the title The Elements and Practice of Composition, and English Metres. He was also an editor and edited important works by such authors as William Shakespeare, John Dryden, and James Fenimore Cooper. He served as a literary consultant to the 1936 MGM film version of Romeo and Juliet. He died on September 26, 1946.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Anyone who writes and edits for a living (including librarians, naturally) is no stranger to William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White's classic writing manual, The Elements of Style. This "little book" barely makes the 100-page mark (even with a glossary and an index in the back), but it has influenced generations of writers since it was first released in 1959. The Elements of Style owes its status as much to the authors' sound advice as to the amusing anecdotes throughout. To commemorate its 50th anniversary this spring, Pearson is releasing a black leather-bound, gold-embossed reprint of the fourth edition from 2000 (pictured), which includes a new publisher's note outlining the book's history, along with quotes from celebrities like Dorothy Parker, Dan Rather, and Ben Affleck. An event to celebrate the occasion will be held on April 16th in New York City with a panel of writers and journalists. Cornell University's Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections (keepers of the papers of E.B. White) will host an exhibit in the Olin Library to coincide with the anniversary. The best-selling book about writing ever published (ten million copies and counting), The Elements of Style, in the now 30-year-old words of E.B. White, still stands "erect, resolute and assured," ready to conquer a new generation of writers synonymous with blogging, texting, facebooking, twittering, and other forms of how-fast-can-you-reach-me communication. And while we appreciate the opportunities those new forms of expression have afforded us, we can all benefit from not dressing up words by adding -ly "as though putting a hot on a horse"; overusing qualifiers like rather, very, and pretty that are like "leeches that infest the pond of prose, sucking the blood of words"; and writing nite for night or pleez for please in daily emails, unless we "plan to introduce a complete system of simplified spelling and are prepared to take the consequences." Libraries of all backgrounds owe it to every aspiring writer out there to invest in this sturdy new edition.-Mirela Roncevic, Reference Editor, LJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Forewordp. ix
Introductionp. xiii
I. Elementary Rules of Usagep. 1
1. Form the possessive singular of nouns by adding 'sp. 1
2. In a series of three or more terms with a single conjunction, use a comma after each term except the lastp. 2
3. Enclose parenthetic expressions between commasp. 2
4. Place a comma before a conjunction introducing an independent clausep. 5
5. Do not join independent clauses with a commap. 5
6. Do not break sentences in twop. 7
7. Use a colon after an independent clause to introduce a list of particulars, an appositive, an amplification, or an illustrative quotationp. 7
8. Use a dash to set off an abrupt break or interruption and to announce a long appositive or summaryp. 9
9. The number of the subject determines the number of the verbp. 9
10. Use the proper case of pronounp. 11
11. A participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence must refer to the grammatical subjectp. 13
II. Elementary Principles of Compositionp. 15
12. Choose a suitable design and hold to itp. 15
13. Make the paragraph the unit of compositionp. 15
14. Use the active voicep. 18
15. Put statements in positive formp. 19
16. Use definite, specific, concrete languagep. 21
17. Omit needless wordsp. 23
18. Avoid a succession of loose sentencesp. 25
19. Express coordinate ideas in similar formp. 26
20. Keep related words togetherp. 28
21. In summaries, keep to one tensep. 31
22. Place the emphatic words of a sentence at the endp. 32
III. A Few Matters of Formp. 34
IV. Words and Expressions Commonly Misusedp. 39
V. An Approach to Style (With a List of Reminders)p. 66
1. Place yourself in the backgroundp. 70
2. Write in a way that comes naturallyp. 70
3. Work from a suitable designp. 70
4. Write with nouns and verbsp. 71
5. Revise and rewritep. 72
6. Do not overwritep. 72
7. Do not overstatep. 73
8. Avoid the use of qualifiersp. 73
9. Do not affect a breezy mannerp. 73
10. Use orthodox spellingp. 74
11. Do not explain too muchp. 75
12. Do not construct awkward adverbsp. 75
13. Make sure the reader knows who is speakingp. 76
14. Avoid fancy wordsp. 76
15. Do not use dialect unless your ear is goodp. 78
16. Be clearp. 79
17. Do not inject opinionp. 79
18. Use figures of speech sparinglyp. 80
19. Do not take shortcuts at the cost of clarityp. 80
20. Avoid foreign languagesp. 81
21. Prefer the standard to the offbeatp. 81
Afterwordp. 87
Glossaryp. 89
Indexp. 97