Share Thoughts about writing from William Strunk and E. B. White's little book The Elements of Style. Thanks! Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a...

Share Thoughts about writing from William Strunk and E. B. White's little book The Elements of Style. Thanks!

Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.

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jseligmann eNotes educator| Certified Educator

For many of us who write, and for the teachers among us who teach writing, The Elements of Style is the Bible. In a time when so many of the words that come to us arrive through the wild world of the vast electronic media, where communication is often trite, absurdly abbreviated, and downright incompressible and purposely confusing, it is essential to know what bedrock is, what the time-honored, correct standards are.

It's fine to be all original and creative and devil-may-care about how one communicates with others, but it is also important to know the rules before you dare, for whatever reason, to break them.

Even some of the greatest, bizarrely abstract modern artists started out learning and knowing how to simply and accurately draw a hand or a head. Likewise, all good writers should know how to use words properly, how to construct concise, meaningful sentences, and know how to use those sentences to construct paragraphs and larger verbal works that communicate precisely what one wants to impart.

Think of writing as a machine for getting across ideas. The Elements of Style is the book that lays out the basics of machinery. The nuts and bolds, the wires and gears. Take it to heart; you will not be sorry.

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The Elements of Style

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