What are the main things I should know about The Elements of Style by E.B. White and Professor Strunk?specifically in chapters 3 and 4

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wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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It's probably important to know that, while this little book is the primer for all Fresman English class, it is almost 100 years old (1918).   Once it served as a reference book for proper grammar, its popularity is based on its guidance for essay composition more than its actual style tips (strong verbs, keep words together, etc.).  Much of the guidance in Ch. 3 has been updated by enotes ESSAY LAB.  If we bear in mind that books are practically outdated now, a reader of Strunk and White should ask if 19th century rulebooks are still relevant. The way our language works, its grammar, is nicely encapsulated in this book, but, in terms of style, a new writer of prose nonfiction might do well to at least question the advice of Ch.3--plus, since 1918 several "rules" have softened, notably using "they" and "them" as singular pronouns to avoid such awkwardness as "he or she." Finally, visual rhetoric has taken a place in argument, a subject not touched on in this book.

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