Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Elements of Style
The Elements of Style ("the little book" – 1918) is an American English writing style guide detailing seven elementary rules of usage, ten elementary principles of composition and a few matters of form and expressions described by prescriptivists as being commonly misused. The diminutive paperback book is often required reading for American college composition classes.
Originally written and privately published by Cornell University professor William Strunk Jr., it appeared on E. B. White's desk at The New Yorker in 1957. White studied under Strunk in 1919 but had forgotten the "little book," a "forty-three-page summation of the case for cleanliness, accuracy and brevity in the use of English." A few weeks later, he wrote a piece for The New Yorker lauding Professor Strunk and his devotion to lucid English prose. Macmillan and Company in 1957 commissioned White to recast a new edition of Elements of Style, which was published in 1959. White independently built on the 1919 parvum opus and created a modern reference book, which became the literary classic "Strunk & White."
Strunk's original version concentrated on specific questions of usage, cultivating what he considered good writing and avoiding prolixities: "Make every word tell." White updated and extended these sections and added an introductory essay and the conclusion, An Approach to Style, a broader guide to writing in English. A standard reference for American students and writers, updated editions of The Elements of Style followed in 1972, 1979, and 1999.
- "Buy it, study it, enjoy it. It's as timeless as a book can be in our age of volubility." New York Times
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