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Review: The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr.

Book Review: The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr.

“This style manual offers practical advice on improving writing skills. Throughout, the emphasis is on promoting a plain English style. This little book can help you communicate more effectively by showing you how to enliven your sentences.”

Book Review: The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr.

What I thought:

Hurrah for the first book review of the newly refurbished CookieBreak! *throws confetti* I thought what better book to introduce the new Book Reviews category* than with this handy little guide? It’s a ‘classic’, after all. Sooner or later, someone will recommend this to you. It’s a crime I haven’t read it sooner, tbh.

You won’t hear me say this ever again, but I took a highlighter to this book. I’d never dream of doing that to any other book, but it seemed appropriate with this one.

While some rules around punctuation and grammar have developed alongside language, The Elements of Style still covers all your basics. AND it’s tiny, so it will fit on your shelf no matter how full it is.

It’s a great addition for writers as well as editors. For editors, it’s a handy guide if you need a quick reminder of something. For writers, it’s a good idea to learn the basics of style, but I’m not sure I’d call it a beginner’s guide.

Just don’t expect more than that–most points have examples but explanations are rare, so you’ll learn what to do or not to do, but not necessarily why. Strunk has cut all the fluff, so this really is just a rule book with some examples and a list of commonly misspelled words.

Be aware that some rules may have changed over the years (this baby was first published in 1918), but most of it is still relevant today. If in doubt, do more research (I recommend The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation – it’s an excellent online resource) or let your editor handle it. And please don’t see its age as an excuse not to follow the rules–some things have changed, but for the most part it’s still good to adhere to the points in this book.

If you’d like detailed explanations, you won’t find them here. If you want to brush up on your basic grammar or would like a reminder here and there, this is perfect.

*In case you missed it–I no longer review fiction on this blog. For my fiction reviews, head to Goodreads.

Buy The Elements of Style on Amazon

You might also like:

Book Review: The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. | Further reading: Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss

Book Review: The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. | Further reading: Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King


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