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Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace / Edition 12

Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace / Edition 12

by Joseph M. Williams, Joseph Bizup
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For courses in English and Writing.

Emphasizes the importance of style in writing for a global audience

Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace asserts that style is a matter of making informed choices in the service of one’s readers. While writers know best what they want to say, readers ultimately decide if they’ve said it well. This flagship text builds on that premise, with updates on subjects such as gender-neutral writing and writing for global audiences. It brings the authors’ innovative approach to the needs of today’s students, while maintaining that writing with style is a civic and ethical virtue.

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Pearson Writer is a revolutionary digital tool for writers at all levels. Built for mobile devices, it streamlines the tedious and time-consuming aspects of writing, so that students can focus on developing their ideas.

Pearson Writer makes it easy to stay organized, track tasks, and stay on top of writing projects. Students can set milestones prior to the due date, manage their sources, organize their notes visually in the Notebook, and even get automatic feedback on their prose. Pearson Writer is now available with Noteclipper, which allows students to save online sources quickly and easily.

Features of Pearson Writer:

  • Writing, Grammar, and Research Guide is a go-to resource any time students have a question or need help.
  • Automatic Writing Review checks prose for possible spelling, grammar, and style errors, while offering grammar lessons and suggestions for revising and editing.
  • Citation Generator keeps track of every source throughout students’ research process and builds a bibliography in the background, taking care of those formatting details.
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  • Project Manager and Notebook help students stay on top of multiple projects and make organizing ideas and sources less cumbersome.

Note: You are purchasing a standalone product; Pearson Writer does not come packaged with this content. Students, if interested in purchasing this title with Pearson Writer, ask your instructor for the correct package ISBN and Course ID. Instructors, contact your Pearson representative for more information.

If you would like to purchase both the physical text and Pearson Writer, search for:

013415083X / 9780134150833 Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace Plus Pearson Writer — Access Card Package

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  • 0134080416 / 9780134080413 Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780134080413
Publisher: Pearson
Publication date: 01/18/2016
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 190,611
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents


1. Understanding Style

2. Correctness


3. Actions

4. Characters

5. Cohesion and Coherence

6. Emphasis


7. Motivation

8. Global Coherence


9. Concision

10. Shape

11. Elegance


12. The Ethics of Style

Appendix I: Punctuation

Appendix II: Using Sources


Suggested Answers



Customer Reviews

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Style 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
C_J_SINGH More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by C J Singh (Berkeley, California)

Even a brief browsing of Joseph Williams's STYLE: LESSONS IN CLARITY AND GRACE, ninth edition, would persuade most readers that it makes the much touted Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style" look, well, elementary. Simplistic. If the seductively slender "Elements"--easily read in a day, no exercises to do--could deliver its claim, by the end of the day there'd be millions of excellent writers. Besides, Williams shows how Strunk & White flout their own advice to "omit unnecessary words": he edits their 199-word paragraph to just 51 words (Williams, pp. 126-28). Williams shows grace in conceding that "in boiling down that original paragraph to a quarter of its original length, I've bleached out its garrulous charm."

In his preface to the 289-page book, Williams urges the reader to "go slowly" as it's "not an amiable essay to read in a sitting or two.... Do the exercises, edit someone else's writing, then some of your own written a few weeks ago, then something you wrote that day."

I assigned STYLE as the main textbook in Advanced Editorial Workshop, a ten-week course, I taught at the University of California. Each term, students rated the book as excellent. (The prerequisite to the workshop was a review course, with the main textbook "The Harbrace College Handbook." Although STYLE includes a 32-page appendix summarizing punctuation rules and grammar, most readers would be well-advised to review a standard college handbook, such as Harbrace or Bedford.

Let's not forget that this is a text- and work-book -- occasional pedagogic tone is to be expected. On the whole, the author's voice sounds earnest, refreshingly honest: Commenting on what's new in the ninth edition: "Finally, I've also done a lot of line editing. After twenty-five years of revising this book, you'd think by this time I'd have it right, but there always seem to be sentences that make me slap my forehead, wondering how I could have written them."

His expository style is clear. An example: Introducing the concepts of cohesion and coherence, Williams writes, "We judge sequences of sentences to be cohesive depending on how each sentence ends and the next begins. We judge a whole passage to be coherent depending on how all the sentences in a passage cumulatively begin. . . . It's easy to confuse the words cohesion and coherence because they sound alike. Think of cohesion as pairs of sentences fitting together the way two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle do. Think of coherence as seeing what all the sentences in a piece of writing add up to, the way all the pieces in a puzzle add up to the picture on the box."

-- C J Singh
semiller on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This style of writing should be taught anywhere and everywhere. Some may struggle to grasp the power of this form because they have been instructed in a more traditional style that has a tendency to fail incensantly at getting to the point. Williams eliminates that tendency and in doing so esentially says that what we are writing is more important that how we are writing it. Think Hemingway: simple prose.
jcopenha on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very technical book on writing. I loved the first 8 lessons, the last two were complicated. The model of a sentence that he builds up in the first 7 lessons is great and I'll probably make a small diagram of it to post next to my desk. It also includes many great lessons at the end of each chapter. I am now armed with enough information to improve my writing. Wish me luck.
marikolee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book did an excellent job providing examples of poor writing and providing exercises in how to fix those problems. The section on clarity was enlightening and well organized. It can be difficult to take on such a challenging topic as style because style has so many different components. Often, a student's writing contains multiple stylistic problems in a single paragraph. Given these problems, it's easy for a professor to throw up their hands and say, "Style is something you either have or don't. I can't teach it (and I like the students who naturally have style more than the others)." Given the difficulty of the topic, I applaud Joseph Williams for attempting to identify what is helpful and what is confusing when writing English prose. That said, I must warn readers that the book assumes that the reader knows the basics of English grammar. I already knew how to identify the subject and object of a sentence and whether a sentence was passive or active. Without this prior knowledge, I probably would have been completely lost when reading this book. William's book provides a good organizational structure and provides many useful examples to help students tackle this challenging aspect of writing. When Williams discusses clarity, he talks about action, characters, cohesion & coherence, and emphasis. This was a good ordering. While many professors tell students to use active verbs, Williams was the first to discuss the topic of nominalization of verbs and adjectives. Nominalization is when a verb or adjective is changed into a noun. For example, 'decide' becomes 'decision.' Persistent nominalization saps writing of its energy, but can be difficult for students to understand and diagnose on their own. Williams also discusses the importance of keeping characters consistent in a paragraph. This discussion helps students understand the link between writing and attention. It also helps students understand when the use of the passive voice is appropriate and when it is distracting. I admire Williams's focus on logic and problem solving when talking about writing. Writing, particularly at the level of a school essay, can be graded as rigorously and objectively as a mathematical problem set. Unfortunately, few teachers have the time or energy to articulate what skills they want students to demonstrate in their essays. I appreciate Williams's attempt to identify the skills and features that are often the hallmark of clear writing.
foxglove on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the worst "manuals of style" I've ever encountered. Clarity and grace? This man absolutely butchers some of his examples. Also poorly organized and indexed.
Prydwen805 More than 1 year ago
This is the one book on writing that writers recommend to each other, and with good reason. Any one of the chapters will improve your readability the first time you use it. I've been teaching writing for 17 years, and i still refer to it.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I read the first edition back in 1981 as a first year judicial clerk/lawyer and it accelerated the improvement of the quality of my writing skill--to my great relief. It remains worthy of being the first book for professional writers to reach for to clear their heads and express their thoughts clearly.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Seventh Edition of this title is out and is not listed on this site. Be careful you don't purchase the wrong edition.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this (short) book is a must for any writer, whether fiction, nonfiction or academic. the ten lessons help to make your sentences easier to read and understand.
Lizzard777 More than 1 year ago
Great book!!! Basic but helpful information.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A very useful book I wish I'd read earlier.