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The Elements of Style / Edition 4

The Elements of Style / Edition 4

by William Strunk, E. B. White
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Unabridged value reproduction of The Elements of Style is the definitive text and classic manual on the principles of English language read by millions of readers. The 18 main topics are organized under the several headings, “Elementary Rules of Usage,” “Elementary Principles of Composition,” “Words and Expressions Commonly Misused,” and others.

Quotes on usage and composition from this book include the oft heard phrases, “Omit needless words,” and “Use the active voice.”

This is the first edition from 1918 created by Strunk alone, before Strunk’s revision and reprinting in 1920, and before the revised editions by E.B. White in 1959 and forward.

Now this book is offered in an unabridged, affordably printed volume.




1. Form the possessive singular of nouns with ’s. 3

2. In a series of three or more terms with a single conjunction, use a comma after each term except the last. 4

3. Enclose parenthetic expressions between commas. 4

4. Place a comma before and or but introducing an independent clause. 6

5. Do not join independent clauses by a comma. 7

6. Do not break sentences in two. 8

7. A participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence must refer to the grammatical subject. 8

8. Divide words at line-ends, in accordance with their formation and pronunciation. 9


9. Make the paragraph the unit of composition: one paragraph to each topic. 10

10. As a rule, begin each paragraph with a topic sentence, end it in conformity with the beginning. 11

11. Use the active voice. 14

12. Put statements in positive form. 16

13. Omit needless words. 17

14. Avoid a succession of loose sentences. 18

15. Express co-ordinate ideas in similar form. 19

16. Keep related words together. 20

17. In summaries, keep to one tense. 22

18. Place the emphatic words of a sentence at the end. 22




Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780205309023
Publisher: Pearson
Publication date: 05/29/2019
Series: Elements of Style
Edition description: Subsequent
Pages: 128
Sales rank: 4,704
Product dimensions: 4.50(w) x 7.02(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

William Strunk, Jr. first used his own book, The Elements of Style, in 1919 for his English 8 course at Cornell University. The book was published in 1935 by Oliver Strunk.

E. B. White was a student in Professor Strunk's class at Cornell, and used "the little book" for himself. Commissioned by Macmillan to revise Strunk's book, White edited the 1959 and 1972 editions of The Elements of Style.

Table of Contents




1.Form the Possessive Singular of Nouns by Adding 's.

2.In a Series of Three or More Terms with a Single Conjunction, Use a Comma after Each Term except the Last.

3.Enclose Parenthetic Expressions between Commas.

4.Place a Comma before a Conjunction Introducing an Independent Clause.

5.Do Not Join Independent Clauses with a Comma.

6.Do Not Break Sentences in Two.

7.Use a Colon after an Independent Clause to Introduce a List of Particulars, an Appositive, an Amplification, or an Illustrative Question.

8.Use a Dash to Set Off an Abrupt Break or Interruption and to Announce a Long Appositive or Summary.

9.The Number of the Subject Determines the Number of the Verb.

10.Use the Proper Case of Pronoun.

11.A Participial Phrase at the Beginning of the Sentence Must Refer to the Grammatical Subject.


12.Choose a Suitable Sesign and Hold to It.

13.Make the Paragraph the unit of Composition.

14.Use the Active Voice.

15.Put Statements in Positive Form.

16.Use Definite, Specific, Concrete Language.

17.Omit Needless Words.

18.Avoid a Succession of Loose Sentences.

19.Express Coordinate Ideas in Similar Form.

20.Keep Related Words Together.

21.In Summaries, Keep to One Tense.

22.Place the Emphatic Words of a Sentence at the End.




1.Place Yourself in the Background.

2.Write in a Way That Comes Naturally.

3.Work From a Suitable Style.

4.Write with Nouns and Verbs.

5.Revise and Rewrite.

6.Do Not Overwrite.

7.Do Not Overstate.

8.Avoid the Use of Qualifiers.

9.Do Not Affect a Breezy Manner.

10.Use Orthodox Spelling.

11.Do Not Explain Too Much.

12.Do Not Construct Awkward Adverbs.

13.Make Sure the Reader Knows Who is Speaking.

14.Avoid Fancy Words.

15.Do Not Use Dialect Unless Your Ear Is Good.

16.Be Clear.

17.Do Not Inject Opinion.

18.Use Figures of Speech Sparingly.

19.Do Not Take Shortcuts at the Cost of Clarity.

20.Avoid Foreign Languages.

21.Prefer the Standard to the Offbeat.



What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"So friendly, so classic, so delightful . . . Kalman has taken 'the little book' and made it even more elegant and uplifting."
-Los Angeles Times

"While The Elements of Style has never lacked fans or dutiful adherents, appreciation for this slim volume has taken a turn toward the whimsical and even surreal."
-The New York Times

"The pictures are playful and subtle, which suits the spirit of this beloved bestseller."
-USA Today

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The Elements of Style 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 109 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A quick glance at the foreword makes me wonder if they should have left the 'little book' alone after the third edition. Here are a few gems from the foreword -- 2nd para: 'Less frequent practitioners - the job applicant; the business executive .. ; the high school senior .. ; the graduate-school student .. ; the writer ..' ---> Rule 2. In a series of three or more terms .., use a comma after each term except the last. -- 3rd para: 'It was this recurring question, put to himself, that must have inspired White to revive and add to a textbook by an English professor of his, Will Strunk Jr., that he had first read in college, and to get it published.' ---> Rule 20. Keep related words together. -- 3rd para: 'The result, this quiet book ..' ---> Will Strunk's a quiet book? Omit needless words! Use the active voice! ..
Shakespearean More than 1 year ago
I am a writing teacher, and I have used several different grammar books. The Elements of Style is the easiest book to use in a writing class for both teachers and students alike. It is short and concise - so much so that students are not intimidated by what they are learning. Many of my students have actually enjoyed reading the book, as it is both informational and witty. I have heard many students say, "I wish I had this book earlier in my writing career." I second that!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Elements of Style is one of the most important books that I own. Although I'm out of college, I refer to it again and again. Even if I'm not correcting grammar or punctuation, I'll still open the book to see what beautiful writing looks like. The writing is so darn clear that I often joke, 'If God wanted someone to teach Jesus how to write, God would have hired Strunk and White.' The last chapter deals with writing and how to craft one's own voice. This is valuable for everyone, and although Elements isn't a 'how to' book on fiction writing, I've found S&W's advice to be sound while working on novels and short stories. Keep this book in your coat pocket. Study it at red lights or on the subway. This book is timeless.
TGJOWH More than 1 year ago
This is a great little book. All I can suggest is that you pick one up. It's the best ten dollars you'll ever spend on a writing book. And I just want to refute some of the past reviews. This version DOES include the E.B. White addendum "An Approach to Style."
Trout More than 1 year ago
The Elements of Style is a classic. Period. It is used around the US by professionals, and English Lit. educators. I bought mine after seeing so many grammar experts carrying it around. I am not a grammar expert, but am hoping to improve.
readersreader More than 1 year ago
I teach high school English. I recommend this book to all students struggling with grammar. It is compact, well-organized, and very thorough. Though part one is mostly grammar the other parts will help aid writers. I even have created a poster from one of the tips presented in the book. "Avoid the elaborate,t he pretentious, the coy, and the cute. Do not be temped by a twenty-dollar word when there is a ten-center handy, ready and able." There are tons of gems just like this one.
womenrock More than 1 year ago
Essential tool for anyone interested in putting out the best of his/her craft.
its4me More than 1 year ago
Great for extra assistance, refresher, or spot checking trouble areas!
Trampolina More than 1 year ago
I am a technical writer by trade but this book is indispensable for anyone doing any type of formal writing. Students will be able to carry it with them into the professional realm - teaching to write succinctly is important to any writing. Not a compelling mystery novel, just a very useful tool for writing - I bought this for a Chinese national who wanted to improved her writing in English.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Strunk and White's "The Elements of Style" has for years been a go-to book for writers of all kinds. It covers most of the grammatical and punctuation issues that you may have learned in school, but have long since forgotten, or perhaps those issues that you never learned in the first place. This is an excellent resource for graduating seniors who are either faced with writing papers in college, or faced with navigating a world that increasingly knows little grammar or punctuation that don't fit in a "tweet". Writing is one of our last bastions of "civilization", and we need to nurture it. "The Elements of Style" will go a long way toward educating you, or your gift receiver, in the ways of the written word.
Ferguson More than 1 year ago
The book was more than helpful in the preparation of writing my college essays. Easy to read and well organized.
paradi9m More than 1 year ago
a necessary purchase for all college-bound; a veritable how-to of essay-writing.
theoldergraduate More than 1 year ago
I was informed that this would be a good book to improve me writing and the information was correct. There is so much information about writng in this small book it is astounding. I would recommend this book to any one that wants to improve their writing skills
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book for summer homework, and it was so funny and helpful. i learned so much. This little book changed the elements of my life!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a book about style -- that is, the style of the author's voice. Not about grammar, punctuation, initialization, et cetera (although it includes elements of those). Read it for its strengths, not its limitations, and you will be happy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Every serious writer--at any experience level--should have a copy of this classic, immensely useful reference book. Compact, yet filled with information, Strunk & White's ELEMENTS OF STYLE is one writer's reference tool that will never go out of fashion. (For a list of additional must-have writing books, visit the Resources page at WriteWayPro's website.)
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a required textbook for all freshman English students at Cornell in 1944. Forget "since 1959"
Guest More than 1 year ago
No writer should be without this. If you purchase 1 writing book this should be it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had forgotten what a treasure this little book is. This updated edition is essential for students and seasoned writers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bare none, this book is the #1 book for all writers to have. A must buy and a keeper for years to come
Guest More than 1 year ago
This concise and helpful volume brings back simple joy in researching the questions of style,punctuation and grammar that arise in everyday writing. With the new glossary of grammar terms, my only cause for reservation has been removed.
kayceel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fantastic resource: simple yet exhaustive, in the best sense of the word. A must-have, must-read, must-consult-often for any writer.
JennGauthier on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I firmly believe that everyone who plans to attend school past the ninth grade needs to own a copy of this book, and read it cover to cover at least once. It's not exactly a gripping read, but so many common mistakes could be avoided if the general public would at least skim this classic work. And really, it's not as boring as you would think. In fact, some parts are downright amusing.
tinapickles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A must have for any who consider themselves or aspire to be a writer... even those who wish to write "creatively" should know Strunk and White's rules by heart before they set about breaking them in the name of art.
tyroeternal on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Elements of Style is an invaluable reference to anyone who writes (everyone). Revisit it often and you will see its secrets permeate your writing. At 100 pages it fits in anyone's reading schedule and bookshelf.