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The Elements of Style: Fiftieth Anniversary Edition / Edition 50

The Elements of Style: Fiftieth Anniversary Edition / Edition 50

3.5 63
by William Strunk, E. B. White

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ISBN-10: 0205632645

ISBN-13: 9780205632640

Pub. Date: 10/29/2008

Publisher: Longman

You know the authors’ names. You recognize the title. You've probably used this book yourself. And now The Elements of Style–the most widely read and employed English style manual–is available in a specially bound 50th Anniversary Edition that offers the title's vast audience an opportunity to own a more durable and elegantly


You know the authors’ names. You recognize the title. You've probably used this book yourself. And now The Elements of Style–the most widely read and employed English style manual–is available in a specially bound 50th Anniversary Edition that offers the title's vast audience an opportunity to own a more durable and elegantly bound edition of this time-tested classic.

Offering the same content as the Fourth Edition, revised in 1999, the new casebound 50th Anniversary Edition includes a brief overview of the book's illustrious history. Used extensively by individual writers as well as high school and college students of writing, it has conveyed the principles of English style to millions of readers. This new deluxe edition makes the perfect gift for writers of any age and ability level.

Fifty Years of Acclaim for The Elements of Style, by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White

“I first read Elements of Style during the summer before I went off to Exeter, and I still direct my students at Harvard to their definition about the difference between 'that' and 'which.' It is the Bible for good, clear writing.”

-- Henry Louis Gates Jr.

“For writers of all kinds and sizes the world begins and ends with Strunk and White’s Elements of Style. Only something to actually write about trumps the list of what is required to put words together in some kind of coherent way. I treasure its presence in my life and salute its fifty years of glory and accomplishment.”

-- Jim Lehrer

The Elements of Style remains an unwavering beacon of light in these grammatically troubled times. I would be lost without it.”

-- Ann Patchett

"To the extent I know how to write clearly at all, I probably taught myself while I was teaching others -- seventh graders, in Flint, Michigan, in 1967. I taught them with a copy of Strunk & White lying in full view on my desk, sort of in the way the Gideons leave Bibles in cheap hotel rooms, as a way of saying to the hapless inhabitant: ‘In case your reckless ways should strand you here, there's help.’ S&W doesn't really teach you how to write, it just tantalizingly reminds you that there's an orderly way to go about it, that clarity's ever your ideal, but -- really -- it's all going to be up to you."

-- Richard Ford

The Elements of Style never seems to go out of date. Its counsel is sound and funny, wise and unpretentious. And while its precepts are a foundation of direct communication, Strunk and White do not insist on a way of writing beyond clear expression. The rest is up to the imagination, the intelligence within.”

-- David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker

“It’s the toughness–the irreverence and implicit laughter–that attracted me to the little book when I was seventeen. I fell in love with Strunk & White’s loathing for cant and bloviation, the ruthless cutting of crap, jargon, and extra words. For me, that skeptical directness included a tacit permission by The Elements of Style to break its rules on occasion: an alloy of generosity in the blade, a grace I still admire and still learn from.”

-- Robert Pinsky

“In the quest for clarity, one can have no better guides than Strunk and White. For me, their book has been invaluable and remains essential.”

-- Dan Rather

"Eschew surplusage! A perfect book."

--Jonathan Lethem

"Not until I started teaching writing and I reread The Elements of Style did I realize that

most everything I would be teaching young writers, and everything I would be learning myself as a writer, was contained between the covers of this slim, elegant, wise little book."

-- Julia Alvarez

“Strunk and White seared their way into my brain long ago, and I benefit from them daily.”

-- Steven J. Dubner, co-author of Freakonomics

“Since high school, I have kept a copy of this book handy. That should be unnecessary. I should, by now, have fully internalized The Elements of Style. But sometimes I get entangled in a paragraph that refuses to be ‘clear, brief, bold.’ I dip back into The Elements of Style and am refreshed.

After Scott Simon interviewed me on NPR about whether the word ‘e-mail’ needs a hyphen (yes, it does), some listeners, including friends of mine, wondered why I had answered in the affirmative when asked, in passing, ‘Are you a drunken white man?’ Those listeners misheard. ‘Strunk and White man’ was what Scott said.”

-- Roy Blount Jr.

“Strunk & White--writing's good-natured law firm--still contains enough sparkling good sense to clean up the whole bloviating blogosphere."

-- Thomas Mallon

“I used Strunk -- that’s what we called it, Strunk -- as a student at Berkeley fifty years ago. I didn't know that it was new, and that we were the first generation to be educated in The Elements of Style. I got a firm foundation in the English language, learned to write basically, and could depict the realistic world. Then I was able to become an impressionist and expressionist.”

-- Maxine Hong Kingston

“Strunk and White's gigantic little book must be the most readable advice on writing ever written. Side by side with Roget, Shakespeare, the Bible, and a dictionary, it's an essential for every writer's shelf.”

-- X.J. Kennedy

“With what joy I welcome the fiftieth anniversary of The Elements of Style. I am greatly indebted to this book for the invaluable help it has given me all these years.”

-- Horton Foote

“Elegant, droll, and perfectly proportioned, and like your favorite aunt, strict but affectionate. And, like your favorite aunt, full of optimism: You can, and will, be a better writer! There has never been a better, briefer, or more loved book about the art and craft of communicating.”

-- Susan Orlean

“This book is an essential tool. It has been of great use to me and is probably responsible for my best writing. I owe my success to Strunk and White; only the mistakes are mine.”

-- Ben Affleck, in O, the Oprah Magazine

“This book is a wonderful example of teaching by example. Not only does it recommend clear and concise writing, it demonstrates it. Written in the style of a friend offering help, it is a godsend to anyone wanting to put words on paper. Thank you, Messieurs Strunk and White. And Happy Anniversary, Elements of Style.”

-- S.E. Hinton

“When I began to have ... I wouldn't say arguments but conversations in my mind with Strunk and White about a few of their rules and principles, I knew I was coming into my own. If only they were still here to talk things over! No doubt their side of the exchange would be kindly put, well-informed, and wise. They'd probably help me with my side of it. What more could one want from writers reaching out to help other writers?”

-- Barbara Wallraff, language columnist for The Atlantic

“I don't believe there is a serious writer alive who doesn't have a worn copy of ‘Strunk & White’on his or her bookshelf.”

-- Mignon Fogarty, author of Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing

“This little book has inspired hundreds of thousands of people to write better — partly by precept and partly by example. It continues to influence more writers than any other. It’s a force for good in the world.”

-- Bryan A. Garner, author of Garner’s Modern American Usage

“I can think of no better guide to good writing, and I always think of this little classic with a warm heart. More importantly, I revisit its pages often. It's the one essential book on writing."

-- Jay Parini, author of Why Poetry Matters

“Clarity and simplicity have always been the goals, and this book shows the way. It has always been a lighthouse in the dark and stormy night of student prose, of all of our prose.”

-- Ron Carlson

“The only rules you are ever going to get from me are all in Strunk and White.”

--Ursula K. Le Guin, from Steering the Craft

“[The Elements of Style is] a book to which I return from time to time, the way I periodically reread Shakespeare. I always discover something new, settle a question that has been puzzling me, or learn a principle of usage that I have been pretending to know, a pretense that has resulted in inconsistency and in the sort of errors from which I can only pray some saintly copy editor will save me.”

-- Francine Prose, from Reading Like A Writer

“…still a little book, small enough and important enough to carry in your pocket, as I carry mine.”

-- Charles Osgood

“Almost every writer has a Strunk and White story. One journalism professor spends the first two weeks of school forcing his students to memorize the book. A top editor at a major paper buys copies at yard sales to distribute to her writers and interns. It has even caused love affairs. . . . Could its greatness be any more clear?”

-- Jesse Sheidlower, American Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, on NPR

“If the English language is one of the finest homes ever devised for the human spirit, Elements is the best guided house tour we’ve got.”

--David Gelernter, The Wall Street Journal

“…Should be the daily companion of anyone who writes for a living and, for that matter, anyone who writes at all.”

--Jonathan Yardley, Greensboro (N.C.) Daily News

“No book in shorter space, with fewer words, will help any writer more than this persistent little volume.”

-- Herbert A. Kenny, The Boston Globe

“Buy it, study it, enjoy it. It’s as timeless as a book can be in our age of volubility.”

-- Charles Poore, The New York Times

“White is one of the best stylists and most lucid minds in this country. What he says and his way of saying it are equally rewarding.”

-- Edmund Fuller, The Wall Street Journal

“If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.”

-- Dorothy Parker, Esquire

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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 Design 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.



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The Elements of Style 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 63 reviews.
clstearns More than 1 year ago
This book DOES NOT include the addendum by E.B. White, "An Approach to Style," even though the description includes it in the contents listing.
fluffypiranha More than 1 year ago
I should have had a closer look at the contents. It's a handy guide to have with you always. I was hoping to replace my paperback copy but that will remain on my bookshelf. This is only Strunk's section. The original basic "little book". It is still a very useful guide.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was originally published a gazillion years ago. B&N needs to provide complete publication information, including such really important things as the Edition number. Publication date does not really tell one anything as it could be a reprinting or the date a really old book was published as an eBook.
revbranwen More than 1 year ago
The Elements of Style is a "must" for writers. It is informative, highly readable, and witty. This scan is a major disappointment. Entire words and lines are missing, and there are misspellings galore. All this adds up to frustration and confusion. Explore paid options, or buy the book -- as a book.
catburglar More than 1 year ago
An outstanding manual of style for writers of essays or books, fact or fiction; well-written; easy to follow; unfortunately no index
HaleAna More than 1 year ago
This is the best book ever on writing. It remains at the top for a reason. Wonderful for everybody, not just teachers and students. I have both print and Nook editions of this.
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sensiblycrazy More than 1 year ago
I know the book and is great, but this B&N scans are awful. better get it somewhere else
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