Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace / Edition 10by Joseph M. Williams, Gregory G. Colomb
Pub. Date: 01/15/2010
Engaging and direct, Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace is the guidebook for anyone who wants to write well.Engaging and direct, Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace is the guidebook for anyone who wants to write well. See more details below
Engaging and direct, Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace is the guidebook for anyone who wants to write well.Engaging and direct, Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace is the guidebook for anyone who wants to write well.
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Table of Contents
Part 1 Style as Choice 1
Lesson 1 Understanding Style 2
Lesson 2 Correctness 10
Part 2 Clarity 27
Lesson 3 Actions 28
Lesson 4 Characters 46
Lesson 5 Cohesion and Coherence 66
Lesson 6 Emphasis 82
Part 3 Grace 99
Lesson 7 Concision 100
Lesson 8 Shape 118
Lesson 9 Elegance 140
Part 4 Clarity of Form 163
Lesson 10 Motivating Coherence 164
Lesson 11 Global Coherence 178
Part 5 Ethics 191
Lesson 12 The Ethics of Style 192
Appendix I Punctuation 209
Appendix II Using Sources 232
Suggested Answers 249
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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
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.
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.
Seventh Edition of this title is out and is not listed on this site. Be careful you don't purchase the wrong edition.
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.
Great book!!! Basic but helpful information.
A very useful book I wish I'd read earlier.