Style : Ten Lessons in Clarity (Canadian) / Edition 1

Style : Ten Lessons in Clarity (Canadian) / Edition 1

4.5 11
by Joseph Williams, Ira Nadel

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ISBN-10: 0321248090

ISBN-13: 9780321248091

Pub. Date: 02/28/2005

Publisher: Pearson Education Canada

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Pearson Education Canada
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Style 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 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
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.