Steps On the Journey: The Elements of Style

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If you're a writer, this book is a must have. Not joking. If you're a writer and you don't own this, you need to go out and buy it today. Strunk and White's Elements of Style gives advice on active voice, sentence formation, commonly used words that would be better off unused and common mistakes made by writers. These tips, along with dozens of others, are packed tightly into a 100 page reference book. It's compact and easily tucked into your laptop case or satchel. My copy is the fourth edition. One of the most helpful parts for me is the section on omitting unnecessary words. I have a tendency to be a bit verbose sometimes (you hadn't noticed, right? Right? ) and the book shows the before and after of omitting words you don't need. I learn very well by example, so this section was very useful. Also, the section on misused words and expressions was more informative than I'm comfortable admitting! Here's an example: One In the sense of "a person," not to be followed by his or her. Wrong: One must watch his step. Right: One must watch one's step. Honestly, who hasn't made a mistake like that? It happens all the time. Recommendation: This book is a must have for all writers, regardless of genre or form. Whether you write fiction, non-fiction, blog posts, forum postings, advertising copy, or anything else, if you only have one book in your arsenal (but you should have lots more!), it should be this one!

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Bryce
    February 27, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    I agree. I finally picked up a copy a couple of months ago, and it’s well worth the time and money to study it.

  • Reply
    Haley
    February 28, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    I’ll third that. It’s one book that I’ve heard recommended over and over again for many years. In journalism and in fiction writing.

    Now to dig out my copy… It’s here somewhere…

  • Reply
    Kevin Grieves
    February 29, 2008 at 9:02 am

    I couldn’t agree more, this slim volume is a ‘must have’ for writers, along with Baker’s The Practical Stylist, and Bruffee’s Short Course in Writing. All three of these were recommended to me by a friend, to whom I remain eternally grateful.

  • Reply
    Jeff iversen
    March 3, 2008 at 2:03 am

    Thanks for the recommendation! I will pick it up this week. I tend to be a little verbose too.

  • Reply
    StanHayes
    March 4, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    Its pages are worn, its corners are bent; the best book I own. And I still start sentences with “and.” Natch!

  • Reply
    Tyler McBride
    March 5, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    I couldn’t agree more! Every time I start making stupid mistakes in my writing, I know it’s time to re-read “The Elements of Style.”

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