5 Stars Out Of 5
October 3, 2014
The Elements of Style is classic if rather prescriptive about "the rules," but the authors developed the handbook in a college setting where clear rules serve everyday instruction of helping young people learn how to write clearly, concisely, and correctly (three of the five Cs). Even E. B. White observes, "Professor Strunk was a positive man. His book contains rules of grammar phrased as direct orders." The book directs writers' attention to "the text itself," which is always necessary, rather than to readers and their probable responses, which is also important. For a more rhetorical approach, considering both text and readers in audience-centered communication, many find that Joseph Williams' treatise Style is superior and just as instructional. Yet who would deny that basic rules serve readers, writers, and successful writing? Strunk wrote the rules in his first edition (1935), and White (his one-time student) improved the book in subsequent editions with emendations and "An Approach to Style" (chapter 5) describing his principles of composition, or, as he humbly claims, "setting forth my own prejudices, my notions of error, my articles of faith." Stunk's rules and White's articles make a concise classic, still explaining for all who would write the necessary conventions and principles. CBD offers the handbook at a low price. For all these reasons, I have equipped my college's writing center with this useful handbook, where we offer instruction, informed feedback, and critical dialogue for developing writers.