The Elements of Style is an American English writing style guide written by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White. I remember having read the book back in college during the time when I was struggling to improve my grammar and writing skills. I can say that the book had helped me a lot. It’s golden rule, ‘Omit needless words,’ remains with me and I always try to do just that whenever I write.
Over time, people tend to learn new things and forget old ones. I’m one of those who forget things after a while. I was in the middle of a writing task when I suddenly remembered the book and thought of revisiting its pages and reviewing its grammar and writing rules again. I immediately searched for an e-book copy online and I was glad to have found one in no time. It was in 4th Edition and authored by Oliver Strunk.
The Elements of Style, 4th Edition still has all the teachings of the two grammarians but with additional notes and key points from the new author. It’s in an Adobe file and has 87 pages. I read it with gusto and tried to grasp as much knowledge as I could. Here’s one rule that I’ve always known but never gotten around to using:
Form the possessive singular of nouns by adding ‘s. Follow this rule whatever the final consonant. Thus write,
the witch’s malice
I dunno but I have never followed this rule even if I knew it by heart. Perhaps, it’s because almost everyone I know doesn’t follow this rule, either. I had been afraid to prove my point, and so I just went with the flow. Which was utterly wrong, but acceptable. I have decided that from now on, I’ll follow this rule when I’m writing formal letters and forget about it when I’m doing informal writing, like when I’m blogging. Sounds fair, right?
How about you, have you read The Elements of Style? What’s your favorite writing rule?
P.S. If you want a copy of the book, just lemme know through the comment section and I’ll be more than willing to send you an e-book copy.