The Elements of Style (1920)

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THE

ELEMENTS OF STYLE

By WILLIAM STRUNK, Jr.

THE

ELEMENTS OF STYLE


BY

WILLIAM STRUNK, Jr.

PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH
IN
CORNELL UNIVERSITY



Harcourt, Brace and Co. logo (1922).png


NEW YORK

HARCOURT, BRACE AND COMPANY


CONTENTS

Page
I. Introductory 5
II. Elementary Rules of Usage 7
1. Form the possessive singular of nouns by adding ’s.
7
2. In a series of three or more terms with a single conjunction, use a comma after each term except the last
7
3. Enclose parenthetic expressions between commas
8
4. Place a comma before a conjunction introducing a co-ordinate clause
10
5. Do not join independent clauses by a comma
11
6. Do not break sentences in two
12
7. A participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence must refer to the grammatical subject
13
III. Elementary Principles of Composition 15
8. Make the paragraph the unit of composition: one paragraph to each topic
15
9. As a rule, begin each paragraph with a topic sentence; end it in conformity with the beginning
17
10. Use the active voice
19
11. Put statements in positive form
21
12. Use definite, specific, concrete language
22
13. Omit needless words
24
14. Avoid a succession of loose sentences
25
15. Express co-ordinate ideas in similar form
26
16. Keep related words together
28
17. In summaries, keep to one tense
29
18. Place the emphatic words of a sentence at the end
31
IV. A Few Matters of Form 33
V. Words and Expressions Commonly Misused 36
VI. Spelling 48
VII. Exercises on Chapters II and III 50


COPYRIGHT, 1918, 1919, BY
WILLIAM STRUNK, JR.

COPYRIGHT, 1920, BY
HARCOURT, BRACE AND HOWE, INC.

THE MAPLE PRESS YORK PA

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1926.


The author died in 1946, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.