Wednesday, May 6, 2009
In Defense of Strunk and White
I was going to let the fiftieth anniversary of Strunk and White's The Elements of Style slip by without comment, but then I stumbled on this article by Mark Garvey. As much as I enjoy Language Log's embrace of the complexity of English, I'm happy to see someone call Geoffrey Pullman on his disproportionate hatred of this slim writing handbook.
I have not used Elements of Style in a long time--my dip into the editing arena made me a Chicago Manual of Style girl (another book Language Log doesn't love)--but I still keep a copy on my shelf. I know there are better books on English grammar available. But for nervous writers just dipping a toe into the murky waters of English usage, there are very few volumes as concise, affordable, and (most importantly) non-scary as Elements of Style.
(Image from Better Know a Book.)