An Approach to Style (With a List of Reminders)

UP TO this point, the book has been concerned with what is correct, or acceptable, in the use of English. In this final chapter, we approach style in its broader meaning: style in the sense of what is distinguished and distinguishing. Here we leave solid ground. Who can confidently say what ignites a certain combination … Continue reading An Approach to Style (With a List of Reminders)


adjectival modifier A word, phrase, or clause that acts as an adjective in qualifying the meaning of a noun or pronoun, Your country; a turn-of-the-century style; people who are always late. adjective A word that modifies, quantifies, or otherwise describes a noun or pronoun. Drizzly November; midnight dreary; only requirement. adverb A word that modifies … Continue reading Glossary


WILL STRUNK and E. B. White were unique collaborators. Unlike Gilbert and Sullivan, or Woodward and Bernstein, they worked separately and decades apart. We have no way of knowing whether Professor Strunk took particular notice of Elwyn Brooks White, a student of his at Cornell University in 1919. Neither teacher nor pupil could have realized … Continue reading Afterword

Do not take shortcuts at the cost of clarity (AATS 19)

Do not use initials for the names of organizations or movements unless you are certain the initials will be readily understood. Write things out. Not everyone knows that MADD means Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and even if everyone did, there are babies being born every minute who will someday encounter the name for the first … Continue reading Do not take shortcuts at the cost of clarity (AATS 19)