Reference > Usage > William Strunk, Jr. > The Elements of Style
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Make definite assertions. Avoid tame, colorless, hesitating, non-committal language.—Rule 12
William
Strunk, Jr.
 
The Elements of Style
 
William Strunk, Jr.
 
Asserting that one must first know the rules to break them, this classic reference book is a must-have for any student and conscientious writer. Intended for use in which the practice of composition is combined with the study of literature, it gives in brief space the principal requirements of plain English style and concentrates attention on the rules of usage and principles of composition most commonly violated.
 
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CONTENTS
Bibliographic Record  Frontmatter
ITHACA, N.Y.: W.P. HUMPHREY, 1918
NEW YORK: BARTLEBY.COM, 1999


  1. INTRODUCTORY

  2. ELEMENTARY RULES OF USAGE
    1. Form the possessive singular of nouns with 's
    2. In a series of three or more terms with a single conjunction, use a comma after each term except the last
    3. Enclose parenthetic expressions between commas
    4. Place a comma before and or but introducing an independent clause
    5. Do not join independent clauses by a comma
    6. Do not break sentences in two
    7. A participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence must refer to the grammatical subject
    8. Divide words at line-ends, in accordance with their formation and pronunciation


  3. ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION
    1. Make the paragraph the unit of composition: one paragraph to each topic
    2. As a rule, begin each paragraph with a topic sentence; end it in conformity with the beginning
    3. Use the active voice
    4. Put statements in positive form
    5. Omit needless words
    6. Avoid a succession of loose sentences
    7. Express co-ordinate ideas in similar form
    8. Keep related words together
    9. In summaries, keep to one tense
    10. Place the emphatic words of a sentence at the end


  4. A FEW MATTERS OF FORM

  5. WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS COMMONLY MISUSED

  6. WORDS COMMONLY MISSPELLED



 
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