The Elements of Style Essay

William Strunk Jr.
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Both Strunk and White knew well that bending the rules—judiciously breaking them—can give writing its distinction, its edge, its very style. Bending them can spring writers from ruts, get them out of themselves, out of the ordinary, and into prose that comes alive, gets noticed, gets published.

"I felt uneasy at posing as an expert on rhetoric," White wrote in 1957, "when the truth is I write by ear, always with difficulty and seldom with any exact notion of what is taking place under the hood."

And Strunk himself affirmed that "the best writers sometimes disregard the rules of rhetoric. When they do so, however, the readers will usually find in the sentence some compensating merit, attained at the cost of the violation."

Writing is risk-taking. We bungee-jump from a sentence and pray the cord stops short of catastrophe. We day-trade in language, gambling that...

(read more from the Critical Essay #7 section)

This section contains 497 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Elements of Style Study Guide
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The Elements of Style from Nonfiction Classics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.