Strunk & White’s – Elements of Style

I. Elementary Rules of Usage

  1. Form the possessive singular of nouns by adding ‘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 paranthetic expressions in between commas
  4. Place a comma before a conjunction introducing an independent clause
  5. Do not join independent clauses with a comma.
  6. Do not break sentences in two (Do not use periods instead of commas)
  7. Use a colon after an independent clause to introduce a list of particulars, an appositive, an amplification, or an illustrative quotation
  8. Use a dash to set off an abrupt break or interruption and to announce a long appositive or summary
  9. The number of the subject determines the number of the verb
  10. Use the proper case of pronoun
  11.  A particular phrase at the beginning of a sentence should refer to the grammatical subject

II. Elementary Principles of Composition

  1. Choose a suitable design and hold to it
  2. Make the paragraph the unit of composition
  3. Use the active voice
  4. Put statements in positive form
  5. Use definite, specific, concrete language
  6. Omit needless words
  7. Avoid a succession of loose sentences
  8. Express coordinate ideas in similar form
  9. Keep related word together (Modifiers should come next to the word they modify)
  10. In summaries, keep to one tense
  11. Place the emphatic words of a sentence at the end

III. A Few Matters of Form

Colloquialisms, Exclamations, Headings, Hyphen, Margins, Numerals, Parantheses, Quotations, References, Syllabication, Titles

IV. Words and Expressions Commonly Misused

V. An Approach to Style

  1. Place yourself in the background
  2. Write in a way that comes naturally
  3. Write with nouns and verbs, not with adjectives and adverbs
  4. Revise and rewrite
  5. Do not overwrite
  6. Do not overstate
  7. Avoid the use of qualifiers (very, rather, little, pretty)
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