Book Review: The Elements Of Style [Classic Edition] By William Strunk Jr. & Edited by Richard De A’Morelli

EO
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
May 3, 2017

As a preamble, what follows is a cursory juxtaposition between The Elements Of Style Classic Edition, which is the main book discussed, and The Elements Of Style 4th Edition.  Having purchased both within the last month, I thought it prudent to comment on some of the differences between both books.

The Elements Of Style [Classic Edition] by William Strunk Jr. and edited by Richard De A’Morelli is meant as a tribute to the work Prof. Strunk undertook over 100 years ago in creating this book.

This particular book features a forward by Richard De A’Morelli titled “Grammar & Style For The 21st Century”, instead of the one written by Roger Angell in the 4th Edition.  The former is eight pages long, while the latter is only two pages long.  De A’Morelli’s foreword sets the stage better in this book than the previous book, even if it’s garrulous.

In contrast, the “Introductory” within the classic edition is subpar when compared to the one written by E.B. White in the 4th Edition, which actually was more informative and amiable and even offered very practical advice, even if short and sweet.  The one great part featured within the Classic Edition edited by De A’Morelli is that the introduction features suggestions on which books writers ought to consider, which can be quite useful.

Curiously, the Elements of Style Classic Edition by De A’Morelli removes a few writing rules without noting why.  Although, the book blurb does mention that there are some rules which are now obsolete, and there are editorial notes which focus on that, the actual reasons are still lacking.

One significant improvement in the Classic Edition is that after each Rule is mentioned and examples are shown, it’s much easier to discern which are the good examples and which ones are not.

In both books, the first six rules are exact, although worded differently in the newer “Classic Edition”.  Thereafter, beginning on the 7th Rule, it begins to differ.  The newer Classic Edition edits rule number 7, and begins slotting latter rules earlier.  In the 4th Edition, Rule #7 is:

“Use a colon after an independent clause to introduce a list of particulars, an appositive, amplification, or an illustrative quotation.”[1]

As a researcher and someone who writes often, this rule is quite useful and omitting it feels almost like the writer is being sold short.  A writer not knowing how to use a colon is akin to a soldier missing some of their equipment in the battlefield.  The Elements Of Style [4th Ed.] By William Strunk Jr. & E.B. White notes:

“A colon tells the reader that what follows is closely related to the preceding clause.  The colon has more effect than the comma, less power than the semicolon, and more formality than the dash.”[2]

The removal of that rule is almost akin to removing the comma or any other punctuation device.  Perhaps it’s not as trenchant, but it’s quite notable nonetheless because of the versatility the colon features.

Another rule omitted in the Classic Edition edited by De A’Morelli is the use of the dash.  Without writing a lengthy paragraph on this, the omission of this rule is almost as bad as the omission of the colon, and outright removes from the writer another tool they might employ in writing, a very useful one at that.

At least two more rules were removed, although can’t recall which ones they are.  The whole point of this is that there are at least two important rules that are missing, and that’s two too many.

My main issue with this book is that it removes certain rules and doesn’t even mention why.  The colon and dash by themselves are great tools for writing.  Omitting them with not even a mention is very glaring and leaves a lot to be desired.  Because of that, the rules from both books do not line up and cannot.

That said, De A’Morelli as an editor of the Classic edition of The Elements Of Style does an adequate job of staying above water and stating what Strunk Jr. had said different words, which could be useful to some.

Be that as it may, and even though the Classic Edition features a study guide, I still think the 4th Edition by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White is superior to the Classic Edition that is edited by De A’Morelli.  Don’t give me wrong, I am glad to own both, but I don’t feel like I gained much by the purchase of the latter book.  In fact, had I not know about the first book, I would be missing out on two vital rules, as shown above, that are crucial to the writing process, and which I employ almost in every piece.  That makes me wonder what else the editor might have overlooked.

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[1] William Strunk Jr. & E.B. White, The Elements Of Style [4th Ed.] pg. 7.
[2] Ibid., pp 7-8.

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This article is free and open source. You are encouraged to share this content and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.

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About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His own personal blog is BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com where his personal work is shared, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information usually ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

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BreakawayConsciousness

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who regularly studies subjects such as: Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more. His own personal blog is BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com where his personal work is shared, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information usually ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world. My work can also be found on https://steemit.com/@zyphrex.

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