William Strunk Jr. Quotes


 
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Best 47 Quotes by William Strunk Jr. – Page 1 of 2

“None are so fallible as those who are sure they're right.”

“Nothing becomes funny by being labelled so.”

“Vigorous writing is concise.”

The Elements of Style Quotes

“A careful and honest writer does not need to worry about style. As you become proficient in the use of language, your style will emerge, because you yourself will emerge, and when this happens you will find it increasingly easy to breakthrough the barriers that separate you from other minds, other hearts – which is, of course, the purpose of writing, as well as its principal reward.”

The Elements of Style

“A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.

This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.”

The Elements of Style

“A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.”

The Elements of Style

“An article or a preposition applying to all the members of a series must either be used only before the first term or else be repeated before each term.”

The Elements of Style

“Another segment of society that has constructed a language of its own is business. People in business say that toner cartridges are in short supply, that they have updated the next shipment of these cartridges, and that they will finalize their recommendations at the next meeting of the board.

They are speaking a language familiar and dear to them. Its portentous nouns and verbs invest ordinary events with high adventure; executives walk among toner cartridges, caparisoned like knights. We should tolerate them – every person of spirit wants to ride a white horse.”

The Elements of Style

“As a rule, begin each paragraph with a topic sentence; end it in conformity with the beginning.”

The Elements of Style

“As the American poet, Marianne Moore, said: There is a great deal of poetry in unconscious fastidiousness.”

The Elements of Style

“Avoid fancy words... If you admire fancy words, if every sky is beauteous, every blonde curvaceous, every intelligent child prodigious, if you are tickled by discombobulate, you will have a bad time.”

The Elements of Style

“Be brief.”

The Elements of Style

“Consciously or unconsciously, the reader is dissatisfied with being told only what is not; he wishes to be told what is.”

The Elements of Style

“Do not join independent clauses by a comma.”

The Elements of Style

“Do not say 'I feel nauseous', unless you are sure you have that effect on others.”

The Elements of Style

“Enclose parenthetic expressions between commas.”

The Elements of Style

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“Don’t focus on writing better copy. We focus on creating better deals.”


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“Form the possessive singular of nouns with 's.”

The Elements of Style

“Fortunately, the act of composition, or creation, disciplines the mind; writing is one way to go about thinking, and the practice and habit of writing not only drain the mind but supply it, too.”

The Elements of Style

“If every word or device that achieved currency were immediately authenticated, simply on the grounds of popularity, the language would be as chaotic as a ball game with no foul lines”

The Elements of Style

“If the interruption to the flow of the sentence is but slight, the writer may safely omit the commas. But whether the interruption be slight or considerable, he must never omit one comma and leave the other.”

The Elements of Style

“If the writer finds that he has written a series of sentences of the type described, he should recast enough of them to remove the monotony, replacing them by simple sentences, by sentences of two clauses joined by a semicolon, by periodic sentences of two clauses, by sentences, loose or periodic, of three clauses — whichever best represent the real relations of the thought.”

The Elements of Style

“If you have received a letter inviting you to speak at the dedication of a new cat hospital, and you hate cats, your reply, declining the invitation, does not necessarily have to cover the full range of your emotions. You must make it clear that you will not attend, but you do not have to let fly at the cats.

The writer of the letter asked a civil question; attack cats, then, only if you can do so with good humor, good taste, and in such a way that your answer will be courteous as well as responsive.

Since you are out of sympathy with cats, you may quite properly give this as a reason for not appearing at the dedicatory ceremonies of a cat hospital.

But bear in mind that your opinion of cats was not sought, only your services as a speaker. Try to keep things straight.”

The Elements of Style

“If you use a colloquialism or a slang word or phrase, simply use it; do not draw attention to it by enclosing it in quotation marks.

To do so is to put on airs, as though you were inviting the reader to join you in a select society of those who know better.”

The Elements of Style

“If your every sentence admits a doubt, your writing will lack authority.”

The Elements of Style

“Instead of announcing what you are about to tell is interesting, make it so.”

The Elements of Style

“It is an old observation that the best writers sometimes disregard the rules of rhetoric. When they do so, however, the reader will usually find in the sentence some compensating merit, attained at the cost of the violation.

Unless he is certain of doing as well, he will probably do best to follow the rules. After he has learned, by their guidance, to write plain English adequate for everyday uses, let him look, for the secrets of style, to the study of the masters of literature.”

The Elements of Style

“It's worse to irresolute than wrong.”

The Elements of Style

“Make definite assertions. Avoid tame, colorless, hesitating, noncommittal language. Use the word not as a means of denial or in antithesis, never as a means of evasion.”

The Elements of Style

“Make the paragraph the unit of composition: one paragraph to each topic.”

The Elements of Style

“Negative words other than not are usually strong:”

The Elements of Style

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“Advertisements with long copy convey the impression that you have something important to say, whether people read the copy or not.”


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