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Notes of [Elements of Style] by Strunk and White – II(b)

1. …expressions similar in content and function be outwardly similar.

* It was both a long ceremony and very tedious -> the ceremony is both long and tedious;
* My objections are, first, the injustice of the measure; second, that it is unconstitutional -> My objections are, first the measure is unjust; second, that it is unconstitutional.

2. The subject of a sentence and the principal verb should not , as a rule, be separated by a phrase or clause that can be transferred to the beginning.

* A dog, if you fail to discipline him, becomes a household pest -> Unless disciplined, a dog becomes a household pest.

3. The relative pronoun should come, in most instances, immediately after its antecedent.

* There was a stir in the audience that suggested disapproval -> A stir that suggested disapproval swept the audience.
* He wrote three articles about his adventures in Spain, which were published in Harper’s Magazine -> He published three articles in Harper’s Magazine about his adventures in Spain.

4. Modifiers should come, if possible, next to the word they modify.

* He only found two mistakes -> He found only two mistakes.

5. In presenting the statements or the thought of someone else, as in summarizing an essay or reporting a speech, the writer should not overwork such expressions as “”he said,” “he stated,” “the speaker added,” “the speaker then went on to say,” “the author also thinks.” He should indicate clearly at the outset, once for all, that what follows is summary, and then waste no words in repeating the notification.

6. Place the emphatic words of a sentence at the end.

* Humanity has hardly advanced in fortitude since that time, though it has advanced in many other ways -> Since that time, humanity has advanced in many ways, but it has hardly advanced in fortitude.
* This steel is principally used for making razors, because of its hardness -> Because of its hardness, this steel is principally used for making razors.

7. The principle that the proper place for what is to be made most prominent is the end applies equally to the words of a sentence, to the sentences of a paragraph, and to the paragraphs of a composition.


About Xiang 'Anthony' Chen

Making an Impact in Your Life


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