Strunk and White- first impressions!

Posted: October 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

The section of the book that I found could be most helpful to writers and myself is probably “Words and Expressions Commonly Misused” (39) One word that really stuck out to me that made me think, “oh yeah, people use that wrong a lot” is the word “Nor.” According to the text, Nor is, “often used wrongly for or after negative expressions.” (53) The example given is, “He cannot eat nor sleep”, but the correct way would be “He cannot eat nor can he sleep.” (54) People often use words that are similar to other words, but they end up using them wrong. I take part in this sometimes in writing and it’s never too late to correct it.

Another section I found to be helpful to me is, “Elementary Principles of Composition” (15) I really saw use when they talked about “omit needless words” (23) and “keep related words together” (28) I seem to always put “there is no doubt but that…” or something along those lines in my papers and the truth is it’s unneeded. I tend to be wordy at times and it’s one of my down falls. With that, I also don’t always keep related words together- meaning I don’t always structure my sentences correctly. As said in the text, it can make sentences “confusing.”

There is one part of the book that I didn’t exactly agree with and I feel like some people take it as they were always doing it “wrong.” This is the section, “Elementary Rules of Usage.”(1) Strunk and White say, “Form the possessive singular of nouns by adding ‘s.” (1) An example they give is “Charles’s friend.” (1) Many of us were taught that the extra s isn’t needed. I have always learned that for this case it’d be “Charles’ friend.” I like to think I wasn’t taught wrong and either would be looked at as correct. I think this book may hold a little too much power if people think that Strunk and White’s way is the only way.

  1. Maxine says:

    I agree with your last paragraph. I think when we all read that section we thought boy either we were taught wrong or either we missed that lesson in school. Almost everyones comment was the exact same when they came across this section. Then we read Williams and he expalined it clearly as to why we felt that way.

  2. awagoner2011 says:

    I tend to ramble a lot too in my papers. I don’t know if writing like I talk is a good or bad thing.

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