How To Use The Elements Of Style To Write Better

How TO Use The Elements Of STyle TO Write clearly and concisely.

The Elements of Style is a classic book on writing by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White. In this article, I will clarify how to use The Elements Of Style to improve your writing.

It’s an easy read, and it has a lot of great advice on how to write better. 

I recommend that everyone read this book at some point in their lives. It’s especially useful if you’re a writer or editor who wants to improve your ability to communicate effectively with others using the written word.

Eliminate surplus words.

  • Remove unnecessary words.
  • Don’t use more words than you need.
  • Don’t use more words than you need to say what you need to say in the right way, at the right time, in the right place, and with the right people—the elements of style that make a good sentence great.

Place emphasis on the right words.

The Elements of Style is a guide to writing, and it’s full of rules that can help you make your writing clearer and more effective.

But how do we know which words are the “right” ones? 

It’s all about choosing words that are appropriate for your audience, as well as using them in context so they’re not misunderstood. 

For example, if you’re writing something for an English teacher who knows your background well enough to understand what an idiom means when it comes up in a sentence (e.g., “I’m going to hit the books”), then you might use some idioms without explaining them outright (“The student will hit the books until his eyes bleed”). 

However, if someone else reads what you’ve written—someone who doesn’t know anything about why hitting books would hurt someone—it might take them too long to figure out what was meant by something. 

They won’t immediately recognize most idiomatic phrases like this one unless they’ve heard other people use them before themselves! 

So, if there are any questions about whether or not someone else will understand what we mean by something like “I’m going hit some books,” it is probably best just avoid such things altogether. 

Riskier things tend to lead us down paths where our intentions aren’t always clear. 

Even though we believe ourselves knowledgeable enough about our subject matter because we think others should already know it too… but unfortunately this isn’t always true either!

Prefer the active to the passive voice.

In the active voice, the subject acts and accomplishes something. In the passive voice, an action is done to the subject.

“The train left at 7:05.”

“I ate a frog.”

In both sentences above, who or what did these actions? 

“The train left at 7:05.” 

The sentence tells us this information right up front. We know right away that someone or something left a train at 7:05; we don’t have to wait until later in the sentence (or even later in our reading) to learn this information. 

This makes for easier reading because it’s more direct and concise–and there’s nothing like brevity when it comes to clear communication!

By contrast, consider how difficult it is for your reader when you write something like “A frog was eaten by me.” 

In order for your reader to understand who ate the frog (you), they will need all kinds of inferences about context and details from other parts of your text–all of which take extra mental effort on their part.

This is less clear than if they’d been told directly from whom/what happened earlier on in this particular story much sooner than later into its telling.

Put statements in positive form.

  • Use positive form.
  • Avoid negatives.

(This is one of the most important rules of style.)

  • Write with nouns, not with verbs or adjectives.
  • Keep related words together.
  • Avoid fancy words for the sake of being fancy.

Use definite, specific, concrete language.

The Elements of Style is a guide for writers, and it centers around a very simple concept: use specific, concrete language instead of vague, abstract language.

Instead of saying “He was tall,” say “He was six feet tall.” 

Instead of saying “He had brown hair,” say “His hair was brown.”

This idea is one I’ve found helpful in my own writing. If you’re struggling to find the right word or phrase for something, try taking some time to think about what it actually looks like or feels like (if possible). 

For example, if you want to describe someone as happy but can’t seem to find the right word or phrase, imagine that person smiling at you; maybe even pretend they’re saying something funny while they smile at you. 

Then try using those feelings as words—that’s usually how I do it!

An Essential Ingredient of the elements of style is to Revise and rewrite.

Now that you are finished with your first draft, it’s time to revisit your work. 

Think about what you have written and ask yourself: “Is this the best I can do?” 

If not, then revise and rewrite. You may decide that some things need to be cut entirely or modified. You may decide that something needs clarification or expansion. 

You might even find that a few paragraphs need to be moved around or re-ordered in order for them to flow better with the rest of the essay.

The most important thing when writing is not being afraid to throw out what exists already—even if it took hours or days to create! 

Remember, it’s better to start over than write something mediocre just because it took so long (or cost money) for someone else’s opinion on how great your idea was at first sight.”

Avoid a succession of loose sentences.

In this book, you will learn how to use a semicolon properly. 

A semicolon is used in a sentence when two independent clauses are joined by a conjunctive adverb or transitional expression. For example:

I love to eat spaghetti, but I hate pizza.

The two clauses could be separated by a comma and then linked with the word however or moreover. 

However, it would not be proper grammar to connect them with the word and since both clauses are complete sentences on their own. Use semicolons instead!

Express coordinate ideas in a similar form.

The Elements of Style is an incredibly useful book that I’ve found very helpful over the years. 

It’s a concise guide to classical style, and it’s written in a way that makes it easy to read and understand.

If you like this article, be sure to check out our other articles on grammar! 

We cover all aspects of writing: from APA style rules (which are different than MLA) to how to write effective quotes in your paper!

The first step on your path toward writing better papers is learning how to edit them properly after they’re done. 

You’ll need some help with this if you’re not already confident in your editing skills, which is why we’ve put together this handy guide for all things editing-related: from checking for spelling errors or punctuation mistakes up through more advanced topics such as sentence structure or word choice.

Keep related words together.

One of the most important principles of style is keeping related words together. This is a principle that applies to every writing situation, large or small.

For example:

  • In a single sentence, keep the subject and its verb together when they express a complete thought (a unit of meaning).
  • In an entire paragraph, keep all main ideas that develop one idea with one main supporting idea in close proximity to each other.
  • In an entire document or piece of writing, it’s good practice to keep sections organized according to their content instead of breaking them up arbitrarily into smaller chunks simply for ease of comprehension on the reader’s part; this will ensure that your reader sees coherent arguments and makes sense of your reasoning throughout each section — no matter how long it may be!

In summaries, keep to one tense.

In summaries, keep to one tense. Use present tense for summary statements such as “The writer describes the lake in great detail.”

Use past tense for statements that describe what has happened or might happen in the story: 

“He goes fishing every day;” “The man gets hungry and goes into town.”

Use present tense when you describe what you are doing at this moment: 

“I am writing a story about my dog.” 

It’s okay to use past tense if it is necessary for clarity. 

For example, it may be better to say “I am writing an essay” rather than “I write essays” because there could be more than one essay being written at any given time. 

However, if someone asks you if you have already written your essay and then ask why not just say: “Yes, I have already written it.”

Use the proper case of the pronoun.

For example, if you are talking about an apple, use a subjective pronoun to replace “apple.”

If you are talking about the owner of that apple, use an objective pronoun. The same rule applies to other pronouns as well.

William Strunk – Co-Author of The Elements Of tyle

All in all, The Elements Of Style is a classic book by William Strunk and E.B. White about how to be a better writer

The Elements Of Style is a classic book written by William Strunk and E.B. White in 1918. 

It’s a book about how to be a better writer, with rules on grammar, usage, style and composition.

To sum up, The Elements of Style is a book that every writer should know about. It will help you write better and with more confidence in your work.

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