Top 10 Lines From The Elements of Style

This year, I have highlighted the top 10 lines from a few great books about writing (here, here & here). With so many wonderful writing books to read, I figure I will keep these top 10 lists coming.

This month’s top 10 comes from The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. & E.B. White.

Here are what I found to be the book’s top 10 lines:

#10 –

Omit needless words.”

#9 –

The mind travels faster than the pen; consequently, writing becomes a question of learning to make occasional wing shots, bringing down the bird of thought as it flashes by. A writer is a gunner, sometimes waiting in the blind for something to come in, sometimes roaming the countryside hoping to scare something up.”

#8 –

Write in a way that comes easily and naturally to you, using words and phrases that come readily to hand.”

#7 –

Do not explain too much. It is seldom advisable to tell all.”

#6 –

No one can write decently who is distrustful of the reader’s intelligence, or whose attitude is patronizing.”

#5 –

When a sentence is made stronger, it usually becomes shorter. Thus, brevity is a by-product of vigor.”

#4 –

Your whole duty as a writer is to please and satisfy yourself, and the true writer always plays to an audience of one. Start sniffing the air, or glancing at the Trend Machine, and you are as good as dead, although you may make a nice living.”

#3 –

Remember, it is no sign of weakness or defeat that your manuscript ends up in need of major surgery. This is a common occurrence in all writing, and among the best writers.”

#2 –

Write in a way that draws the reader’s attention to the sense and substance of the writing, rather than to the mood and temper of the author.”

#1 –

Avoid fancy words. avoid the elaborate, the pretentious, they coy and the cute. Do not be tempted by a twenty-dollar word when there is a ten-center handy.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s