Style: Toward Clarity and Grace (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing)
Joseph M. Williams
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
"Buy Williams's book. And dig out from storage your dog-eared old copy of The Elements of Style. Set them side by side on your reference shelf."--Barbara Walraff, Atlantic
"Let newcoming writers discover this, and let their teachers and readers rejoice. It is a practical, disciplined text that is also a pleasure to read."--Christian Century
"An excellent book....It provides a sensible, well-balanced approach, featuring prescriptions that work."--Donald Karzenski, Journal of Business Communication
"Intensive fitness training for the expressive mind."--Booklist
A textbook edition with exercises, Style is available from Longman.
rrmpfiasis If you begin a entence well, the end will almost take care of itself. So the first step toward a style that is clear, direct, and coherent lies in how you manage the first few words of every sentence. If at the beginning of your sentences, you consistently organize your subjectltopics around a few central characters or concepts and then move quickly to close that subject with a precise verb expressing a crucial action, then by default you will have to put important new information at
heading at least every three or four pages. How m.any places you find will depend on how long your document IS. A ten-page document might have only two or three headings in the discussion. A longer one will have more. Now, if you could not quickly and confidently find those places where you would insert headings, you have a problem: you don't know where the major junctures are in your own document. If you can't identify them, neither will your readers. The Content of Headings . Once you have
why most readers prefer the style of (lb), and if necessary to persuade (or coerce) those others into writing in the same style. Whatever else a well-educated person can do, that person should be able to write clearly and to understand what it means to do that. But we judge as liberally educated the person who can articulate that understanding in ways that go beyond the ability to define subjects and verbs and explain their disagreements, certainly beyond self-evident truisms like "Be specific."
Ject of ~he main clause (3a) balanced against the ob~ Jects In two followmg prepositional phrases (3b-c). scholarly principles(2.) Were I trading(lo) my for [ financial security(2b) short books(3.) on I would not be writing(lb) minor subjects(3b) for small audiences(3c) Elegance 157 None of these are coordinated, but they are all consciously balanced. Like every other artful device, these balanced phrases and clauses can eventually become self-defeating-or at least monotonously arch. But
what good is learning a rule if all we can do is obey it? But selective observance has its problems too, because that requires us to learn which rules to ignore, which alway to observe, and which to observe in some circumstances and to ignore in others. This freedom to choose is further complicated by the fact that those who invoke every rule of grammar always seem to have the moral upper hand: they claim to be dedicated to precision, and they seem to know something about goodness that we don't.