Elements of Style On Writing:

“To achieve style, begin by affecting none.”

― E.B. White, The Elements of Style

The first step to being amazing at anything is being prolific; begin.

“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.”

― E.B. White, The Elements of Style

“Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.”

― William Strunk Jr., The Elements of Style

“Never call a stomach a tummy without good reason.”

― William Strunk Jr., The Elements of Style

“A single overstatement, wherever or however it occurs, diminishes the whole, and a carefree superlative has the power to destroy, for the reader, the object of the writer’s enthusiasm.”

― E.B. White, The Elements of Style

“It is an old observation that the best writers sometimes disregard the rules of rhetoric. When they do so, however, the reader will usually find in the sentence some compensating merit, attained at the cost of the violation. Unless he is certain of doing as well, he will probably do best to follow the rules. After he has learned, by their guidance, to write plain English adequate for everyday uses, let him look, for the secrets of style, to the study of the masters of literature.”

― William Strunk Jr., The Elements Of Style

“Many references have been made in this book to ‘the reader,’ who has been much in the news. It is now necessary to warn you that your concern for the reader must be pure: you must sympathize with the reader’s plight (most readers are in trouble about half the time) but never seek to know the reader’s wants. 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.”

― E.B. White, The Elements of Style

“Consciously or unconsciously, the reader is dissatisfied with being told only what is not; the reader wishes to be told what is… If your every sentence admits a doubt, your writing will lack authority.”

― William Strunk Jr., The Elements of Style

“I remember a day in class when he leaned forward, in his characteristic pose — the pose of a man about to impart a secret and croaked, “If you don’t know how to pronounce a word, say it loud! If you don’t know how to pronounce a word, say it loud! “This comical piece of advice struck me as sound at the time, and I still respect it. Why compound ignorance with inaudibility? Why run and hide?”

― E.B. White, The Elements of Style

“A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.”

― William Strunk Jr., The Elements of Style

“Negative words other than not are usually strong:”

― William Strunk Jr., The Elements Of Style

— not sure i fully grasp this one but i feel like it holds magical power behind it

“Writers will often find themselves steering by stars that are disturbingly in motion.”

― William Strunk Jr., The Elements of Style

“If you have received a letter inviting you to speak at the dedication of a new cat hospital, and you hate cats, your reply, declining the invitation, does not necessarily have to cover the full range of your emotions. You must make it clear that you will not attend, but you do not have to let fly at the cats. The writer of the letter asked a civil question; attack cats, then, only if you can do so with good humor, good taste, and in such a way that your answer will be courteous as well as responsive. Since you are out of sympathy with cats, you may quite properly give this as a reason for not appearing at the dedicatory ceremonies of a cat hospital. But bear in mind that your opinion of cats was not sought, only your services as a speaker. Try to keep things straight.”

― William Strunk Jr., The Elements of Style

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Dave Fontenot’s story.