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Elements of Style, The

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Publisher: Pearson Higher Education
Author: William Strunk, Jr.
E. B. White

List Price: $9.95

Ages: 15-18 Years

Reviewed By: Tammy Cardwell

There are some things that will be around forever - things like blue jeans, Coca Cola, and Strunk & White's Elements of Style. It's a small book, easily overlooked at only 4.5" x 7.25" and 105 pages, but for such a small book it packs a great writing punch.

When asked what one book every homeschool should have, I inevitably answer with this title; every homeschool should have it and use it. In truth, anyone who writes should have it and use it. It's a reference book that can also be read from cover to cover (if one is so inclined) and it answers just about any question the non-professional will come across in her day-to-day writing.

The book breaks down into five categories.
Elementary Rules of Usage
We all think we know them, but do we...really?
Elementary Principles of Composition
My favorite is on page 18. "Use the Active Voice"
Oh, or is it the one on page 23? "Omit Needless Words"
But perhaps you will find it on page 59, where the author clearly explains the proper use of the words `that' and `which'. I find the final sentence of this section absolutely delightful. Careful writers, watchful for small conveniences, go which-hunting, remove the defining whiches, and by doing so improve their work. Of course, not having read the section, this sentence may well be meaningless to you. If you get the book, you can enjoy it with me. A Few Matters of Form Quotations and Titles are two of the things you find here.
Words and Expressions Commonly Misused
Gotta love this section!
An Approach to Style (With a List of Reminders)
This one, too, is filled with gems.

You'll have no trouble understanding the book's layout, and if you do stumble there is an excellent index to help you find your way. A glossary also aids the confused by defining any troublesome words.

Do yourself and your budding writers a favor. Buy the book.
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Tammy Cardwell
Tammy Cardwell may be retired from homeschooling, but not from the homeschool arena. She is here at EHO to stay and actively serves her readers through and her publishing company, CJ Press, as well as her blog, From a Cluttered Desk.
Copyright © 2004 Eclectic Homeschool Association

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