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TheElements of StylebyWilliam Strunk

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TheElements of StylebyWilliam Strunk

TheElements of StylebyWilliam Strunk, Jr.

    Professor of English

    Cornell University

    RevisedbyJohn Woldemar Cowan

    Copyright ? 2006, 2007, 2008

    by John Cowan

    Based on the 1918 public domain version

    Published on the Internet at

    http://www.ccil.org/~cowan/style-revised.html

    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

    1st edition

    Contents

    I. Introductory

    Reviser's introduction.

    Author's introduction.

    II. Elementary Rules of Usage

    1. Form the possessive of singular nouns with 's.

    2. In a series of three or more terms with a single conjunction, use a comma after each term except the last.

    3. Enclose parenthetic expressions between commas.

    4. Place a comma before and or but introducing an independent clause. 5. Do not join independent clauses by a comma.

    6. Do not break sentences in two.

    7. A participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence must refer to the grammatical subject.

    8. Hyphenate words in accordance with dictionaries and spelling-checkers.

    III. Elementary Principles of Composition

    9. Make the paragraph the unit of composition: one paragraph to each topic.

    10. As a rule, begin each paragraph with a topic sentence; end it in conformity with the beginning

    11. Use the active voice.

    12. Put statements in positive form.

    13. Omit needless words.

    14. Avoid a succession of loose sentences.

    15. Express co-ordinate ideas in similar form.

    16. Keep related words together.

    17. In summaries, keep to one tense.

    18. Place the emphatic words of a sentence at the end. IV. A Few Matters of Form

    Headings.

    Numerals.

    Parentheses.

    Dashes.

    Quotations.

    References.

    Titles.

    V. Words and Expressions Commonly Misused

    Advice, advise.All right.Allusion.And which, and who. As good or better than.As to whether.Bid.But.Case.Character.Compare.Continual, continuous.Effect, affect.Etc.Fact.Factor,feature.Formerly,formally. He, he or she, they.He is a man who.Kind of.

    Lay.Less.Line, along these lines.Literal, literally.Most.Nature.Of.One hundred and one.One of the most.People.Phase.Possess.Respective, respectively.So.Sort of.State.System.Very.

    While.

    Worthwhile.

I. Introductory

    Reviser's introduction (2006)

    This book, The Elements of Style Revised, is based on William Strunk's original "little book" of 1918, The Elements of Style. It is therefore a younger brother to the well-known "Strunk and White." I have used none of the material added by E. B. White to the 1958 or later editions of The Elements of Style in writing this book. This book likewise contains neither illustrations nor songs.

    My revisions to the original are founded on the principle that rules of usage and style cannot be drawn out of thin air, nor constructed a priori according to "logic"; they must depend on the actual practice of those who are generally acknowledged to be good writers. For a larger work founded on the same principles and giving much more detailed and up-to-date advice on usage, the reader is urged to consult the current edition of Merriam-Webster's Concise Dictionary of English Usage, as I have done with both pleasure and profit while preparing this revision. I have attempted to remain within the scope of the original. This book, therefore, is intended as a compendium of helpful advice to novice writers in freshman composition classes, not a code of general laws of writing for all works by all writers in all circumstances. Violations of the rules can be found within the book itself this is neither inconsistent nor

    hypocritical, as The Elements of Style Revised is not a paper written for a composition class.

    In updating Strunk's work from the 19th century to the early 21st century, I have retained as much of Strunk's spirit and characteristic style as I could. I have removed the obsolete, the erroneous, and the merely idiosyncratic (Strunk's arbitrary dislike of "student body", for example) both from Strunk's own usage and from the rules laid down in his book. Like White, I have also added a few points to Chapters IV and V that seemed to me important enough to justify their presence, as well as removing Strunk's Chapter VI on spelling. I have not hesitated to replace Strunk's opinions with contrary ones, though I was pleasantly surprised to find that many of those I expected to require changing (strictures against split infinitives and final prepositions, as well as the preposterous which/that rule) did not appear in the 1918 edition at all. My thanks to all who helped me with this edition, especially those who published critiques of the original as well as competitors to it. All errors of course remain my responsibility, and I will be happy to receive corrections at cowan@ccil.org. I obtained the base HTML document from which my work began at Douglas Crockford's site. My special thanks to Geoffrey Pullum of the University of California, Santa Cruz for (quite unintentionally) inspiring me to perform this work of revision. Author's introduction (1918)

    This book is intended for use in English courses in which the practice of composition is combined with the study of literature. It aims to give in brief space the principal requirements of plain English style. It aims to lighten the task of instructor and student by concentrating attention (in Chapters II and III) on a few essentials, the rules of usage and principles of composition most commonly violated. The numbers of the sections may be used as references in correcting manuscript.

    The book covers only a small portion of the field of English style, but the experience of its writer has been that once past the essentials, students profit most by individual instruction based on the problems of their own work, and that each instructor has his own body of theory, which he prefers to that offered by any textbook.

    The writer's colleagues in the Department of English in Cornell University have greatly helped him in the preparation of his manuscript. Mr. George McLane Wood has kindly consented to the inclusion under Rule 11 of some material from his Suggestions to Authors.

    The following books are recommended for reference or further study: in connection with Chapters II and IV, F. Howard Collins, Author and Printer (Henry Frowde); Chicago University Press, Manual of Style; T. L. De Vinne Correct Composition (The Century Company); Horace Hart, Rules for Compositors and Printers (Oxford University Press); George McLane Wood, Extracts from the Style-Book of the Government Printing Office (United States Geological Survey); in connection with Chapters III and V, Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, The Art of Writing (Putnams), especially the chapter, Interlude on Jargon; George McLane Wood, Suggestions to Authors (United States Geological Survey); John Leslie Hall, English Usage (Scott, Foresman and Co.); James P. Kelly, Workmanship in Words (Little, Brown and Co.).

    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.

    II. Elementary Rules of Usage

    1. Form the possessive of singular nouns with 's.

    Follow this rule whatever the final consonant. Thus write,

    Charles's friend

    Burns's poems

    the witch's malice

    Exceptions are the possessives of ancient proper names in -es and -is, and the possessive Jesus'. But such forms as Achilles' heel, Moses' laws, Isis' temple are commonly replaced by

    the heel of Achilles (the Achilles heel, in figurative use) the laws of Moses

    the temple of Isis

    The possessive pronouns hers, its, theirs, yours, and oneself have no apostrophe.

    2. In a series of three or more terms with a single conjunction, use a comma after each term except the last.

    Thus write,

    red, white, and blue

    honest, energetic, but headstrong

    He opened the letter, read it, and made a note of its contents. In the names of business firms, the usage of the firm should be followed. The abbreviation etc., even if only a single term comes before it, is always preceded by a comma.

    Use a semicolon in place of a comma if any of the terms itself contains a comma.

    Among the injured were Emory P. Gray, of Oyster Bay, New York; Norman Bean of Chicago; and Ignatius Donnelly, the Sage of Nininger. 3. Enclose parenthetic expressions between commas.

    The best way to see a country, unless you are pressed for time, is to travel on foot.

    This rule is sometimes difficult to apply; it is frequently hard to decide whether a single word such as however or a brief phrase is or is not parenthetic. If the interruption to the flow of the sentence is very slight, the writer may safely omit the commas. But whether the interruption is slight or considerable, never omit one comma and leave the other. Such punctuation as

    Marjorie's husband, Colonel Nelson paid us a visit yesterday,or My brother you will be pleased to hear, is now in perfect health,is indefensible.

    Non-restrictive relative clauses are, in accordance with this rule, set off

by commas.

    The audience, which had at first been indifferent, became more and more interested.

    Similar clauses introduced by where and when are similarly punctuated. In 1769, when Napoleon was born, Corsica had only recently been acquired by France.

    Nether Stowey, where Coleridge wrote The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, is a few miles from Bridgwater.

    In these sentences the clauses introduced by which, when, and where are non-restrictive; they do not limit the application of the words on which they depend, but add, parenthetically, statements supplementing those in the principal clauses. Each sentence is a combination of two statements which might have been made independently.

    The audience was at first indifferent. Later it became more and more interested.

    Napoleon was born in 1769. At that time Corsica had only recently been acquired by France.

    Coleridge wrote The Rime of the Ancient Mariner at Nether Stowey. Nether Stowey is only a few miles from Bridgewater.

    Restrictive relative clauses are not set off by commas.

    The candidate who best meets these requirements will obtain the place. In this sentence the relative clause restricts the application of the word candidate to a single person. Unlike those above, the sentence cannot be split into two independent statements.

    The abbreviations etc. and Jr. are always preceded by a comma and, except at the end of a sentence, followed by one.

    Similar in principle to the enclosing of parenthetic expressions between commas is the setting off by commas of phrases or dependent clauses preceding or following the main clause of a sentence. The sentences quoted in this section and under Rules 4, 5, 6, 7, 16, and 18 should afford sufficient guidance.

    4. Place a comma before and or but introducing an independent clause. The early records of the city have disappeared, and the story of its first years can no longer be reconstructed.

    The situation is perilous, but there is still one chance of escape. Sentences of this type, isolated from their context, may seem to be in need of rewriting. As they make complete sense when the comma is reached, the second clause has the appearance of an after-thought. Furthermore, and is the least specific of connectives. Used between independent clauses, it indicates only that a relation exists between them without defining that relation. In the example above, the relation is that of cause and result. The two sentences might be rewritten:

    As the early records of the city have disappeared, the story of its first years can no longer be reconstructed.

    Although the situation is perilous, there is still one chance of escape. Or the subordinate clauses might be replaced by phrases:

    Because of the disappearance of the early records of the city, the story of its first years can no longer be reconstructed.

    In this perilous situation, there is still one chance of escape. But a writer may err by making his sentences too uniformly compact and periodic, and an occasional loose sentence prevents the style from becoming too formal and gives the reader a certain relief. Consequently, loose sentences of the type first quoted are common in easy, unstudied writing. But a writer should be careful not to construct too many sentences after this pattern (see Rule 14).

    Two-part sentences of which the second member is introduced by as (in the sense of because), for, or, nor, and while (in the sense of and at the same time) likewise require a comma before the conjunction: But that was short of the mark, for twenty guests were invited.

He hated it and loved it, as he hated and loved himself.

    If a dependent clause, or an introductory phrase set off by a comma, precedes the second independent clause, no comma is needed after the conjunction.

    The situation is perilous, but if we are prepared to act promptly, there is still one chance of escape.

    For two-part sentences connected by an adverb, see the next section. 5. Do not join independent clauses by a comma.

    If two or more clauses, grammatically complete and not joined by a conjunction, are to form a single sentence, the proper mark of punctuation is a semicolon.

    Stevenson's romances are entertaining; they are full of exciting adventures.

    It is nearly half past five; we cannot reach town before dark. It is of course equally correct to write the above as two sentences each, replacing the semicolons by periods.

    Stevenson's romances are entertaining. They are full of exciting adventures.

    It is nearly half past five. We cannot reach town before dark. If a conjunction is inserted, the proper mark is a comma (Rule 4). Stevenson's romances are entertaining, for they are full of exciting adventures.

    It is nearly half past five, and we cannot reach town before dark. Note that if the second clause is preceded by an adverb, such as accordingly, besides, then, therefore, or thus, and not by a conjunction, the semicolon is still required:

    At that moment they heard a door slam; then feet came running along the passage.

    There's five to one; besides, they all are fresh.

    When the second clause begins with so, use a semicolon or a comma: I had never been in the place before, so I had difficulty in finding my way about.

    An alternative that is usually serviceable, and always requires a comma, is to omit the word so and begin the first clause with as: As I had never been in the place before, I had difficulty in finding my way about.

    If the clauses are very short, and are alike in form, a comma is usually permissible:

    Man proposes, God disposes.

    The gate swung apart, the bridge fell, the portcullis was drawn up. Use a colon if the second clause illustrates or explains the first: The fireworks were by Gandalf: they were not only brought by him, but designed and made by him.

    6. Do not break sentences in two.

    In other words, do not use periods instead of commas.

    I met them on a Cunard liner several years ago. Coming home from Liverpool to New York.

    She was an interesting talker. A woman who had traveled all over the world, and lived in half a dozen countries.

    In both these examples, the first period should be replaced by a comma, and the following word begun with a small letter.

    It is permissible to make an emphatic word or expression serve the purpose of a sentence and to punctuate it accordingly:

    Again and again he called out. No reply.

    The writer must, however, be certain that the emphasis is warranted, and does not appear to be a mere blunder in punctuation.

    Note: Rules 3, 4, 5, and 6 cover the most important principles in the punctuation of ordinary sentences; they should be so thoroughly mastered that their application becomes second nature.

    7. A participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence must refer to the grammatical subject.

    Walking slowly down the road, he saw a woman accompanied by two children.

    The word walking refers to the subject of the sentence, not to the woman. If the writer wishes to make it refer to the woman, he must recast the sentence:

    He saw a woman, accompanied by two children, walking slowly down the road.

    Participial phrases preceded by a conjunction or by a preposition, nouns in apposition, adjectives, and adjective phrases come under the same rule if they begin the sentence.

    On arriving in Chicago, his friends met him at the station. When he arrived (or, On his arrival) in Chicago, his friends met him at the station. A soldier of proved valor, they entrusted him with the defense of the city.

     A soldier of proved valor, he was entrusted with the defense of the city.

    Young and inexperienced, the task seemed easy to me. Young and inexperienced, I thought the task was easy.

    Without a friend to counsel her, the temptation proved irresistible.

     Without a friend to counsel her, she found the temptation irresistible. Sentences violating this rule are often ludicrous:

    Being in a dilapidated condition, I was able to buy the house very cheap. 8. Hyphenate words in accordance with dictionaries and

    spelling-checkers.

    If there is room at the end of a line for one or more syllables of a word, but not for the whole word, divide the word unless this involves cutting off only a single letter or cutting off only two letters of a long word. No hard and fast rule for all words can be laid down. Choose a dictionary and follow its practice, or use the hyphenation provided by your word processing program.

    The same rule applies when deciding whether to hyphenate a compound noun; compound adjectives such as "light-fingered" are always hyphenated.

    III. Elementary Principles of Composition

    9. Make the paragraph the unit of composition: one paragraph to each topic.

    If the subject on which you are writing is of slight extent, or if you intend to treat it very briefly, there may be no need of subdividing it into topics. Thus a brief description, a brief summary of a literary work, a brief account of a single incident, a narrative merely outlining an action, the setting forth of a single idea, any one of these is best written in a single paragraph. After the paragraph has been written, it should be examined to see whether subdivision will improve it.

    Ordinarily, however, a subject requires subdivision into topics, each of which should be made the subject of a paragraph. The object of treating each topic in a paragraph by itself is, of course, to aid the reader. The beginning of each paragraph serves as a signal that a new step in the development of the subject has been reached.

    The extent of subdivision will vary with the length of the composition. For example, a short notice of a book or poem might consist of a single paragraph. One slightly longer might consist of two paragraphs: A. Account of the work.

    B. Critical discussion.

    A report on a poem, written for a literature class, might consist of seven paragraphs:

    A. Facts of composition and publication.

    B. Kind of poem; metrical form.

    C. Subject matter.

D. Treatment of subject.

    E. Especially remarkable points.

    F. How the poem is characteristic of the writer.

    G. Relationship to other works.

    The contents of paragraphs C and D would vary with the poem. Usually, paragraph C would indicate the actual or imagined circumstances of the poem (the situation), if these call for explanation, and would then state the subject and outline its development. If the poem is a narrative in the third person throughout, paragraph C need contain no more than a concise summary of the action. Paragraph D would indicate the leading ideas and show how they are made prominent, or would indicate what points in the narrative are chiefly emphasized.

    A novel might be discussed under the heads:

    A. Setting.

    B. Plot.

    C. Characters.

    D. Theme.

    A historical event might be discussed under the heads:

    A. What led up to the event.

    B. Account of the event.

    C. What followed the event.

    In treating either of these last two subjects, the writer would probably find it necessary to subdivide one or more of the topics here given. As a rule, single sentences should not be written or printed as paragraphs. An exception may be made for sentences of transition indicating the relation between the parts of an exposition or argument.

    In dialogue, each speech, even if only a single word, is a paragraph by itself; that is, a new paragraph begins with each change of speaker. The application of this rule when dialogue and narrative are combined is best learned from examples in works of fiction.

    10. As a rule, begin each paragraph with a topic sentence; end it in conformity with the beginning.

    Again, the object is to aid the reader. The practice recommended here enables him to discover the purpose of each paragraph at its beginning, and to retain the purpose in mind until its end. For this reason, the most generally useful kind of paragraph, particularly in exposition and argument, is that in which

    a. the topic sentence comes at or near the beginning;

    b. the succeeding sentences explain or establish or develop the statement made in the topic sentence; and

    c. the final sentence either emphasizes the thought of the topic sentence or states some important consequence.

    Ending with a digression, or with an unimportant detail, is particularly to be avoided.

    If the paragraph forms part of a larger composition, its relation to what precedes, or its function as a part of the whole, may need to be expressed. This can sometimes be done by a mere word or phrase (again; therefore; for the same reason) in the topic sentence. Sometimes, however, it is expedient to precede the topic sentence by one or more sentences of introduction or transition. If more than one such sentence is required, it is generally better to set apart the transitional sentences as a separate paragraph.

    Depending on the writer's purpose, he may, as indicated above, relate the body of the paragraph to the topic sentence in one or more of several different ways. He may make the meaning of the topic sentence clearer by restating it in other forms, by defining its terms, by denying the converse, by giving illustrations or specific instances; he may establish it by proofs; or he may develop it by showing its implications and consequences. In a long paragraph, he may carry out several of these processes.

    1 Now, to be properly enjoyed, a walking tour should be gone upon alone.

     1 Topic sentence.

    2 If you go in a company, or even in pairs, it is no longer a walking tour in anything but name; it is something else and more in the nature of a picnic. 2 The meaning made clearer by denial of the contrary view. 3 A walking tour should be gone upon alone, because freedom is of the essence; because you should be able to stop and go on, and follow this way or that, as the freak takes you; and because you must have your own pace, and neither trot alongside a champion walker, nor mince in time with a girl. 3 The topic sentence repeated, in abridged form, and supported by three reasons; the meaning of the third ("you must have your own pace") made clearer by denying the opposite view.

    4 And you must be open to all impressions and let your thoughts take colour from what you see. 4 A fourth reason, stated in two forms. 5 You should be as a pipe for any wind to play upon. 5 The same reason, stated in still another form.

    6 "I cannot see the wit," says Hazlitt, "of walking and talking at the same time. 6-7 The same reason as stated by Hazlitt.

    7 When I am in the country, I wish to vegetate like the country," which is the gist of all that can be said upon the matter.

    8 There should be no cackle of voices at your elbow, to jar on the meditative silence of the morning. 8 Repetition, in paraphrase, of the quotation from Hazlitt.

    9 And so long as a man is reasoning he cannot surrender himself to that fine intoxication that comes of much motion in the open air, that begins in a sort of dazzle and sluggishness of the brain, and ends in a peace that passes comprehension. Stevenson, Walking Tours. 9 Final statement

    of the fourth reason, in language amplified and heightened to form a strong conclusion.

    Another example:

    1 It was chiefly in the eighteenth century that a very different conception of history grew up. 1 Topic sentence.

    2 Historians then came to believe that their task was not so much to paint a picture as to solve a problem; to explain or illustrate the successive phases of national growth, prosperity, and adversity. 2 The meaning of the topic sentence made clearer; the new conception of history defined. 3 The history of morals, of industry, of intellect, and of art; the changes that take place in manners or beliefs; the dominant ideas that prevailed in successive periods; the rise, fall, and modification of political constitutions; in a word, all the conditions of national well-being became the subjects of their works. 3 The definition expanded.

    4 They sought rather to write a history of peoples than a history of kings.

     4 The definition explained by contrast.

    5 They looked especially in history for the chain of causes and effects. 5 The definition supplemented: another element in the new conception of history.

    6 They undertook to study in the past the physiology of nations, and hoped by applying the experimental method on a large scale to deduce some lessons of real value about the conditions on which the welfare of society mainly depend. Lecky, The Political Value of History. 6

    Conclusion: an important consequence of the new conception of history. In narration and description the paragraph sometimes begins with a concise, comprehensive statement serving to hold together the details that follow.

    The breeze served us admirably.

    The campaign opened with a series of reverses.

    The next ten or twelve pages were filled with a curious set of entries. But this device, if too often used, would become a mannerism. More commonly the opening sentence simply indicates by its subject with what

the paragraph is to be principally concerned.

    At length I thought I might return towards the stockade.

    She picked up the heavy lamp from the table and began to explore. Another flight of steps, and they emerged on the roof.

    The brief paragraphs of animated narrative, however, are often without even this semblance of a topic sentence. The break between them serves the purpose of a rhetorical pause, throwing into prominence some detail of the action.

    11. Use the active voice.

    The active voice is usually more direct and vigorous than the passive: I shall always remember my first visit to Boston.

    is much better than

    My first visit to Boston will always be remembered by me.

    The latter sentence is less direct, less bold, and less concise. If the writer tries to make it more concise by omitting "by me,"

    My first visit to Boston will always be remembered.

    it becomes indefinite: is it the writer, or some person undisclosed, or the world at large, that will always remember this visit?

    This rule does not, of course, mean that the writer should entirely discard the passive voice, which is frequently convenient and sometimes necessary.

    The dramatists of the Restoration are little esteemed today. Modern readers have little esteem for the dramatists of the Restoration. The first would be the right form in a paragraph on the dramatists of the Restoration; the second, in a paragraph on the tastes of modern readers. The need of making a particular word the subject of the sentence will often, as in these examples, determine which voice is to be used. The habitual use of the active voice, however, makes for forceful writing. This is true not only in narrative principally concerned with action, but in writing of any kind. Many a tame sentence of description or exposition can be made lively and emphatic by substituting a transitive verb, whenever possible in the active voice, for some such perfunctory expression as there is, or could be heard.

    The sound of the falls could still be heard. We could still hear the sound of the falls.

    The reason that he left college was that his health became impaired.

     Failing health compelled him to leave college.

    It was not long before he was very sorry that he had said what he had.

     He soon repented of his words.

    As a rule, avoid making one passive depend directly upon another. Gold was not allowed to be exported. It was forbidden to export gold (The export of gold was prohibited).

    He has been proved to have been seen entering the building. It has been proved that he was seen to enter the building.

    In both the examples above, before correction, the word properly related to the second passive is made the subject of the first.

    A common fault is to use as the subject of a passive construction a noun which expresses the entire action, leaving to the verb no function beyond that of completing the sentence.

    A survey of this region was made in 1900. This region was surveyed in 1900.

    Mobilization of the army was rapidly carried out. The army was rapidly mobilized.

    Confirmation of these reports cannot be obtained. These reports cannot be confirmed.

    Compare the sentence, "The export of gold was prohibited," in which the predicate "was prohibited" expresses something not implied in "export." 12. Put statements in positive form.

    Make definite assertions. Avoid tame, colorless, hesitating,

    non-committal language. Use the word not as a means of denial or in antithesis, never as a means of evasion.

    He was not very often on time. He usually came late.

    She did not think that studying Latin was much use. She thought the study of Latin was useless.

    The Taming of the Shrew is rather weak in spots. Shakespeare does not portray Katharine as a very admirable character, nor does Bianca remain long in memory as an important character in Shakespeare's works. The women in The Taming of the Shrew are unattractive. Katharine is disagreeable, Bianca insignificant.

    The last example, before correction, is indefinite as well as negative. The corrected version, consequently, is simply a guess at the writer's intention. All three examples show the weakness inherent in the word not. Consciously or unconsciously, the reader is dissatisfied with being told only what is not, and wishes to be told what is. Hence, as a rule, it is better to choose an inherently negative adjective verb or adjective rather than using not.

    not honest dishonest

    not important trifling

    did not remember forgot

    did not pay any attention to ignored

    did not have much confidence in distrusted

    However, some words have no natural negative forms, and the writer must beware of sacrificing precision to concision: it is a distortion of the truth to report that a witness in court claimed to forget, when what he said was "I do not remember."

    The antithesis of negative and positive is strong:

    Not charity, but simple justice.

    Not that I loved Caesar less, but Rome the more.

    Negative words other than not are usually strong:

    The sun never set upon the British Empire.

    13. Omit needless words.

    Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words and 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 sentences short, or avoid all detail and treat the subject only in outline, or even use a style entirely free of verbal ornament but that every word tell.

    Many expressions in common use violate this principle:

    the question as to whether whether (the question whether)

    there is no doubt but that no doubt (doubtless)

    used for fuel purposes used as fuel

    he is a man who he

    in a hasty manner hastily

    on a daily basis every day

    this is a subject which this subject

    His story is a strange one. His story is strange.

    In particular, the expression the fact that should be revised out of every sentence in which it occurs.

    owing to the fact that since (because)

    in spite of the fact that though (although)

    call your attention to the fact that remind you (notify you) that I was unaware of the fact that I was unaware (did not know) that the fact that he had not succeeded his failure

    the fact that I had arrived my arrival

    See also under case, character, nature, system in Chapter V. Who is, which was, and the like are often superfluous.

    His brother, who is a member of the same firm His brother, a member of the same firm

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