There’s a need for more and more content as things go along and get more and more mobile, but that also means there’s a new need to revisit some of the rules of grammar that have held up since the First World War There’s room in today’s modern world of iPads, mobile apps and smartphones for some good old fashioned common sense when to comes to language, and that’s supplied best in The Elements of Style by Strunk and White.
The book has been teaching writers how to work their craft for years now and it all started just a short time after the turn of the last century when a college professor, no doubt upset with the bad grammar he was seeing at the time, decided to print a book privately that was referred to as the ‘little book’ by the students back then. The nickname was appropriate.
The book was short for good reason. William Strunk Jr. wanted to take all the complex rules for writing the English language and narrow them down until they “fit on the head of a pin” according to an introduction to one of the volumes written by E.B. White and that’s just what the book does in this age of needing to get right to the point as far as the written word goes.
When the author cries “Omit needless words” on one of the pages (different depending on which version you have, no doubt) it was meant to be a rallying cry for people who scribbled long before we were blogging, but who had the same needs from their written words that we do today—namely to write what we mean as succinctly as possible in as few words as possible.
The Elements of Style isn’t just one of the books that you read once and then remember fondly or use to fuel polite and witty conversation afterward, it’s a manual that should be referred to again and again so that you can not only improve your writing in these questionable linguistic times, but also hone the skills that will make you a better blogger and tie you to a long line of past writers who faced the same questions and issues with their writing that you do now.