What is writing style? I started out thinking that writing style is a personal thing and that all writers have their own style. But, this way of thinking is really just a simple way to answer the question. After more careful thought, I realized that style is actually quite the opposite of personal and original. Style is a form of standardization. As writers, we all follow certain rules and guidelines to make our point. Style is these rules and guidelines.
For a writer to better understand style, multitudes of books and helpful guides have been published. Many are written as lists of rules about word choice, constructions to avoid, common stylistic traps, and other such things. One of these is The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White. Another type are the books that go into more detail that further explain why some things work in writing and some things don’t. Style Toward Clarity and Grace by Joseph M. Williams would fall into this category. Although written in a different manner they share the same goal; to present some of the most important rules in writing and style.
Some of the most essential elements of style are those that deal with commas. How to use a comma and where to place one can be quite confusing at times. With Strunk and White’s chapter 1 on Elementary Rules of Usage, they go into detail with examples for writers to better understand the usage of commas.
Rule number two exemplifies comma placement when dealing with three or more terms. Strunk and White say that in “a series of three or more terms with a single conjunction, use a comma after each term except the last” (Strunk and White, 2). One example they use to demonstrate this is
“red, white, and blue” (Strunk an...
... middle of paper ...
...ter may use several words that can be grouped together into one word. An example of this would be :
“Carefully read what you have written,” which can simply be replaced with the word, “edit” (Williams, 123).
This is one of the most tricky concepts of redundancy because there are no general rules to help you compress several words into one word or two. A writer can only be alert to the opportunity to do so, or try.
One must remember that writing style is not something that just happens, but rather something that is developed. With the help of guides like Elements of Style, or books like Style Toward Clarity and Grace, one can begin to develop one.
Joseph M. Williams. Style Towards Clarity and Grace. University of Chicago Press, 1995.
Strunk, William and White, E. B. The Elements of Style (4th ed.). Allyn & Bacon, Boston, MA, 2000.
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