Style Controversy

Style Controversy

Length: 1288 words (3.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Style Controversy

Upon completion of the both stylebooks, Strunk and White and Williams, I have found that style is much more than whatever one sees fit for themselves. This is true at least for essay writing not necessarily creative writing. As with other debated subjects where guidelines are drawn as to what constitutes a good work of art, film, or music, writing has guidelines which good compositions fit into and can therefore be compared and contrasted with other works. That is not to say there is one way to do any essay but there are parameters which must be met and set for a paper to be critiqued.

S&W would like to set up a correct way to do everything; according to them there is only one right way and everything else is wrong. This authoritarian point of view on writing is scary but some of the things they say are poignant. For instance when they speak of participial phrases, as I have mentioned in my first blog writing, they tell and show how to do this correctly and it is easily implemented. “A participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence must refer to the grammatical subject” (13). To someone who understands what a participial phrase is along with what and where the grammatical subject of a sentence is this makes sense. It is clear, concise, and effective one can quickly look to the rule for reference and continue on with their paper.

When looking for quick reference on how to fix grammar mistakes this is a good way to go about finding answers but not for a stylebook. There needs to be more discussion. It would be nice to say that good style is just correct grammar and word usage but it’s not so.

Williams knows this and blatantly points this out in his preface of the book. He acknowledges that his book is different from stylebooks in the past mentioning that this book is not for everyone. Williams divulges secrets of the trade in an interesting although sometimes hard to grasp conversation with the reader on all subjects of writing. This does include grammatical problems and word usage concerns but Williams explains both sides and shows how at times both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ aspects of writing can be right depending on the context it is used in.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Style Controversy." 24 Aug 2019

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Controversy with Elvis Presley Essay

- Rock and roll music existed before Elvis Presley came along, but with his arrival on the performing scene, Americans could ignore it no longer. In 1956, he strode in front of a television camera for the first time as the provocative image of a high school hood and achieved an instant rapport with millions of U.S. teenagers who were experiencing their own adolescent rebellion. Hip-wiggling gyrations that brought a storm of protest from the adult world reinforced his popularity with young people, and he became the epitome of a whole generation that saw itself as defiant, disenchanted, and less inhibited than the one that had gone bef...   [tags: American Culture]

Research Papers
958 words (2.7 pages)

Huckleberry Finn, a Book of Controversy Essay

- Huckleberry Finn, a Book of Controversy Since its publication over one hundred years ago, Mark Twain?s Huckleberry Finn has caused many disagreements and much controversy. The style and language used by Mark Twain is found as offensive to some, uplifting to others and yet bittersweet to me. All sides have strong arguments, ones that are educated and heartfelt. That is what makes it so difficult to decide whether to teach or read aloud Huckleberry Finn in the classroom. Opponents of the teaching, or usage, of Huckleberry Finn in the classroom say that they find the book despicable, ?trash....   [tags: essays papers]

Free Essays
506 words (1.4 pages)

Plagiarism And The Controversy Of Plagiarism Essays

- With other people’s work becoming easier to access and the ability of copy and paste there is an increase of plagiarism but with this ability comes with many consequences of plagiarizing. Kimberly Embleton and Doris Small Helfer state that “the Internet and the World Wide Web have made academic dishonesty considerably easier and faster.” (Embleton & Helfer, 23) According to Authors Embleton and Helfer there are numerous web sites where papers can be bought or found for free but committing plagiarism in this way does not pay....   [tags: Plagiarism, Academic dishonesty, Credit]

Research Papers
1196 words (3.4 pages)

The Compounding Medicine Controversy Essay

- The Compounding Controversy Pharmacy is a booming field when it comes to medicine, but it certainly has controversial issues such as compounding drugs. While the practice of making drugs customized to a patient seems ethical, there are problems that come along with it. Drug compounding was the norm in the past, but over time consumers began to see issues with it. Drug compounding still occurs to this day because some patients do need medicine specifically tailored to their needs. Compounding has also been the focus of recent disasters, some of which occurred less than two years ago....   [tags: the medication business]

Research Papers
957 words (2.7 pages)

Solutions to the Church Music Controversy Essay

- Solutions to the Church Music Controversy There are many different approaches churches are taking to solve the controversial issue of the use of instrumental accompaniment to singing and contemporary ways of worshiping in churches. Contemporary churches are encouraging the use, whereas traditional churches are preaching against the use and are educating the people of their churches with what God and the Bible say about music. Some churches that use instruments in their services are holding different services for different types of audiences, like one for the elderly that will use the more traditional songs and hymns, and then another for the youth, or divorced, or the single people, or t...   [tags: Music]

Research Papers
1998 words (5.7 pages)

The Controversy Over Home Schooling Essay

- The Controversy Over Home Schooling In today’s society, the controversy over home schooling is a pertinent issue. Home schooling is known as the instruction of a pupil in an educational program outside of an established school, usually under the tutoring of the parent or guardian. Several debates exist over this current topic. Some have reasonable arguments in favor of home schooling, while many disagree with its process and the motives behind it. Both arguments have valid points that must be explored....   [tags: Essays Papers]

Research Papers
606 words (1.7 pages)

Essay on Controversy in Greek Tragedy Medea

- Controversy in Greek Tragedy Medea The Greek tragedy Medea is a tale of a woman scorn and the wrath that follows. The story is one of outright deceit, crippling revenge and questionable justice. It is typical of Greek tragedies in its simplicity, but atypical in the way it justifies horrific revenge. Medea is one of Euripides' most enduring plays. It and only a handful of others have survived the several thousand years since their conception. Medea is a typical Greek tragedy. The opening monologue sets the stage for the rest of the play, a typical prologue....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
571 words (1.6 pages)

Essay on Mark Twain: Controversy And Admiration

- Many writers have used their talents to influence the way a generation thinks, but few writers have had the remarkable influence of the legendary Mark Twain. In his books, you see insights into the human psyche and each word he wrote stirs both controversy and admiration. In the following paper, we will see if Mark Twain used this to show a true emotional bond between Huckleberry Finn and, the negro, Jim or if he used them to make the statement that these two races could live as one....   [tags: Writer Mark Twain]

Research Papers
1382 words (3.9 pages)

Essay on The Chris Ofili Controversy

- The Chris Ofili Controversy Most people may not know who Chris Ofili is, but chances are that many of them know one of his works, his painting “The Holy Virgin Mary”, displayed at the Brooklyn Museum of Art’s “Sensation” exhibition in 1999. The painting was extremely controversial because of Mary’s exposed breast being made of elephant dung and because of the porno cutouts surrounding Mary. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and others, saying that such works were not appropriate for public display, immediately attacked the painting, along with the entire showcase of art by different artists....   [tags: Painting Holy Virgin Mary Symbolism Essays]

Research Papers
2474 words (7.1 pages)

Celebrity Style Essays

- Celebrity Style The politics of Celebrity Style utilizes public popularity, lack of political interest, and media appeal to attract new voters and to gain influence in the political arena. As a child I spent many Sunday mornings watching WWF wrestling with my brother. Back then I would never have imagined that Jesse “The Body” Ventura would eventually become the governor of Minnesota. He was a public entertainer without a post-high school education, and little if no knowledge of politics. How he won the Minnesota Governor election may be a mystery to some....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
935 words (2.7 pages)

Related Searches

Style to Williams is more about getting your point across to the reader in an efficient manner. “Since a writer usually overestimates how much readers know, a writer should give readers more help than he thinks they need. This book lays out principles that help a writer predict how easily a reader will comprehend complex and unfamiliar material when that reader is not deeply versed in it”(xv). I tend to agree with him. I believe style changes from one subject to another but there is one constant in it, get some point across intelligently to the reader and always keep the reader in mind when composing an essay.

Style is personal, it’s the voice that comes across to the reader in the writing but if the reader cannot comprehend what the writer is trying to say how can a voice be heard? Perhaps the problem with Strunk and White is just that, whoever would derive their style from such a book would end up sounding like everyone else that did. But that was the goal of writers during the time in which the book was originally written; to sound alike, mimic those great writings done before your time, that’s the key to greatness. Williams addresses in his book as well.

The standard books on style don’t go much beyond high mindedness. They are all for accuracy, brevity, clarity, and so forth, but beyond offering good and bad examples, none of them explains how to achieve those ends. The standard books gesture toward audiences, but none of them explains in detail how a writer must anticipate what readers look for as they make their way through complex, usually unfamiliar material. Standard books seem wholly innocent of recent work done in the cognitive sciences, much of it centrally relevant to understanding the problems that readers have to solve every time they begin a new sentence. Standard books mainly address belletristic or journalistic writing. None of them reflects sustained experience working with writers in areas other than literature and journalism (i).

Keeping this in mind, how standard stylebooks deal with readers, Williams outlines to process one needs to go through to write a well-written paper. But I have already said well written doesn’t necessarily mean style. I look at it like this, if your wardrobe is filled with all designer clothes nothing but Prada, Luis Vitton, and Armani does that mean you are always going to look stylish. Of course not. Brand name clothes don’t mean you know not to wear navy with black or can pick out patterns that are flattering to your body type. It takes something more than the basics to have style. You have to be able to pull it off, it takes know with all. Just because you know how to make every sentence you write grammatically correct, each paragraph flow flawlessly into one another doesn’t mean you a. have a point or b. have style. Style is something more it’s avant garde. Sadly I feel many people have style but it’s pushed down so far do to books such and Strunk and White they forget how to use it.

By using books like S&W in their classes, teachers, tell students things like: be clear, write short sentences, don’t’ use conjunctions, etc. Rather than telling them these are the rules, know them, then with your reader in mind break them at your will. See what happens. This is to hard for teachers to do though they would rather have it one way and no exceptions. They figure students will find their style on their own and figure these things out later. I find that sad. We are too worried about confusing students that we allow them to write meaningless confusing papers for the sake of grammar.

An example of a college student’s paper was shown in class, Roxanne, poor Roxanne. She was obviously taught all the right grammar and how to structure a paper but she has no voice. The paper sounds like a boring pamphlet you would find at a welcome center in Ohio. In her paper, for a 100 level college English class, Roxanne talks of a family going to Cedar Point, an amusement park. She never once uses the word I. Reading the paper you feel this aching to use the word instead opting for ‘the family’. She has a plethora of Dick and Jane sentences, similar to those found in Strunk and White’s examples, she also lacks any creative ability at all. Roxannes is the perfect example of having no style. But I do not blame Roxanne for not having style it was the way she was taught to write. She was never told to entice the reader or to try to keep their attention, she was simply told to be correct.

Is this what the world is coming to? If stylebooks like Strunk and White continue to plague our educational facilities, yes. If we can implement Williams teachings this can be avoided, keep the reader in mind, I don’t think that’s too hard for a high school student to grasp. As long as that can be said style will come with time and effort.

Works Cited:

Stunk, William, White, E.B. The Elements of Style. 4th ed. Person Education Co. Needham Heights, Massachusetts. 2000. p. 13.

Williams, Joseph. Style Toward Clarity and Grace. University of Chicago Press. Chicago, Illinois. 1990. p. I-vx.
Return to