Essay PreviewMore ↓
‘Style’ is an idea that can mean different things to different people. Some like to define it in terms of ‘being one's self’ and going against the norm. But after reading two prominent style guides, "Style Towards Clarity and Grace," and "The Elements of Style," I began to form a different view on the subject as it pertains to writing. When attempting ‘good style’ and ‘good writing,’ writers should try to be original and not follow every rule religiously, but still follow some common writing elements. Many can increase usability for readers. A writer could make something completely unique and the only one who'd ‘get it’ might be himself. In "Style," John M. Williams says it this way: "But however well a writer understands principles, it is not enough for those who also want to articulate that understanding to others"(2). Unless we're writing in a diary, we write to ‘talk’ to other people and the style rules aid in this. That is where the style manuals come. They both outline many useful elements, but at the same time contain some that aren't needed by everyone.
The first of these manuals is "The Elements of Style." Of the two manuals read in the class, this one had the least information yet the highest usability. It outlines grammar, usage, and style elements into simple paragraphs lead by headers. The approach sacrifices the depth that's offered in "Style," but allows for quicker referencing. The first section of "Elements" outlines most of the common usage and grammar rules. Some examples are "Use proper case of proper noun," and "Use a colon after an independent clause to introduce a list…"(Struck and White 7-9). Some would find these rules obvious or tedious. They don't guarantee great writing or style, but its less likely that you'll make useable writings without them. Seamless grammar alone aids the flow of reading. Multiple errors might slow the reader down and divert focus to the errors rather than the main point. Even after years of college, its not uncommon to find usage and grammar mistakes in some of my own papers; therefore, I could use much of what's in here.
The next section of "Elements" talks about principles of composition. It's similar to the usage section in that nothing alone listed will create great writing, but following some rules will make better writing more likely to happen.
How to Cite this Page
"The Best in Style." 123HelpMe.com. 27 Jan 2020
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- No one teaches us how to be parents. As parents raise their children they hope to raise them to be good members of society. A child’s upbringing is reflected as they interact with other children and other people. When they come to act inappropriately or in a way society doesn’t see as normal, the person to blame is the parent. As a parent, today and always, they need to raise their child to meet the societal norms and at the same teach them to be good citizens. The parenting a person receives will be reflected when they form their own family.... [tags: Parenting styles, Parenting]
1121 words (3.2 pages)
- What is the best style for parenting our children. Many would ask and many would be right to extend the knowledge that perhaps certain kinds of parenting styles can be detrimental to our children. My research and paper aim to prove that authoritarian style parenting can be harmful to the child and can have grave effects on children’s social emotional development. Beginning my research I chose to look at not only the social emotional damaging effects but others areas of damage that can later on have effect on the different areas of social emotional development.... [tags: Parenting styles, Childhood, Psychology, Sociology]
1433 words (4.1 pages)
- What is Style. What is style, and how do we know when we have a style that is all our own. This is one thought that I ponder on cloudy dreary days, and when I have nothing better to do than think. In all actuality, do we even have a style we can call our own, or are we a conglomeration of what we like in the people around us. I would like to think I have my own style, but then reality sets in, and I start to realize I'm a clone of all the people I admire, and desire to be like. I has taken me a long time to realize that no matter how hard I tried to be my own person, I was still following in other peoples footsteps.... [tags: Style Personality Individuality Papers]
1971 words (5.6 pages)
- The Rococo art style in the 18th was a decorative style of art that originated in the hotels and salons of Paris. S and C curves, shells, wings, scrolls, plant tendril forms, and cartouches meaning elaborate frame, all distinguished Rococo. However, the Neoclassicism art style in the late 18th century portrayed the middle class society and unlike the composition of Rococo painted ceilings, its composition is simpler with limited figures. The Rococo and Neoclassical styles of art were both influenced by European life, reflected Europe’s culture, and had different political and social themes.... [tags: decorative style, art, Neoclassicism]
701 words (2 pages)
- Style I often wonder what style is, and how does a person know when they are in possession of it. Style is one of the many things that seem to change form day to day for me, and I'm never sure where it might lead me. I think we all have our own style, but how can we get away from having the same style that other people have. When I look through magazines, all I read is the same thing over and over, in a little different style, or voice. Then, when I look out the window, I see people dressed in about the same fashions.... [tags: Style Personality Individuality Papers]
1804 words (5.2 pages)
- Style After reading Strunk and White’s, The Elements of Style, Williams’, Style: Toward Clarity and Grace, and my peers’ reviews of these two books, I have come up with an all encompassing answer to the question: what is style, and what elements are most important to all writers. The answer is: there is no clear cut definition of style. It is ever changing; and is based on society’s views of what makes good writing, not necessarily the writer’s own thoughts on the matter. Therefore, the writer is better off following the set rules of grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure, determined by society; then adding her own voice.... [tags: Writing Styles Style Paper]
1566 words (4.5 pages)
- There are three styles of policing; the watchman style, the legalistic style, and the service style. The watchman style is mostly used in lower class communities; police officers intervene informally into the lives of the community residents to keep peace between them. The watchman style’s main concern is control of illegal and disturbing behavior. For example, this type of style is usually considered bias because of its way of working. It is crucial that police officers do not generate a concept prejudiced approach to any certain group or groups.... [tags: Police, Constable, Law enforcement]
756 words (2.2 pages)
- Throughout this semester, the approach I took towards writing, as well as my writing style, has been expanded tremendously due to the introduction of new methods of writing and research. I learned that there are many ways to write, and how to choose which way works best to effectively communicate my thoughts and ideas as a writer. This course involved many aspects of writing, and revolved around many different styles. To be successful, I had to learn and understand new ways of writing I had previously never experienced before.... [tags: Rhetoric, Writing, Writing style]
1097 words (3.1 pages)
- Authoritative style This style focuses on the end goals and gives freedom to employees in the ways they can achieve it. It is popular in organizations where explicit guidance is not required. These leaders inspire entrepreneurial spirit and display enthusiasm for the goals (Benincasa, 2012). Affiliative style For this style of leadership, the focus is on people. They try to create emotional bonds and belongingness between the employees and organization. This style would be useful when the team or organization is going through a stressful period.... [tags: Management, Leadership, Goal, Entrepreneurship]
957 words (2.7 pages)
- Growing With Style Defining writing style is somewhat like describing Big Foot. People study it, and talk about it, they try to enlighten others about it. But when it’s all said and done, you just rely on; “I’ll know it when I see it.” Style is not unique onto ourselves, but I think that we all, either as audience or as writer, have our own interpretation of style. For example, the University of Miami’s Philosophy and Literature Departments hold a Bad Writing Contest that gives mock prizes to the “worst published academic writing” that someone can find (Miami.edu).... [tags: Writing Style Styles Essays]
1098 words (3.1 pages)
The last section of "Elements" aims to teach more general style approaches. This section is the most flawed due to the vagueness of the half the advice and the obviousness of the rest, but more importantly, it tries to teach some style elements that don't always apply. One tip it gives is "Don't explain too much" (75). For example, the section says to avoid using adverbs after "he said"(75). These kinds of tips wouldn't be very helpful for writers like feature-writing journalists. Journalists many times have to give detailed accounts of actions and feelings while covering a tragic or intense event. For example, written sports analyses often contain vivid explanations to captures the feelings and actions of players during a champion game.
The second style manual we read was Williams’ "Style Toward Clarity and Grace." He takes what Strunk and White starts and adds more examples, details, and illustrations. If a writer takes serious time and effort to read it, they'd probably get much more out of it than S&W’s. S&W’s book would be the one I'd want to keep because of its brevity, but Williams’ gives you more to take in and think about. Much of the first part of the book expands on the discussion of active verbs that were looked over briefly in "Elements." He focuses in on passivity caused by abstract nouns and nominalization. Here's an example from the book: "Despise his knowledge of the need by cities for new revenues for the improvement of their schools,…"(Williams 21). In this introductory clause, all the actions, like ‘know’ and ‘improve,’ are in noun form. The result is writing that is abstract and will slow the reader down by making them mentally convert nouns back into verbs. Reducing both passivity and nominalization would improve numerous types of writing. You see it is too often in brochures, catalogs, and speeches. It's done to use larger words that sound smart overly important, yet it often ends up confusing readers, which might be the reason politicians do it, but doesn't explain why it's in college catalogs.
Another important style element that Williams discusses is the shifting of information. He recommended having less important info on the left and more important info for the right (68-69). He illustrates the point by converting part the book: "Moving the important information to the end of the sentence is another way to manage the flow of ideas" becomes "Another way you can manage the flow of ideas is to move the important information to the end of the sentence." The sentence has a sense of finality in the shifted version, and the last half leads well into information found in the rest of the paragraph. This style element could explain the use of introductory clauses and phrases in the English language; they let writers to put lesser info upfront.
In the "Usage" chapter, Williams spends a lot of time discussing which of the numerous style and grammar elements are valid and which are not. He takes a lot of time calling out grammarians who is insist on adhering to every rule at every time: "a few especially fastidious writers and editors try to honor and enforce every rule of usage…and there are a few writers and editors who know all the rules…but also know not that all of them are worth observing…"(Williams 178). This advice makes sense because it's not only the way people should write, it's the way people ideally should live their lives. If you know all of the information about a certain group of actions, you can reject the actions that aren't worth your time and focus on the actions that are. In many ways, Williams’ point could apply to S&W’s book. It gives you all you need to know about style, grammar, and usage, but you have the choose not to observe parts of it.
Both style manuals were useful and enjoyable in their own ways. "Style" tries to get you thinking about what the ‘rules’ are all about, while "Elements" just gives them to you in and out. It's a case of two manuals with similar goals taking different approaches. While it's enjoyable, "Style" is probably something I’d never read again. My normal reading is already full: newspapers, online stuff, and textbooks. Plus it's not something I’d like to experience over and over again– sort of like a 3-hour movie. But the knowledge gained from using "Style" in 328 will be helpful. The tiny "Elements" has a better chance of being looked at again for quick referencing.
Struck, William, and E.B. White. The Elements of Style. New York: Longman, 2000.
Williams, Joseph M.. Style Toward Charity and Grace. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1990.