What are The Elements of Style?
The Elements of Style refers to
- a distinctive quality of discourse a writer employs in a composition and the appropriateness of those elements given the rhetorical situation. Examples of stylistic elements include
- Brevity, Clarity, Flow, Inclusiveness, Simplicity, and Unity
- the use of visual or alphabetical language
- semantic patterns (such as the use of deductive reasoning and a direct writing style),
- conventions, such as how to use correct punctuation or the use of grammatical parallelism
- rhetorical moves, such as the knowledge worker’s choice of that characterize and distinguish a writer’s prose style
- a critical framework, a set of discourse conventions and practices, that informs the composing practices and the interpretative practices of knowledge workers and discourse communities
- the title of a popular book on grammar, punctuation, mechanics, and style authored initially by William Strunk: The Elements of Style (1918).
Elements of Style Book
In 1918, when William Strunk’s first self published The Elements of Style, he aimed to concisely summarize the basic rules and conventions writers needed to follow in their prose style in order to write well. Strunk prized simplicity and clarity. He conceptualized the elements of style to be composed of a few elementary rules of usage and composition, a few matters of form, and some misspelled words and misused expressions:
Elements of Style PDF
- Strunk, William and E.B. White. The Elements of Style, 2nd Edition
Available from gutenberg.org
- Strunk, William and E.B. White. The Elements of Style, 4th Edition
Available from us.archive.org
Elements of Style in Contemporary Writing
And yet a lot of things have changed in the past century. Consider, as an example, recent changes to pronoun usage:
The internet and modern communication technologies create new opportunities for writers. The writing space is now more visual and multimodal. Especially in professional writing contexts, writers, speakers, knowledge workers are expected to break up long chunks of alphabetical discourse by using shorter paragraphs, less punctuation, headings, bullets, lists, data visualizations, and infographics. In some situations, they may integrate videos and audio files into their emails, letters, memos, and other texts.
As a result, the elements of style may now include tools from the artist’s toolset. Thus they may need declarative knowledge about