On Being Specific, Definite, and Concrete

William Strunk Jr.


. . . the surest way to arouse and hold the attention of the reader is by
being specific, definite, and concrete.
The greatest writers … are effective largely because
they deal in particulars and report the details that matter.
Their words call up pictures.

~ William Strunk, Jr. (1869 – 1946)
American Professor of English at Cornell University,
Author of The Elements of Style

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Omit Needless Words

William Strunk Jr.


Omit needless words. Vigorous writing is concise.
A sentence should contain no unnecessary words,
a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that
a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and
a machine no unnecessary parts. 

~ William Strunk, Jr. (1869 – 1946)
American Professor of English at Cornell University,
Author of The Elements of Style
~

Related
The Words I Don’t Write
The Notes We Can Leave Out

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Write With Nouns and Verbs

William Strunk Jr.


Write with nouns and verbs, not adjectives and adverbs.

~ William Strunk, Jr. (1869 – 1946)
American Professor of English at Cornell University,
Author of The Elements of Style
~

Related
Verbs, the Secret Behind Fine Prose
Out You Go, Adjectives and Adverbs!

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Respect Your Reader’s Intelligence

E.B. White 3

No one can write decently who is distasteful of the reader’s intelligence,
or whose attitude is patronizing.

~ E.B. White (1899 – 1985)
American writer, essayist, creator of Charlotte’s Web,
and the man who updated and edited The Elements of Style, a writing and stylistic handbook by his Cornell professor William Strunk Jr., the evergreen guide embraced by generations of teachers, students, and writers

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Don’t Write about Man, Write About a Man

e.b. white 1

Don’t write about Man; write about a man. 

~ E.B. White (1899 – 1985)
American writer, essayist, creator of Charlotte’s Web,
and the man who updated and edited The Elements of Style, a writing and stylistic handbook by his Cornell professor William Strunk Jr., the evergreen guide embraced by generations of teachers, students, and writers

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