Good Writing Style Essay

1624 words - 6 pages

The Elements of Style written by William Strunk and E.B. White, and Style: Toward Clarity and Grace written by Jospeh Williams both offer suggestions for establishing the comprehensive application of literary techniques and style. Each book, constructed differently, focuses on various areas of writing through comprehensive basic rules and guidelines. These books specifically identify the basic foundation for writing rules of usage, principle composition and offer suggestions for different types of style approach. The information provided also compels the average writer toward the necessary elements of the writing process through various methods of grammar, punctuation, and style implications. Though they are presented completely different, some of the basic style suggestions found in Strunk and White are somewhat similar to those in Williams. Both books propose that good writing style must consist of: clarity, precision, length, revision, cohesion, and reader sensitivity_all with the application of basic writing rules and guidelines. Although each book can be very helpful to the average writer, the intense amount of instruction may, at first, seem overwhelming.

I must honestly admit that Williams was not the easiest style guide to read. The longer paragraphs were easy to get through, but some of the examples were a little confusing and could have been seen as having ambiguous meanings. I think the book is written well, but I’m not sure that some of the examples were as “clear” as they could have been: maybe I was the only one who didn’t understand some of them. Regardless of their structure, I still managed to learn a lot about style. I’ve found that a writer must understand and naturally apply the necessary writing techniques in order to create an effective writing style. I’ve also come to understand the need for clarity. I cannot say that I now possess the true knowledge of how to combine all of the required elements of good, clear writing style, but I definitely have a better understanding of how to implement the basic strategies used to improve the writing process.

Style consists of much more than the basic understanding and application of writing rules and usage. A writer could very well write using all of the correct literary procedures, and still not provide what one might term as good writing style. Good writing style must essentially consist of the correct application of basic writing rules and usage, but must also contain a quality of elegant mode. Williams suggests that, “…with a stack of grammar books and usage manuals close by, we scrutinize every sentence for all possible “errors,” until we have learned the rules so well that we obey them without thought…But once we decide to follow all the rules, we deprive ourselves of stylistic flexibility”(178). Therefore, the objective is to apply the rules naturally, and to not allow guidelines to “get in the way” of our writing flow. I think, for the most part, at this...

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