Your Writing Style
How can one person know what good style is when writing a paper? Where is it written that we as students should have to follow specific guidelines while writing? Anyone wanting to make their writing clear, precise, and simply correct will usually try following some type of guideline, or book in order to perfect their own writing style. After reading both The Elements of Style by Strunk and White, and also Williams’s Style toward Clarity and Grace I can see why teachers discuss these books as tools for correcting and perfecting their students writing, and style. While at the same time understand someone out of the classroom setting, brushes up on their skills in writing with these books before they have to complete some type of report that needs to be concrete and readable.
Students and other writers should understand that while these books can be effective tools they simply are that a tool and not a style that should be studied, and copied word for word. In these two different forms of writing and style that are addressed by both authors I feel they are targeting different audiences that have two dissimilar styles. These books are great tools for perfecting our style as writers, but they should not be relied on too heavily by the writer. Everyone has a different angle of style they go for in their writing; these books simply either enhance that style, or with books like Strunk and White’s curtail that style into one of the authors.
Making a style one’s own is something most writers’ struggle with in the classroom and through out their careers because there are various types of books all claiming to be the “Bible” of style. These books are all geared toward certain audiences and readers that are easily persuaded to slam the pen down on their own writing and pick up the author’s pen writing the book. Instead of calling these books rule books they should be called suggestive writing tip books. Whereas, before someone thought if they did not follow the rule they were breaking it, now they can feel they are simply choosing to ignore some advice that may or may not have been helpful to them. This helps them to understand that not every time they “break” a rule is wrong, sometimes choosing to ignore the advice can have positive effects on their writing. Strunk and White, and Williams use very different approaches when addressing the issue of style.
Strunk and White, apply more of a straight forward approach strictly telling the reader to follow their rules word for word. Although, many students and teachers believe it is a mystery why they choose the rules in style that they put into their book. Are these places where students have the most trouble with their style, and diction? If not, then are they the pet peeves of an overtly critical no-nonsense teacher? It was my understanding that overall the students should not question the advice being given them;...