We are rerunning the most-viewed articles of 2019. This was one of the top five most-popular writing and editing articles of the year.
“These are tools, not rules,” writing coach Roy Peter Clark once said in a lecture to journalists about writing.
That’s a helpful approach to take when one is tempted to chafe against William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White’s “The Elements of Style.”
One can find any number of writers tearing their hair out over the pair’s influence. “Strunk and White Suck (But Zinsser Is Excellent),” cries one blogger.
Whether you love it or hate it, “The Elements” can spark helpful habits as long you regard it as a set of recommendations of the right tool to use, rather than a book of Leviticus handed down from on high, to be obeyed lest one risk the wrath of Jehovah.