Monday, July 1, 2013

Happy birthday, William Strunk, Jr.

It is the birthday of professor William Strunk, Jr. (1869), the Cornell University English professor who wrote The Elements of Style (1918) as a concise writing guide to help his students. It was a collection of the writing rules focused particularly on the composition principles students tended to get wrong most often. Strunk published it privately and distributed it to his students, among whom it became known as "the little book." Decades later (1957), one of Strunk's students, E.B. White, came across his copy of "the little book" and wrote a column about it in The New Yorker. Macmillian and Company asked White to revise and modernize it. Today it is considered one of the most authoritative writer's guides in the world. In 2010, comic Steven Colbert whipped out his copy to make a point about the Oxford comma during his show on Comedy Central.

1 comment:

  1. Strunk and White, Elements of Style - "Omit needless words".


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