William Strunk, Jr.
The Elements of Style
N EW YORK 1918
P REFACE I I NTRODUCTORY
1 3 3 4 4 6 7 8 9 10 13 13 15 18 20 21 23 24 25 27 28 31 35 45
II E LEMENTARY RULES OF
1. Form the possessive singular of nouns with ’s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2. In a series of three or more terms with a single conjunction, use a comma after each term except the last . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3. Enclose parenthetic expressions between commas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4. Place a comma before and or but introducing an independent clause . . . . . . . 5. Do not join independent clauses by a comma . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6. Do not break sentences in two . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7. A participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence must refer to the grammatical subject . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8. Divide words at line-ends, in accordance with their formation and pronunciation .
III E LEMENTARY PRINCIPLES
9. Make the paragraph the unit of composition: one paragraph to each topic . . . . 10. As a rule, begin each paragraph with a topic sentence; end it in conformity with the beginning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11. Use the active voice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12. Put statements in positive form . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13. Omit needless words . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14. Avoid a succession of loose sentences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15. Express co-ordinate ideas in similar form . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16. Keep related words together . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17. In summaries, keep to one tense . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18. Place the emphatic words of a sentence at the end . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
FEW MATTERS OF FORM AND EXPRESSIONS COMMONLY MISUSED OFTEN MISSPELLED
V W ORDS VI W ORDS
Asserting that one must ﬁrst know the rules to break them, this classic reference is a must-have for any student and conscientious writer. Intended for use in which the practice of composition is combined with the study of literature, it gives in brief space the principal requirements of plain English style and concentrates attention on the rules of usage and principles of composition most commonly violated.
Kelly. The book covers only a small portion of the ﬁeld of English style. Howard Collins. T. Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch. Suggestions to Authors (United States Geological Survey). The numbers of the sections may be used as references in correcting manuscript. Interlude on Jargon. students proﬁt most by individual instruction based on the problems of their own work. Brown and Co. and that each instructor has his own body of theory. Manual of Style. Correct Composition (The Century Company). George McLane Wood. De Vinne. the rules of usage and principles of composition most commonly violated. Mr. George McLane Wood. Chicago University Press. The Art of Writing (Putnams). Extracts from the Style-Book of the Government Printing Ofﬁce (United States Geological Survey). The writer’s colleagues in the Department of English in Cornell University have greatly helped him in the preparation of his manuscript. but the experience of its writer has been that once past the essentials. in connection with Chapters III and V. Workmanship in Words (Little.Chapter I
This book is intended for use in English courses in which the practice of composition is combined with the study of literature. The following books are recommended for reference or further study: in connection with Chapters II and IV. John Leslie Hall.
. Foresman and Co. English Usage (Scott. James P. It aims to lighten the task of instructor and student by concentrating attention (in Chapters II and III) on a few essentials. L. It aims to give in brief space the principal requirements of plain English style. George McLane Wood has kindly consented to the inclusion under Rule 11 of some material from his Suggestions to Authors. especially the chapter. Rules for Compositors and Printers (Oxford University Press).). Horace Hart. F. which he prefers to that offered by any textbook. Author and Printer (Henry Frowde).).
by their guidance. he will probably do best to follow the rules. to the study of the masters of literature.
. When they do so.2
CHAPTER I. Unless he is certain of doing as well. to write plain English adequate for everyday uses. however. attained at the cost of the violation. for the secrets of style. the reader will usually ﬁnd in the sentence some compensating merit. let him look. After he has learned. INTRODUCTORY
It is an old observation that the best writers sometimes disregard the rules of rhetoric.
. and such forms as for conscience’ sake. Charles’s friend Burns’s poems the witch’s malice
This is the usage of the United States Government Printing Ofﬁce and of the Oxford University Press. Exceptions are the possessives of ancient proper names in -es and -is. Isis’ temple are commonly replaced by the heel of Achilles the laws of Moses the temple of Isis
The pronominal possessives hers. the possessive Jesus’. But such forms as Achilles’ heel. its. Moses’ laws.Chapter II
RULES OF USAGE
1. Thus write. for righteousness’ sake. theirs. yours. Form the possessive singular of nouns with ’s
Follow this rule whatever the ﬁnal consonant. and oneself have no apostrophe.
and blue honest. even if only a single term comes before it. Shipley and Company
The abbreviation etc.
. or a brief phrase.
CHAPTER II. use a comma after each term except the last
Thus write. If the interruption to the ﬂow of the sentence is but slight. is now in perfect health. but headstrong He opened the letter. red. energetic.
is indefensible. ELEMENTARY RULES OF USAGE
2. Colonel Nelson paid us a visit yesterday. is or is not parenthetic. is always preceded by a comma. the writer may safely omit the commas. Such punctuation as Marjorie’s husband. In a series of three or more terms with a single conjunction. as Brown. unless you are pressed for time.
This rule is difﬁcult to apply. read it and made a note of its contents. such as however. it is frequently hard to decide whether a single word. is to travel on foot. My brother you will be pleased to hear.
This is also the usage of the Government Printing Ofﬁce and of the Oxford University Press. white. In the names of business ﬁrms the last comma is omitted. he must never omit one comma and leave the other. But whether the interruption be slight or considerable.. Enclose parenthetic expressions between commas
The best way to see a country.
which had at ﬁrst been indifferent. Napoleon was born in 1769. is a few miles from Bridgewater. Later it became more and more interested. The candidate who best meets these requirements will obtain the place.
Restrictive relative clauses are not set off by commas. in accordance with this rule. set off by commas. At that time Corsica had but recently been acquired by France. Nether Stowey. parenthetically. Unlike those above. became more and more interested. are always preceded by a comma. In 1769. where Coleridge wrote The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
Similar clauses introduced by where and when are similarly punctuated. and except at the end of a sentence. when Napoleon was born. when. Each sentence is a combination of two statments which might have been made independently. they do not limit the application of the words on which they depend. the sentence cannot be split into two independent statements.
In these sentences the clauses introduced by which. Corsica had but recently been acquired by France.5 Non-restrictive relative clauses are. The audience was at ﬁrst indifferent. The abbreviations etc. but add. statements supplementing those in the principal clauses. The audience. Nether Stowey is only a few miles from Bridgewater.
In this sentence the relative clause restricts the application of the word candidate to a single person. Coleridge wrote The Rime of the Ancient Mariner at Nether Stowey. followed by one. and jr. and where are non-restrictive.
The two sentences might be rewritten: As the early records of the city have disappeared. not after it. The situation is perilous. Place a comma before and or but introducing an independent clause
The early records of the city have disappeared. and the story of its ﬁrst years can no longer be reconstructed. the relation is that of cause and result. may seem to be in need of rewriting.
4. In this perilous situation. In the example above. As they make complete sense when the comma is reached. greeted us with a smile. it indicates only that a relation exists between them without deﬁning that relation. 6. the story of its ﬁrst years can no longer be reconstructed. Although the situation is perilous. the second clause has the appearance of an after-thought. there is still one chance of escape. Further. He saw us coming.
Or the subordinate clauses might be replaced by phrases: Owing to the disappearance of the early records of the city. is the least speciﬁc of connectives. and 18 should afford sufﬁcient guidance. place the ﬁrst comma before the conjunction.6
CHAPTER II. isolated from their context. 7. Used between independent clauses.
Sentences of this type. and unaware that we had learned of his treachery. 16.
. ELEMENTARY RULES OF USAGE
Similar in principle to the enclosing of parenthetic expressions between commas is the setting off by commas of phrases or dependent clauses preceding or following the main clause of a sentence. If a parenthetic expression is preceded by a conjunction. 5. and. the story of its ﬁrst years can no longer be reconstructed. The sentences quoted in this section and under Rules 4. but there is still one chance of escape. there is still one chance of escape.
. We cannot reach town before dark. grammatically complete and not joined by a conjunction. It is nearly half past ﬁve. no comma is needed after the conjunction. or. see the next section. there is still one chance of escape. for they are full of exciting adventures. Stevenson’s romances are entertaining. If a dependent clause. Stevenson’s romances are entertaining. Consequently. but if we are prepared to act promptly.
For two-part sentences connected by an adverb. precedes the second independent clause. the proper mark is a comma (Rule 4). Two-part sentences of which the second member is introduced by as (in the sense of because). for. the proper mark of punctuation is a semicolon. or an introductory phrase requiring to be set off by a comma. we cannot reach town before dark.
5. They are full of exciting adventures. replacing the semicolons by periods. and an occasional loose sentence prevents the style from becoming too formal and gives the reader a certain relief. are to form a single compound sentence. they are full of exciting adventures. loose sentences of the type ﬁrst quoted are common in easy. But a writer should be careful not to construct too many of his sentences after this pattern (see Rule 14).
It is of course equally correct to write the above as two sentences each. Do not join independent clauses by a comma
If two or more clauses. unstudied writing.
If a conjunction is inserted. The situation is perilous. Stevenson’s romances are entertaining. It is nearly half past ﬁve.7 But a writer may err by making his sentences too uniformly compact and periodic. nor. and while (in the sense of and at the same time) likewise require a comma before the conjunction.
there is danger that the writer who uses it at all may use it too often. A simple correction. and are alike in form. usually serviceable. such as accordingly. and the following word begun with a small letter.8
CHAPTER II. then. and begin the ﬁrst clause with as: As I had never been in the place before. Coming home from Liverpool to New York.
. in writing. so I had difﬁculty in ﬁnding my way about. do not use periods for commas. the bridge fell. Do not break sentences in two
In other words. the ﬁrst period should be replaced by a comma. it is best. a comma is usually permissible: Man proposes.
In both these examples. and lived in half a dozen countries. so. I had never been in the place before. besides. I met them on a Cunard liner several years ago. to avoid using so in this manner. The gate swung apart. and we cannot reach town before dark. and not by a conjunction.
Note that if the second clause is preceded by an adverb. the portcullis was drawn up. however. He was an interesting talker. ELEMENTARY RULES OF USAGE
It is nearly half past ﬁve. the semicolon is still required. is to omit the word so. A man who had traveled all over the world. or thus.
If the clauses are very short. God disposes.
6. I had difﬁculty in ﬁnding my way about. therefore.
On arriving in Chicago. they should be so thoroughly mastered that their application becomes second nature. accompanied by two children. If the writer wishes to make it refer to the woman. adjectives. A soldier of proved valor. they entrusted him with the defence of the city. A participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence must refer to the grammatical subject
Walking slowly down the road. the temptation proved irresistible. On his arrival) in Chicago. Without a friend to counsel him. Without a friend to counsel him. When he arrived (or. nouns in apposition. No reply. Young and inexperienced. and 6 cover the most important principles in the punctuation of ordinary sentences. Young and inexperienced. however.
7. I thought the task easy.
Participial phrases preceded by a conjunction or by a preposition. and that he will not be suspected of a mere blunder in punctuation. he was entrusted with the defence of the city. walking slowly down the road. be certain that the emphasis is warranted. 5.
. and adjective phrases come under the same rule if they begin the sentence. he must recast the sentence: He saw a woman. not to the woman. his friends met him at the station. he saw a woman accompanied by two children.
The writer must. the task seemed easy to me. his friends met him at the station. A soldier of proved valor. 4. Rules 3. he found the temptation irresistible.9 It is permissible to make an emphatic word or expression serve the purpose of a sentence and to punctuate it accordingly: Again and again he called out.
The word walking refers to the subject of the sentence.
or cutting off only two letters of a long word. Divide the word according to its formation: know-ledge (not knowl-edge) Shake-speare (not Shakes-peare) de-scribe (not des-cribe) atmo-sphere (not atmos-phere) B.
8. Divide between double letters.10
CHAPTER II. Divide words at line-ends. I was able to buy the house very cheap. but not for the whole word. The principles most frequently applicable are: A. Being in a dilapidated condition. unless this involves cutting off only a single letter. divide the word. Divide “on the vowel:” edi-ble (not ed-ible) ordi-nary reli-gious regu-lar deco-rative propo-sition espe-cial oppo-nents classi-ﬁ-ca-tion sions possible) presi-dent (three divi-
C. No hard and fast rule for all words can be laid down. in accordance with their formation and pronunciation
If there is room at the end of a line for one or more syllables of a word. ELEMENTARY RULES OF USAGE
Sentences violating this rule are often ludicrous. unless they come at the end of the simple form of the word: Apen-nines refer-ring Cincin-nati tell-ing
The treatment of consonants in combination is best shown from examples:
for-tune presump-tuous sub-stan-tial (either division) instruc-tion incen-diary
pic-ture illus-tration indus-try sug-ges-tion
The student will do well to examine the syllable-division in a number of pages of any carefully printed book.
ELEMENTARY RULES OF USAGE
Thus a brief description. a brief account of a single incident. to aid the reader. Account of the work. B. it should be examined to see whether subdivision will not improve it. The object of treating each topic in a paragraph by itself is.Chapter III
9. The extent of subdivision will vary with the length of the composition. or if you intend to treat it very brieﬂy. a subject requires subdivision into topics. The beginning of each paragraph is a signal to him that a new step in the development of the subject has been reached. any one of these is best written in a single paragraph. the setting forth of a single idea. One slightly longer might consist of two paragraphs: A. a narrative merely outlining an action. For example. each of which should be made the subject of a paragraph. however. Critical discussion. of course. Make the paragraph the unit of composition: one paragraph to each topic
If the subject on which you are writing is of slight extent.
. Ordinarily. a short notice of a book or poem might consist of a single paragraph. After the paragraph has been written. a brief summary of a literary work. there may be no need of subdividing it into topics.
single sentences should not be written or printed as paragraphs. might consist of seven paragraphs: A. paragraph C need contain no more than a concise summary of the action. What led up to the event. An exception may be made of sentences of transition. when
. C. Setting. Wherein characteristic of the writer. E. if these call for explanation. the writer would probably ﬁnd it necessary to subdivide one or more of the topics here given. ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION
A report on a poem. Kind of poem. Plot. or would indicate what points in the narrative are chieﬂy emphasized. and would then state the subject and outline its development. What the event led up to. A historical event might be discussed under the heads: A. In dialogue. G. Relationship to other works. metrical form. Account of the event. In treating either of these last two subjects. paragraph C would indicate the actual or imagined circumstances of the poem (the situation). F. B. a new paragraph begins with each change of speaker. that is. C. D. each speech. written for a class in literature.14
CHAPTER III. indicating the relation between the parts of an exposition or argument. is a paragraph by itself. B. The contents of paragraphs C and D would vary with the poem. Paragraph D would indicate the leading ideas and show how they are made prominent. If the poem is a narrative in the third person throughout. The application of this rule. B. Treatment of subject. D. C. Purpose. As a rule. even if only a single word. Subject. A novel might be discussed under the heads: A. Characters. For what chieﬂy remarkable. Facts of composition and publication. Usually.
the succeeding sentences explain or establish or develop the statement made in the topic sentence. he may carry out several of these processes.
1 Topic sentence. and to retain the purpose in mind as he ends it. end it in conformity with the beginning
Again. The practice here recommended enables him to discover the purpose of each paragraph as he begins to read it. for the same reason) in the topic sentence. by giving illustrations or speciﬁc instances. or with an unimportant detail. it is something else and more in the nature of a picnic. is that in which A. Sometimes. This can sometimes be done by a mere word or phrase (again.
2 The meaning made clearer by denial of the contrary. and C. therefore. is particularly to be avoided. it is generally better to set apart the transitional sentences as a separate paragraph. by denying the converse. relate the body of the paragraph to the topic sentence in one or more of several different ways. to be properly enjoyed. 2 If you go in a company. he may establish it by proofs. is best learned from examples in well-printed works of ﬁction. however. the most generally useful kind of paragraph. If the paragraph forms part of a larger composition. the topic sentence comes at or near the beginning. According to the writer’s purpose. a walking tour should be gone upon alone. Ending with a digression.15 dialogue and narrative are combined. he may.
. may need to be expressed. as indicated above. its relation to what precedes. 1 Now. the object is to aid the reader. or its function as a part of the whole. or he may develop it by showing its implications and consequences. by deﬁning its terms. it is no longer a walking tour in anything but name. For this reason. particularly in exposition and argument. it is expedient to precede the topic sentence by one or more sentences of introduction or transition. He may make the meaning of the topic sentence clearer by restating it in other forms.
10. B. As a rule. begin each paragraph with a topic sentence. the ﬁnal sentence either emphasizes the thought of the topic sentence or states some important consequence. In a long paragraph. If more than one such sentence is required. or even in pairs.
8 There should be no cackle of voices at your elbow. to jar on the meditative silence of the morning. 4 And you must be open to all impressions and let your thoughts take colour from what you see. in language ampliﬁed and heightened to form a strong conclusion. ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION
3 A walking tour should be gone upon alone.
4 A fourth reason. the meaning of the third (“you must have your own pace”) made clearer by denying the converse. 9 And so long as a man is reasoning he cannot surrender himself to that ﬁne intoxication that comes of much motion in the open air.
6-7 The same reason as stated by Hazlitt.” 7 When I am in the country. that begins in a sort of dazzle and sluggishness of the brain.
3 The topic sentence repeated. because you should be able to stop and go on. because freedom is of the essence. “of walking and talking at the same time. 5 You should be as a pipe for any wind to play upon. which is the gist of all that can be said upon the matter. as the freak takes you.
8 Repetition. and supported by three reasons. nor mince in time with a girl. Stevenson. and neither trot alongside a champion walker.
9 Final statement of the fourth reason. and follow this way or that. stated in still another form. and ends in a peace that passes comprehension.
5 The same reason. in paraphrase. Walking Tours. in abridged form. of the quotation from Hazlitt. stated in two forms.
. 6 “I cannot see the wit. and because you must have your own pace. I wish to vegetate like the country.16
CHAPTER III.” says Hazlitt.
to explain or illustrate the successive phases of national growth. the dominant ideas that prevailed in successive periods. fall. prosperity. -Lecky. and modiﬁcation of political constitutions.
. all the conditions of national wellbeing became the subjects of their works. 4 They sought rather to write a history of peoples than a history of kings. the changes that take place in manners or beliefs. 3 The history of morals. 2 Historians then came to believe that their task was not so much to paint a picture as to solve a problem. in a word. and hoped by applying the experimental method on a large scale to deduce some lessons of real value about the conditions on which the welfare of society mainly depend. The Political Value of History. 5 The deﬁnition supplemented: another element in the new conception of history.17
1 It was chieﬂy in the eighteenth century that a very different conception of history grew up.
4 The deﬁnition explained by contrast. the rise. and adversity. the new conception of history deﬁned. and of art.
3 The deﬁnition expanded. of intellect.
1 Topic sentence.
6 Conclusion: an important consequence of the new conception of history. 5 They looked especially in history for the chain of causes and effects. of industry. 6 They undertook to study in the past the physiology of nations.
2 The meaning of the topic sentence made clearer.
The latter sentence is less direct. are often without even this semblance of a topic sentence.
. less bold. if too often used. throwing into prominence some detail of the action. ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION
In narration and description the paragraph sometimes begins with a concise.18
11. More commonly the opening sentence simply indicates by its subject with what the paragraph is to be principally concerned. and less concise. comprehensive statement serving to hold together the details that follow.
The brief paragraphs of animated narrative. however. and they emerged on the roof. The breeze served us admirably. He picked up the heavy lamp from the table and began to explore.
This is much better than My ﬁrst visit to Boston will always be remembered by me. If the writer tries to make it more concise by omitting “by me. would become a mannerism. Another ﬂight of steps.
But this device. The campaign opened with a series of reverses. The break between them serves the purpose of a rhetorical pause. Use the active voice
The active voice is usually more direct and vigorous than the passive: I shall always remember my ﬁrst visit to Boston. The next ten or twelve pages were ﬁlled with a curious set of entries.” My ﬁrst visit to Boston will always be remembered. At length I thought I might return towards the stockade.
mean that the writer should entirely discard the passive voice. determine which voice is to be used. as in these examples. The sound of the falls could still be heard. The dramatists of the Restoration are little esteemed to-day. but in writing of any kind. Dead leaves the ground. It was not long before he was very sorry that he had said what he had. The reason that he left college was that his health became impaired. The need of making a particular word the subject of the sentence will often. The habitual use of the active voice. Many a tame sentence of description or exposition can be made lively and emphatic by substituting a transitive in the active voice for some such perfunctory expression as there is.19 it becomes indeﬁnite: is it the writer. covered
The sound of the falls still reached our ears. or some person undisclosed. Gold was not allowed to be exported.
As a rule. in a paragraph on the tastes of modern readers. that will always remember this visit? This rule does not. the second. This is true not only in narrative principally concerned with action. avoid making one passive depend directly upon another. which is frequently convenient and sometimes necessary. There were a great number of dead leaves lying on the ground. makes for forcible writing. Failing health compelled him to leave college.
He soon repented his words. however. of course. It was forbidden to export gold (The export of gold was prohibited).
. Modern readers have little esteem for the dramatists of the Restoration. or the world at large. or could be heard.
The ﬁrst would be the right form in a paragraph on the dramatists of the Restoration.
Katharine is disagreeable. A common fault is to use as the subject of a passive construction a noun which expresses the entire action. Shakespeare does not portray Katharine as a very admirable character. A survey of this region was made in 1900. This region was surveyed in 1900. He was not very often on time.20
CHAPTER III. These reports be conﬁrmed. Conﬁrmation of these reports cannot be obtained. colorless. Bianca insigniﬁcant. non-committal language. He usually came late. Avoid tame. cannot
Compare the sentence. The army was rapidly mobilized.”
It has been proved that he was seen to enter the building.
The women in The Taming of the Shrew are unattractive.
In both the examples above.
. “The export of gold was prohibited. Put statements in positive form
Make deﬁnite assertions. He did not think that studying Latin was much use. never as a means of evasion.” in which the predicate “was prohibited” expresses something not implied in “export. the word properly related to the second passive is made the subject of the ﬁrst. leaving to the verb no function beyond that of completing the sentence. Mobilization of the army was rapidly carried out. He thought the study of Latin useless. The Taming of the Shrew is rather weak in spots. hesitating. Use the word not as a means of denial or in antithesis. ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION
He has been proved to have been seen entering the building. nor does Bianca remain long in memory as an important character in Shakespeare’s works. before correction.
13. it is better to express a negative in positive form. but simple justice. Hence. or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short. he wishes to be told what is. Many expressions in common use violate this principle: the question as to whether there is no doubt but that used for fuel purposes whether (the question whether) no doubt (doubtless) used for fuel
. but Rome the more. All three examples show the weakness inherent in the word not.21 The last example. The corrected version. as a rule. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words. Consciously or unconsciously. Omit needless words
Vigorous writing is concise. but that every word tell. the reader is dissatisﬁed with being told only what is not. for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. is simply a guess at the writer’s intention. not honest not important did not remember did not pay any attention to did not have much conﬁdence in dishonest triﬂing forgot ignored distrusted
The antithesis of negative and positive is strong: Not charity. Not that I loved Caesar less. a paragraph no unnecessary sentences. is indeﬁnite as well as negative.
Negative words other than not are usually strong: The sun never sets upon the British ﬂag. consequently. before correction.
owing to the fact that in spite of the fact that call your attention to the fact that I was unaware of the fact that the fact that he had not succeeded the fact that I had arrived since (because) though (although) remind you (notify you) I was unaware that (did not know) his failure my arrival
See also under case. Who is. which was Nelson’s last battle His brother. ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION
he is a man who in a hasty manner this is a subject which His story is a strange one.22
he hastily this subject His story is strange. which was. many of the examples given under Rules 11 and 12 illustrate this rule as well.
In especial the expression the fact that should be revised out of every sentence in which it occurs. system in Chapter V. Nelson’s last battle
As positive statement is more concise than negative. and the active voice more concise than the passive. and the like are often superﬂuous. character. nature. who is a member of the same ﬁrm Trafalgar. His brother. a member of the same ﬁrm Trafalgar.
23 A common violation of conciseness is the presentation of a single complex idea. when. while the latter proved itself fully deserving of its high reputation.)
Encouraged by his wife. The third concert of the subscription series was given last evening. Mr. The former showed himself to be an artist of the ﬁrst rank. a series soon becomes monotonous and tedious. the paragraph above is bad because of the structure of its sentences. (55 words. where. The witches told him that this wish of his would come true. Edward Appleton was the soloist. and a large audience was in attendance. the second introduced by a conjunction or relative. using as connectives and. (26 words. He was thus enabled to succeed Duncan as king. and less frequently. Although single sentences of this type may be unexceptionable (see under Rule 4). in a series of sentences which might to advantage be combined into one. The interest aroused by the series has been very gratifying to the Committee. This led him to wish to become king of Scotland. with their mechanical symmetry and sing-song. and it is planned to give a similar series annually hereafter. step by step. Contrast with them the sentences in the paragraphs quoted under Rule 10. Macbeth was very ambitious. but. which.
Apart from its triteness and emptiness. Macbeth murdered Duncan. these last in non-restrictive senses (see under Rule 3). those consisting of two co-ordinate clauses. who. when an equally attractive programme will be presented. Encouraged by his wife.
. The fourth concert will be given on Tuesday. Avoid a succession of loose sentences
This rule refers especially to loose sentences of a particular type. as the preface (Before the Curtain) to Vanity Fair. May 10. or in any piece of good English prose.)
14. Macbeth achieved his ambition and realized the prediction of the witches by murdering Duncan and becoming king of Scotland in his place. and while. The king of Scotland at this time was Duncan. An unskilful writer will sometimes construct a whole paragraph of sentences of this kind. and the Boston Symphony Orchestra furnished the instrumental music.
he should recast enough of them to remove the monotony. requires that expressions of similar content and function should be outwardly similar. and the Portuguese In spring. ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION
If the writer ﬁnds that he has written a series of sentences of the type described. but. science was taught by the textbook method. Formerly. Spanish. or in winter
Correlative expressions (both. It is true that in repeating a statement in order to emphasize it he may have need to vary its form. By this principle. an article or a preposition applying to all the members of a series must either be used only before the ﬁrst term or else be repeated before each term. But apart from this. ﬁrst.
The left-hand version gives the impression that the writer is undecided or timid. by sentences of two clauses joined by a semicolon. he should follow the principle of parallel construction. the panish. and. not. from a mistaken belief that he should constantly vary the form of his expressions. The unskilful writer often violates this principle. summer. Many violations of this rule can be corrected by rearranging the sentence. For illustration. replacing them by simple sentences. the Italians. or. or in winter)
In spring. Formerly.
15. and Portuguese The French. science was taught by the textbook method. or winter (In spring. loose or periodic. the Italians. the Beatitudes. and the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer. while now the laboratory method is employed. The right-hand version shows that the writer has at least made his choice and abided by it. that of parallel construction. The likeness of form enables the reader to recognize more readily the likeness of content and function. he seems unable or afraid to choose one form of expression and hold to it. but also. second. now it is taught by the laboratory method.24
CHAPTER III. not only. Familiar instances from the Bible are the Ten Commandments. see the paragraph from Stevenson quoted under Rule 10. Express co-ordinate ideas in similar form
This principle. by sentences. in summer. third. by periodic sentences of two clauses. either. and the like) should be followed by the same grammatical construction. summer. of three clauses-whichever best represent the real relations of the thought. The French.
gives a minute description of this church. The subject of a sentence and the principal verb should not. The writer must therefore. is changed into steel. bring together the words. but action Either you must grant his request or incur his ill will. By treatment in a Bessemer converter. second. In the ﬁfth book of The Excursion. does not usually hold when the order
. A time not for words. say twenty? Must he write twenty consecutive sentences of the same pattern? On closer examination he will probably ﬁnd that the difﬁculty is imaginary.25
It was both a long ceremony and very tedious. second. and that he need apply the principle only within each group. Otherwise he had best avoid the difﬁculty by putting his statements in the form of a table. what if a writer needs to express a very large number of similar ideas. so far as possible. that it is unconstitutional. My objections are.
See also the third example under Rule 12 and the last under Rule 13. Wordsworth. Keep related words together
The position of the words in a sentence is the principal means of showing their relationship.
The objection is that the interposed phrase or clause needlessly interrupts the natural order of the main clause. when treated in a Bessemer converter. however. Wordsworth gives a minute description of this church. cast iron is changed into steel. that it is unconstitutional. the injustice of the measure. in the ﬁfth book of The Excursion. A time not for words. My objections are. ﬁrst. Cast iron. that are related in thought. as a rule. that the measure is unjust. ﬁrst. that his twenty ideas can be classiﬁed in groups. It may be asked. This objection. but for action You must either grant his request or incur his ill will. and groups of words.
The ceremony was both long and tedious.
16. be separated by a phrase or clause that can be transferred to the beginning. and keep apart those which are not so related.
If several expressions modify the same word. immediately after its antecedent. his brother. who
A noun in apposition may come between antecedent and relative. the relative comes at the end of the group. who became President in 1889. The Duke of York. if possible next to the word they modify. There was a look in his eye that boded mischief. grandson of William Henry Harrison. they should be so arranged that no wrong relation is suggested. Benjamin Harrison.26
CHAPTER III. The Superintendent of the Chicago Division. unless this would cause ambiguity. which has been variously judged
The grandson of William Henry Harrison. He published in Harper’s Magazine three articles about his adventures in Spain. Nor does it hold in periodic sentences in which the interruption is a deliberately used means of creating suspense (see examples under Rule 18). The relative pronoun should come. This is a portrait of Benjamin Harrison. who
A proposal to amend the Sherman Act. which has been variously judged. because in such a combination no real ambiguity can arise. This is a portrait of Benjamin Harrison. who A proposal. which were published in Harper’s Magazine. who was regarded with hostility by the Whigs
Modiﬁers should come. as a rule. grandson of William Henry Harrison. He wrote three articles about his adventures in Spain. He became President in 1889. ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION
is interrupted only by a relative clause or by an expression in apposition. to amend the Sherman Act A proposal to amend the muchdebated Sherman Act William Henry Harrison’s grandson.
If the antecedent consists of a group of words. In his eye was a look that boded mischief.
meanwhile. In summarizing a poem.
17. story. if in the past. whichever tense the writer chooses. Major R. Major R. owing to her father’s arbitrary change of the day set for her wedding.. He found only two mistakes.” The public is invited. with the result that Balthasar informs Romeo of her supposed death before Friar Lawrence learns of the nondelivery of the letter. In summaries. that what follows is summary. The Legate inquires who struck the blow. An unforeseen chance prevents Friar John from delivering Friar Lawrence’s letter to Romeo. he should use throughout.
But whichever tense be used in the summary. E. once for all. In presenting the statements or the thought of some one else. keep to one tense
In summarizing the action of a drama. has been compelled to drink the potion on Tuesday night. as in summarizing an essay or reporting a speech.E. by the past perfect. the writer should always use the present tense.” “the speaker added. on “My Experiences in Mesopotamia” at eight P. Joyce will give in Bailey Hall a lecture on “My Experiences in Mesopotamia. or novel.
Not all the members were present.
Apart from the exceptions noted. antecedent action should be expressed by the perfect.” “the speaker then went on to say. the writer should avoid intercalating such expressions as “he said. Juliet.
. and then waste no words in repeating the notiﬁcation. he should preferably use the present. Joyce will give a lecture on Tuesday evening in Bailey Hall. to which the public is invited. If the summary is in the present tense. He only found two mistakes.” “he stated.” or the like. He should indicate clearly at the outset.M.” “the author also thinks.M. a past tense in indirect discourse or in indirect question remains unchanged. Shifting from one tense to the other gives the appearance of uncertainty and irresolution (compare Rule 15).27
All the members were not present. though he may use the past if he prefers. On Tuesday evening at eight P.
that is. and for children in primary schools it is a useful exercise to retell a story in their own words. ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION
In notebooks. Place the emphatic words of a sentence at the end
The proper place for the word. since that time. thrusting away all private aims. Christopher Columbus. which the writer desires to make most prominent is usually the end of the sentence. Similarly. seeking for Spain a westward passage to the Indies as a setoff against the achievements of Portuguese discoverers. Four centuries ago.28
CHAPTER III. But in the criticism or interpretation of literature the writer should be careful to avoid dropping into summary. not a summary with occasional comment. has advanced in many other ways. summaries of one kind or another may be indispensable. Because of its hardness. Humanity. this steel is principally used in making razors. in newspapers. he will as a rule do better not to take them up singly in chronological order. But he should aim to write an orderly discussion supported by evidence. as it is in the second example.
18. With these hopes and in this belief I would urge you.
. because of its hardness. Humanity has hardly advanced in fortitude since that time. He may ﬁnd it necessary to devote one or two sentences to indicating the subject. the new element in the sentence. but it has hardly advanced in fortitude. or the opening situation. to devote yourselves unswervingly and unﬂinchingly to the vigorous and successful prosecution of this war. lighted on America. laying aside all hindrance. but to aim from the beginning at establishing general conclusions. if the scope of his discussion includes a number of works. one of the Italian mariners whom the decline of their own republics had put at the service of the world and of adventure.
The word or group of words entitled to this position of prominence is usually the logical predicate. This steel is principally used for making razors. though it has advanced in many other ways. in handbooks of literature. he may cite numerous details to illustrate its qualities. The effectiveness of the periodic sentence arises from the prominence which it gives to the main statement. or group of words. of the work he is discussing.
like works of nature.
The principle that the proper place for what is to be made most prominent is the end applies equally to the words of a sentence. the subject of a sentence must take the position of the predicate. but hardly by its position alone. Deceit or treachery he could never forgive. Any element in the sentence. and to the paragraphs of a composition.
the emphasis upon kings arises largely from its meaning and from the context.
. Great kings worshipped at his shrine.29 The other prominent position in the sentence is the beginning. at ﬁrst sight. So vast and rude. becomes emphatic when placed ﬁrst. the fragments of this architecture may often seem. In the sentence. Through the middle of the valley ﬂowed a winding stream. to the sentences of a paragraph. other than the subject.
A subject coming ﬁrst in its sentence may be emphatic. fretted by the action of nearly three thousand years. To receive special emphasis.
CHAPTER III. ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION
1918 Rule 3
Chapter XII 352d Infantry
Parentheses. Numerals.) Quotations. A sentence containing an expression in parenthesis is punctuated. He declares (and why should we doubt his good faith?) that he is now certain of success. the ﬁnal stop comes before the last mark of parenthesis. I went to his house yesterday (my third attempt to see him). begin on the ﬁrst line.
August 9. Leave a blank line. after the title or heading of a manuscript. The expression within is punctuated as if it stood by itself. The provision of the Constitution is: “No tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any state.” 31
. but he had left town. (When a wholly detached expression or sentence is parenthesized. exactly as if the expression in parenthesis were absent. are introduced by a colon and enclosed in quotation marks. cited as documentary evidence. except that the ﬁnal stop is omitted unless it is a question mark or an exclamation point. Formal quotations. outside of the marks of parenthesis.Chapter IV
FEW MATTERS OF FORM
Headings. or its equivalent in space. Write them in ﬁgures or in Roman notation. Do not spell out dates or other serial numbers. On succeeding pages. if using ruled paper. as may be appropriate.
“Gratitude is a lively sense of beneﬁts to come. In the second scene of the third act In III. or more. Omit the words act. As a general practice. In scholarly work requiring exact references.
I recall the maxim of La Rochefoucauld. book. Wordsworth’s enthusiasm for the Revolution was at ﬁrst unbounded: Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive. of verse. References. The same is true of colloquialisms and slang. not in the body of the sentence. except when referring by only one of them. 14). volume. page. Proverbial expressions and familiar phrases of literary origin require no quotation marks. A FEW MATTERS OF FORM
Quotations grammatically in apposition or the direct objects of verbs are preceded by a comma and enclosed in quotation marks. But to be young was very heaven! Quotations introduced by that are regarded as in indirect discourse and not enclosed in quotation marks. These are the times that try men’s souls. “Art is an imitation of nature.32
CHAPTER IV. scene. truth beauty.
. abbreviate titles that
occur frequently.ii (still better. giving the full forms in an alphabetical list at the end. Hamlet is placed under guard (IV. ii.” Aristotle says. Keats declares that beauty is truth. line. simply insert III.” Quotations of an entire line. Punctuate as indicated below. give the references in parenthesis or in footnotes.ii in parenthesis at the proper place in the sentence)
After the killing of Polonius. He lives far from the madding crowd. but not enclosed in quotation marks. are begun on a fresh line and centred.
The usage of editors and publishers varies. scholarly usage prefers italics with cap
italized initials.iii. For the titles of literary works. 155-161
2 Samuel i:17-27
Othello II. A Tale of Two Cities. The Iliad. 264-267. Dickens’s Tale of Two Cities. the Odyssey. some using italics with capitalized initials. As You Like It. others using Roman with capitalized initials and with or without quotation marks. Omit initial A or The from titles when you place the possessive before them. except in writing for a periodical that follows a different practice. The Newcomes. Use italics (indicated in manuscript by underscoring). To a Skylark.
A FEW MATTERS OF FORM
see under Rule 13. The Concise Oxford Dictionary begins its deﬁnition of this word: “instance of a thing’s occurring. Bid. Expressions of this type should be corrected by rearranging the sentence. the word is usually unnecessary. but the replacement of vague generality by deﬁnite statement.) All right. The past tense is bade. Whether is sufﬁcient. usual state of affairs. Case. In many cases. As good or better than. 35 Many of the rooms were poorly ventilated.Chapter V
(Many of the words and expressions here listed are not so much bad English as bad style. My opinion is as good or better than his. or better (if not better).” In other uses better avoided. the proper correction is likely to be not the replacement of one word or set of words by another. It has rarely been the case that any mistake has been made. “Agreed.
As to whether. Always written as two words.
. Idiomatic in familiar speech as a detached phrase in the sense.” In these two senses. Few mistakes have been made. My opinion is as good as his.” or “Go ahead. Takes the inﬁnitive without to. the rooms were poorly ventilated. the commonplaces of careless writing. As illustrated under Feature.
Often simply redundant. To compare to is to point out or imply resemblances. Certainly.” “very delicate
.” “losses due to preventable ﬁres. which means “to inﬂuence”). or owing to. or charge. as verb. Used indiscriminately by some speakers. Not followed by as when it means. As noun. A needless substitute for reliable.” In correct use related as predicate or as modiﬁer to a particular noun: “This invention is due to Edison. Thus life has been compared to a pilgrimage. often loosely used in perfunctory writing about fashions. it may be compared with modern London. “claimed to be” would be better. due to carelessness. and other arts: “an Oriental effect. 103-106. accomplish (not to be confused with affect. maintain. With object-noun. As noun. Paris has been compared to ancient Athens.36
CHAPTER V. between objects regarded as essentially of different order. and Quiller-Couch. May be used with a dependent clause if this sense is clearly involved: “He claimed that he was the sole surviving heir. Acts of a hostile character Hostile acts
Claim. to a drama. 68-71. trustworthy. to intensify any and every statement.” “I consider him thoroughly competent. between objects regarded as essentially of the same order. in adverbial phrases: “He lost the ﬁrst game. is even worse in writing.” where “considered” means “examined” or “discussed. Character.” Effect. pp. Incorrectly used for through. means to bring about. This word has been greatly overused. “believe to be. Compare. it is best restricted to ingenuity displayed in small matters. The Art of Writing. means lay claim to. to a battle. A mannerism of this kind. Consider.” “effects in pale green.” (But even here. music. because of. Suggestions to Authors. bad in speech.” Dependable. Congress may be compared with the British Parliament. “The lecturer considered Cromwell ﬁrst as soldier and second as administrator. means result.) Not to be used as a substitute for declare. vb. pp. much as others use very. to compare with is mainly to point out differences. used from a mere habit of wordiness.” Compare. WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS COMMONLY MISUSED
See Wood. painting. Clever. Due to.
” “subtle effects.” The writer who has a deﬁnite meaning to express will not take refuge in such vagueness. and so forth. etc. (Better use the same number of words to tell what Miss A. that is.” “a charming effect was produced by. however incontestable they may be. Fact. Equivalent to and the rest.” “broad effects. That a particular event happened on a given date. Another hackneyed word. or if the programme has already been given. is incorrect. or any similar expression. At the end of a list introduced by such as.
Feature. Etc. Heavy artillery is becoming an increasingly important factor in deciding battles. are not properly facts. to be avoided. Use this word only of matters of a kind capable of direct veriﬁcation. On the formula the fact that.)
A feature of the entertainment especially worthy of mention was the singing of Miss A. to tell something of how she sang. Colloquial in America for arrange. mend. not of matters of judgment. or that the climate of California is delightful. prepare. His superior training was the great factor in his winning the match. or immaterial words at the end of a quotation.
As a verb. Heavy artillery is playing a larger and larger part in deciding battles. Least open to objection when it represents the last terms of a list already given in full.37 effects. if the reader would be left in doubt as to any important particulars. for example. Factor.
. fasten. sang. Not to be used of persons. etc. in the advertising sense of offer as a special attraction. and hence not to be used if one of these would be insufﬁcient. are facts. the expressions of which it forms part can usually be replaced by something more direct and idiomatic. see under Rule 13. like factor it usually adds nothing to the sentence in which it occurs. make ﬁrm or immovable. But such conclusions as that Napoleon was the greatest of modern generals. A hackneyed word. He won the match by being better trained. In writing restrict it to its literary senses. that lead melts at a certain temperature. Fix.
“where the round number.38
However.” “I dislike that kind of notoriety.” “His troubles are fewer than mine” means “His troubles are not so numerous as mine. a hundred. he never lost heart. However discouraging the prospect. The roads were almost impassable. The roads were almost impassable. also spoke.
. correct to say.” The same holds true of sort of. Line in the sense of course of procedure. but has been so much overworked. is something like a collective noun. we succeeded in reaching camp. Should not be misused for fewer. He is very ambitious. Not to be used as a substitute for rather (before adjectives and verbs). He is a man who is very ambitious. to the same effect. He had less men than in the previous campaign. is allowable. for something like (before nouns). along these lines. it means in whatever way or to whatever extent. fewer to number. and less is thought of as meaning a less quantity or amount. Spain is a country which I have always wanted to visit. conduct.” It is. Mr. thought.
Kind of. Restrict it to its literal sense: “Amber is a kind of fossil resin. not to come ﬁrst in its sentence or clause. He had fewer men than in the previous campaign. see Rule 13.
When however comes ﬁrst. B. However. we at last succeeded in reaching camp. Line. that a writer who aims at freshness or originality had better discard it entirely. A common type of redundant expression. “His troubles are less than mine” means “His troubles are not so great as mine. or except in familiar style. however. also spoke along the same lines. Less. At last. however. WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS COMMONLY MISUSED
He is a man who. “The signers of the petition were less than a hundred. particularly in the phrase along these lines. B. In the meaning nevertheless. Mr.
Less refers to quantity. However you advise him. he will probably do as he thinks best. I have always wanted to visit Spain.
Avoid beginning essays or paragraphs with this formula.” Unless more speciﬁc statements follow. Most. if not better. use neighboring. make up. Acts of a hostile natureHostile acts Often vaguely used in such expressions as “a lover of nature. not yet fully accepted as good English.39
He is studying along the line of French literature. With a number of verbs.. win out.” “poems about nature. Often simply redundant. rural life. though the analogy of close by and hard by seems to justify it. Meant to be more emphatic than lose. Retain the and in this and similar expressions. “One of the most interesting developments of modern science is. cheer up. or near at hand. Near. as. the untracked wilderness.” “Switzerland is
. but actually less so. A literal ﬂood of abuse Literally dead with fatigue A ﬂood of abuse Almost dead with fatigue (dead tired)
Lose out. One hundred and one. because of its commonness.
He is studying French literature. and others. Lose out is not. the sunset. Not to be used as an adjective. sign up.
Literal. Near by. Oftentimes. literally. each distinguishable in meaning from the simple verb. the reader cannot tell whether the poems have to do with natural scenery. out and up form idiomatic combinations: ﬁnd out. The same holds true of try out. Often incorrectly used in support of exaggeration or violent metaphor. ofttimes. no longer in good use. One of the most. etc. in accordance with the unvarying usage of English prose from Old English times. Most everybody Most all the time Almost everybody Almost all the time
Nature. or the habits of squirrels. run out. turn out. Adverbial phrase. Not to be used for almost. dry up. Archaic forms. register up. is as good. used like character. The modern word is often.
The word people is not to be used with words of number. in writing.” “the last phase. not to be confused with the public. see Rule 4. The one mile and two mile runs were won by Jones and by Cummings. Means a stage of transition or development: “the phases of the moon. but it should not appear in writing on ordinary subjects. These words may usually be omitted with advantage. WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS COMMONLY MISUSED
one of the most interesting countries of Europe. He was the fortunate possessor of He had great courage (was very brave).
People. The people is a political term. See under Kind of. He possessed great courage. Sort of.” “so warm. The one mile and two mile runs were won by Jones and Cummings respectively. Avoid.
.” On the use of so to introduce clauses. it is simply threadbare and forcible-feeble. how many “people” would be left? Phase. it may be necessary to use respectively. Works of ﬁction are listed under the names of their authors. the use of so as an intensiﬁer: “so good. respectively. He owned
Respective. If of “six people” ﬁve went away.
In some kinds of formal writing. Works of ﬁction are listed under the names of their respective authors. from the public comes artistic appreciation or commercial patronage.” “so delightful. So.” Not to be used for aspect or topic. in place of persons. From the people comes political support or opposition.” There is nothing wrong in this. as in geometrical proofs. Not to be used as a mere substitute for have or own.40
CHAPTER V. Another phase of the subject Another point other question) (an-
but. write a letter of acknowledgment. Use this word sparingly. for view or opinion. meaning no more than the simple word students. is the use of the plural pronoun with the antecedent anybody. as many do. A common inaccuracy is the use of the plural pronoun when the antecedent is a distributive expression such as each. which. etc. the intention being either to avoid the awkward “he or she. Frequently used without need. System. Dayton has adopted the commission system of government. A member of the student body Popular with the student body The student body passed resolutions.
Thanking you in advance. any one. The dormitory system Dayton has adopted government by commission. but do not misuse this. “Thanking you.” Use he with all the above words. A needless and awkward expression.” Simply write. Write point of view. Where emphasis is necessary. Dormitories A student Liked by the students The students passed resolutions.41 State.” and if the favor which you have requested is granted. In this use it is best replaced by a semicolon. Viewpoint. each one. Restrict it to the sense of express fully or clearly.” Student body. Similar to this. Not to be used as a mere substitute for say. Avoid the indiscriminate use of this word for and. somebody.
. many a man. as. remark. and although.” or to avoid committing oneself to either. or from uncertainty which of the two connectives is the more appropriate. They. but with even less justiﬁcation. requires the pronoun to be in the singular. “It will not be worth my while to write to you again. Very. Many writers use it frequently as a substitute for and or but. unless the antecedent is or must be feminine. “He refused to state his objections. everybody. use words strong in themselves. Some bashful speakers even say. “A friend of mine told me that they. While. every one. though implying more than one person. either from a mere desire to vary the connective. some one. This sounds as if the writer meant.
The paraphrase. while the rest of the building is devoted to manufacturing. The ofﬁce and salesrooms are on the ground ﬂoor. WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS COMMONLY MISUSED
This is entirely correct. at the same time the nights are often chilly. shows why the use of while is incorrect. the nights are often chilly. His brother. In general. Although the temperature reaches 90 or 95 degrees in the daytime. when it is really the subject of a following verb. who he said would send him the money The man who (that) he thought was his friend (whom he thought his friend)
. The ofﬁce and salesrooms are on the ground ﬂoor. The temperature reaches 90 or 95 degrees in the daytime. the writer will do well to use while only with strict literalness.
Its use as a virtual equivalent of although is allowable in sentences where this leads to no ambiguity or absurdity. the nights are often chilly. Compare: While the temperature reaches 90 or 95 degrees in the daytime. While I admire his energy. Often incorrectly used for who before he said or similar expressions. as shown by the paraphrase. Whom. I admire his energy. whom he said would send him the money The man whom he thought was his friend His brother. in the sense of during the time that. I wish it were employed in a better cause.42
CHAPTER V. at the same time I wish it were employed in a better cause. the rest of the building is devoted to manufacturing.
Once a year he visited the old mansion.
The use of worth while before a noun (“a worth while story”) is indefensible. The equivalent of shall in indirect quotation after a verb in the past tense is should. without would. and from its brevity. not would. To express habitual or repeated action. the past tense. is usually sufﬁcient.
. not would.43 Worth while. He predicted that before long we should have a great surprise. Strictly applicable only to actions: “Is it worth while to telegraph?” His books are not worth reading (not worth one’s while to read. Would. more emphatic. I should not have succeeded without his help.
His books are not worth while. do not repay reading). A conditional statement in the ﬁrst person requires should. Overworked as a term of vague approval and (with not) of disapproval. Once a year he would visit the old mansion.
CHAPTER V. WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS COMMONLY MISUSED
accidentally advice affect beginning believe beneﬁt challenge criticize deceive deﬁnite describe despise develop disappoint duel ecstasy effect existence ﬁery formerly humorous hypocrisy immediately incidentally latter led lose marriage mischief murmur necessary occurred parallel Philip playwright preceding prejudice principal privilege pursue repetition rhyme rhythm ridiculous sacrilegious seize separate shepherd siege similar simile too tragedy tries undoubtedly until
Write to-day. every one. Write any one. some one.
T HE E ND
. some time (except the sense of formerly) as two words. to-night. to-morrow (but not together) with hyphen.