Every English-language writer knows Strunk and White’s famous little writing manual, The Elements of Style. Many people between the ages of seventeen and seventy can recite the book’s mantra—make every word tell—and still refer to their tattered grade school copy when in need of a hint on how to make a turn of phrase clearer, or a reminder on how to enliven prose with the active voice. Considering that millions of copies have been sold to millions of devotees, you might not think to ask what could enhance this (almost) perfect classic. In fact, the addition of illustrations allows readers to experience the book’s contents in a completely new way, making the whole learning experience more colorful and clear, as well as adding a whimsical element that compliments the subtly humorous tone of the prose. The Elements of Style Illustrated will come to be known as the definitive, must-have edition.
Maira Kalman is the offbeat and wildly talented illustrator of twelve children’s books, numerous covers for The New Yorker magazine, fabrics for the fashion designers Isaac Mizrahi and Kate Spade, watches and accessories for the Museum of Modern Art, and a mural at the elegant Wavehill estate in Riverdale, among other projects. Her sophisticated and witty images that are yet bright and fanciful have won her a devoted following, especially among young urbanites. Maira Kalman is acknowledged by the E. B. White estate as the single artist trusted to illustrate the revered The Elements of Style.
The Elements of Style Illustrated brings a fresh immediacy to the well-loved, much-valued, and still on-point work that has become an institution. While giving the classic work a jolt of new energy to appeal to contemporary readers, Kalman’s illustrations are themselves timeless, designed to sit alongside the ever-enduring manual for another fifty years and more.
-Los Angeles Times
"While The Elements of Style has never lacked fans or dutiful adherents, appreciation for this slim volume has taken a turn toward the whimsical and even surreal."
-The New York Times
"The pictures are playful and subtle, which suits the spirit of this beloved bestseller."
Introduction to the 3rd edition by E. B. White
I. Elementary Rules of Usage
1. Form the possessive singular of nouns by adding ‘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 a conjunction introducing an independent clause.
5. Do not join independent clauses with a comma.
6. Do not break sentences in two.
7. Use a colon after an independent clause to introduce a list of particulars, an appositive, an amplification, or an illustrative quotation.
8. Use a dash to set off an abrupt break or interruption and to announce a long appositive or summary.
9. The number of the subject determines the number of the verb.
10. Use the proper case of pronoun.
11. A participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence must refer to the grammatical subject.
II. Elementary Principles of Composition
12. Choose a suitable design and hold to it.
13. Make the paragraph the unit of composition.
14. Use the active voice.
15. Put statements in positive form.
16. Use definite, specific, concrete language.
17. Omit needless words.
18. Avoid a succession of loose sentences.
19. Express coordinate ideas in similar form.
20. Keep related words together.
21. In summaries, keep to one tense.
22. Place the emphatic words of a sentence at the end.
III. A Few Matters of Form
IV. Words and Expressions Commonly Misused
V. An Approach to Style (with a List of Reminders)
1. Place yourself in the background.
2. Write in a way that comes naturally.
3. Work from a suitable design.
4. Write with nouns and verbs.
5. Revise and rewrite.
6. Do not overwrite.
7. Do not overstate.
8. Avoid the use of qualifiers.
9. Do not affect a breezy manner.
10. Use orthodox spelling.
11. Do not explain too much.
12. Do not construct awkward adverbs.
13. Make sure the reader knows who is speaking.
14. Avoid fancy words.
15. Do not use dialect unless your ear is good.
16. Be clear.
17. Do not inject opinion.
18. Use figures of speech sparingly.
19. Do not take shortcuts at the cost of clarity.
20. Avoid foreign languages.
21. Prefer the standard to the offbeat.
VI. Spelling (from the first edition)