Until this morning I had never heard of The Elements of Style, and I can now say I’m glad I never had. Having graduated with honors you can see why I’m glad I’ve never encountered this misinformed piece of text used by many who should burn it. Hater much? Yes. Oh, why might you ask? Well, according to the text those last few lines were incorrect. In researching the validity of the “little book,” as it is referred to by some, after having read it, I found a significant group of haters out there. According to one article the authors of the book were grammatically illiterate and many of their examples went against well established literature of their time. It was a good read so I included a link to it below.
Now don’t get me wrong, some advice was good in it. Gems such as “omit needless words” was good. However, many suggestions were downright wrong or written in a way which contradicted the advice the author was giving. What really got me was the fact even the newest edition had antiquated advice in it, like spelling tomorrow as to-morrow. Who does that?
So, to anyone who writes or edits using this archaic book, put it back on the shelf with the other outdated tomes and get a new bible. Might I suggest The Chicago Manual of Style which many US manuscript editors use? It might read like what it is, a manual, but the advice you get is solid and won’t make you sound like an illiterate buffoon in your writing.