Wednesday, February 18, 2009

William Strunk Quotes on Writing

Quotes from William Strunk, Jr.. on good writing:

Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.

An example of “too wordy”: The Taming of the Shrew is rather weak in spots. Shakespeare does not portray Katharine as a very admirable character, nor does Bianca remain long in the memory as an important character in Shakespeare’s works.

His solution: The women in The Taming of the Shrew are unattractive. Katharine is disagreeable, Bianca insignificant.

He continues, “Note, in the examples, that when a sentence is made stronger, it usually becomes shorter. Thus, brevity is a byproduct of vigor.”


Heather said...

Great example. Thanks for posting this. I've never read a book on writing. Looks interesting.

Rebecca V. O'Neal said...

I need to internalize this advice... yesterday.