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Retitling Strunk & White

From Ben Zimmer, who got it from Mike Klaas, who found it on the Wonder-Tonic site ("Written, Graphical, and Interactive Sundries by Mike Lacher") of 3/31/10, here:

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S&W in cultural context

Yesterday in the New York Times, Dwight Garner took on two revisions of classic books of advice (by Dale Carnegie and Emily Post) — updated for the digital age. "Classic Advice: Please, Leave Well Enough Alone" starts by placing the Carnegie book in its cultural context: Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People," […]

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Resume depassivization — this time, zero for 4

Doostang is a job-search platform and advice service that, for a fee, will try to help you get a job. It provides on a blog such helpful things as tips on spicing up your resume. And one of the things it suggests is that you should avoid (are you ready for this, Language Log readers?) […]

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Sotomayor loves Strunk and White

People have begun to ask why Language Log hasn't yet commented on the remarks of Sonia Sotomayor about the sterling value of (you guessed it) Strunk & White. One recent commenter (here) actually seems to imply that we have jumped all over Charles Krauthammer solely because he is conservative, and shielded Sotomayor from criticism because […]

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Drinking the Strunkian Kool-Aid: victims of page 18

"My toothbrush is one of four standing upright in a cup on the bathroom sink," wrote Ada Brunstein in ‘The House of No Personal Pronouns’, a 2007 piece in the New York Times Fashion & Style section. "These toothbrushes belong to me, my boyfriend, his wife and her lover." Brunstein often stays at the house […]

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Who would not weep, if E. B. White were he?

For the upcoming 2009 Book Expo in New York, the Perseus Book Group (of which my publisher PublicAffairs is a member), has organized a project to collaboratively create and publish a book in as many formats as possible within 48 hours. The text of the book will consist of submissions from the public of the […]

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Room For Debate on Strunk and White

When The New York Times asked me to contribute to the discussion of The Elements of Style on their "Room for Debate" blog, I figured they would dredge up a bunch of aged worthies of the New York literati who would pother on about the virtues of the little book, and I would be alone […]

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S&W on the radio

(Mark Liberman and I posted on this topic at nearly the same time. Consider this to be an amplification of Mark's posting.) Yesterday was Strunk & White day — the actual 50th anniversary of the publication of The Elements Of Style — which National Public Radio celebrated twice. Morning Edition had "Strunk And White's Venerable […]

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S&W at 50

Strunk and White's Elements of Style, first published in 1959, has now been reissued in a leather-bound, gold-embossed 50th anniversary edition (with testimonials from famous literary figures and an afterword by Charles Osgood of CBS). An AP article by William Kates about the event has been printed in dozens of places; here I'll quote from […]

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However: retraction of a defense of Strunk

Back in 2005, Mark Liberman and I (here and here and here) both took a look at certain issues relating to placement of clause adjuncts, and we touched on William Strunk's prejudice against sentence-initial however as an adjunct, as set forth in The Elements of Style. I suggested in "Fossilized prejudices about however" that Strunk […]

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One more misidentified passive (can you bear it?)

You know, people keep telling me that I shouldn't blame Strunk & White for the way so many Americans are clueless about identifying passive clauses. Others tell me I'm being prescriptive: I should let people use the word 'passive' however they want. (And you can, of course; you can use it to mean "box containing […]

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Language Log asks you (don't all shout at once)

What do support poles, staff positions, battery terminals, army encampments, blog articles, earring stems, trading stations, and snail mail have in common with billboard advertising, accounts recording, making bail, and assigning diplomats?

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Passive aggressive

Anne Henochowicz, "Passive-Aggressive: Expressing misfortune, and resistance, in Mandarin", LA Review of Books, 10/23/2018: Strunk and White's classic textbook Elements of Style taught us to avoid the passive voice in our writing. Our verbs should take action, not a back seat, whenever possible. (This advice is not universally accepted.) In Mandarin, however, the passive voice […]

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