Monday, September 8, 2008

Jonathan Yardley pays tribute to "The Elements of Style"

A 'Little Book' Bursting With The Write Ideas

By Jonathan Yardley

Saturday, September 6, 2008

An occasional series in which The Washington Post's book critic reconsiders notable and/or neglected books from the past.

One of the never-ending frustrations of my otherwise enjoyable half-century newspaper career has been what newspapers call "style."

Newspapers have many good qualities, but "style" most certainly is not among them.

Newspaper "style" consists mainly of ungrammatical, unlovely attempts to compress as much information as possible into as little space as possible.

Thus, instead of the elegant "Senator Nonesuch, Republican of Transylvania," we are required to write, "Sen. Nonesuch (R-Tr.)"; instead of "Rockville, Maryland," we must suffer with "Rockville, Md."; and poor "William Strunk, Jr.," must sacrifice his comma and become "William Strunk Jr."

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