Defining Writing Style

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Defining Style In a search for the meaning of true style, I consulted two books on the subject. These texts differ on many levels, but most strikingly are their styles of presentation. Strunk and White, authors of The Elements of Style, lean more towards the rule-book approach, telling us what to do and when to do it without much explanation. John Williams, on the other hand, uses his book Style: Toward Clarity and Grace in almost a lecture form, filled with comparative examples of correct and incorrect ways to approach his stylistic suggestions . While the Strunk and White text is smaller and therefore seems to be the better read by default, its guidelines and helpful hints tend to be vague and often contradictory.

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There are several aspects of creating clear prose besides using subjects and verbs. What types of verb used and using that type throughout are also important. What form should writers use, active or passive? I prefer the passive form because it allows more freedom in using figurative language. Williams accepts the use of either form, but cautions against frivolous use of the passive.

...End of the Defining Writing Style...

Works Cited Strunk, William Jr. & E.B. White, The Elements of Style. New York: Longman, 2000. Williams, Joseph M., Style: Toward Clarity and Grace. Chicago: The U of Chicago Press.

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