Forget Everything You Thought You Knew About Strunk and White’s Elements of Style


If you’ve taken any sort of writing class or ever gotten any professional writing advice, there’s a good chance you’ve been referred to Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. Here’s a 2009 review of the classic that takes a decidedly different view:

“50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice.”

This article is a thorough vivisection of The Elements of Style. I just don’t know what to think anymore. One of the sacred icons of my little world has been desecrated!

Read this article if you’re a grammar geek. The author, linguist Geoffrey K. Pullum, is not afraid of getting too esoteric with his arguments. But you’ll also enjoy it if you’re not a grammar geek. Pullum mostly manages to subdue his grammar wonk urges. Generally, he just bashes the world’s most beloved pocket style manual. He cites example after example of Strunk and White breaking their own rules on the very same pages where they’ve stated them.

It’s both horrifying and immensely entertaining to follow along as he systematically shreds it. Don’t be ashamed to find this interesting. Embrace your inner writer geek and read 50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice by Geoffrey K. Pullum