“‘Omit needless words!’ cries the author on page 23, and into that imperative Will Strunk really put his heart and soul. In the days when I was sitting in his class, he omitted so many needless words, and omitted them so forcibly and with such eagerness and obvious relish, that he often seemed in the position of having shortchanged himself—a man left with nothing more to say yet with time to fill, a radio prophet who had outdistanced the clock. Will Strunk got out of this predicament by a simple trick: he uttered every sentence three times.”
—E.B. White (1899-1985), writer, in introduction to The Elements of Style, 3rd edition, 1979
• Editorial Comment: Third time’s a charm.
PeezPix by Ted Pease
TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.)
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Utah State University, Logan, Utah. email@example.com. (Be)Friend Dr. Ted, Professor of Interesting Stuff
“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard