On Writing: Detail and Clarity

Just so you know, I haven’t completely forgotten about my commitment to create a summer grammar series. I’ve just been lazy about getting around to it. There, I said it!

I’ve completed the first post (in a separate Word document) and will publish it later tonight. In the meantime, I thought I’d share these two excerpts on detail and clarity from The Elements of Style  by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White:

– It is not that every detail is given – that would be impossible, as well as to no purpose – but that all the significant details are given, and with such accuracy and vigor that readers, in imagination, can project themselves into the scene.

– Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all sentences short, or avoid all detail and treat subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.


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