Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Melodrama

I've just been reading the last chapter of Strunk and White's guide to writing called "The Elements of Style"and have been struck by the melodrama in their advice. I am, however envious of their well-executed humour!

After reading their last chapter, "An approach to Style" you could be forgiven for thinking prolixity should be a punishable crime.

Muddiness is not merely a disturber of prose, it is also a destroyer of life, of hope: death on the highway caused by a badly worded road sign, heartbreak among lovers caused by a misplaced phrase in a well-intentioned letter, anguish of a traveler expecting to be met at a railroad station and not being met because of a slipshod telegram. Think of the tragedies that are rooted in ambiguity, and be clear! When you say something, make sure you have said it. The chances of you having said it are only fair.

4 comments:

onlinesoph said...

Strunk and White! memories of media lectures at uni rushing back....

sophg said...

I wish we'd read it at uni - I've heard it referred to, but noone ever made me read it. Would've been good in high school too.

Giraffe Pen (기린 만년필) said...

I love that book. Their cutting wit and great use of language is enviable!

Giraffe Pen (기린 만년필) said...

I often break Strunk and White's rule by using the Korean alphabet when I write on my blog... That's not so much for showing off but, as when Don Carson uses foreign words in his sermons, the word in the foreign language connotes a meaning that English fails to express.