I was introduced to William Strunk and E.B. White’s Elements of Style by my English professor, Mida. I couldn’t afford the book then so I had to settle for photocopies. (Now that I try to remember it, I don’t think I’ve ever bought more than five books throughout college. I had gigantic binders containing Xerox copies, though :-P)
Elements is perhaps the most comprehensive yet concise American English writing style guide ever published. It is so concise the book can practically fit in your back pocket. When I got my job as a copy editor, I immediately bought my own copy, and it still sits on my desk even after five years.
So just how important having proper grammar is? Consider an excerpt from this commentary by Marc Acito for National Public Radio on the occasion of the book’s 50th anniversary:
Me and a friend was talking about using proper grammar. And he says to I, “Today is the 50th anniversary of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style.” (1)
So I got me a copy and totally mesmerized this vast suppository of information. For instance, Strunk and White says, “Write with nouns and verbs.” (2) Myself, for one, is relieved to know this, as I have been trying to write with macaroni and cheese.
And it is never recommended to willfully and recklessly — because it puts undue emphasis on the adverb — split an infinitive. (3) Oops. You might have just heard out of the corner of your ear that the passive voice was used by myself. It is to be avoided. (4) Unless you are the CEO of a bank, in which case you cannot do your job without saying “mistakes were made.
— via candypop’s tweet