Friday, June 12, 2009
Elements of Style
The Elements of Style is a handy little book for anyone who needs a reminder as to the proper usage of commas, the difference between it's and its/there and their, and any other slippery grammatical slopes. With section headings such as "avoid the use of qualifiers", "do not construct awkward adverbs", and "do not take shortcuts at the cost of clarity", the mantra of the book is make every word tell. I sat down with the book over a cup of coffee and enjoyed letting certain phrases roll off my tongue. Pronominal possessives. Sounds scandalous. Paranthetic expressions. Lyrical.
This much loved classic, now in its fourth edition, has the added bonus of Maira Kalman's illustrations. Our dear friend Blythe introduced Ms. Kalman to us through a children's book. Her whimsical paintings for The Elements of Style bring to life some of the basic principles, making the learning experience more colorful and clear.
Now, of course, I write with a little bit of fear, worried that a stray comma or too breezy of a manner will cause the authors to roll over in their proverbial graves...but then, of course, none of us is perfect.