Reddit Reddit reviews The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition

We found 156 Reddit comments about The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

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The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition
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156 Reddit comments about The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition:

u/theearthisasphere · 47 pointsr/learnmath

I'm 2 years into a part time physics degree, I'm in my 40s, dropped out of schooling earlier in life.

As I'm doing this for fun whilst I also have a full time job, I thought I would list what I'm did to supplement my study preparation.

I started working through these videos - Essence of Calculus as a start over the summer study whilst I had some down time.

Ive bought the following books in preparation for my journey and to start working through some of these during the summer prior to start

Elements of Style - A nice small cheap reference to improve my writing skills

The Humongous Book of Trigonometry Problems

Calculus: An Intuitive and Physical Approach

Trigonometry Essentials Practice Workbook

Systems of Equations: Substitution, Simultaneous, Cramer's Rule

Feynman's Tips on Physics

Exercises for the Feynman Lectures on Physics

Calculus for the Practical Man

The Feynman Lectures on Physics (all volumes)

I found PatrickJMT helpful, more so than Khan academy, not saying is better, just that you have to find the person and resource that best suits the way your brain works.

Now I'm deep in calculus and quantum mechanics, I would say the important things are:

Algebra - practice practice practice, get good, make it smooth.

Trig - again, practice practice practice.

Try not to learn by rote, try understand the why, play with things, draw triangles and get to know the unit circle well.

Good luck, it's going to cause frustrating moments, times of doubt, long nights and early mornings, confusion, sweat and tears, but power through, keep on trucking, and you will start to see that calculus and trig are some of the most beautiful things in the world.

u/evilnight · 47 pointsr/IAmA

Heh. IQ scores are not a reason to be proud. Pride is reserved for accomplishments, not tests.

Furthermore, most of the test are really bullshit.

I scored 160+ on my first one, in elementary school - off the scale of that particular test. I know why, too. First, it was a public school test in 1985, designed by the public school system, so it was expecting everyone to fail. Also, I started reading heavily before I went to elementary school, because my parents had the foresight to take me to a local library for some activities involving books, films, and a teacher doing these things in her spare time to help kids learn. I wish I could remember her name. I'd send her a thank you letter. :/

That's not smarter, it's just better prepared. Simple.

High school, another silly IQ test (again, not the real thing, expecting everyone to fail, scored 150, got a perfect score on the ASVAB.) I can't take a test seriously if I don't break a sweat on it, ya know? When the questions are so simple you can read the intentions behind them like a book, it's a shitty test. The AP tests were decent, though.

Then, in college, I finally met a real IQ test. Eight grueling hours, some of the most fiendish questions you can imagine. I got out of there with a 138 and finally felt like it was a fair assessment.

Then I saw tests like the Lowell Putnam. That's when you understand the difference between being ahead of the curve on some silly academic tests and real genius. I work with someone who managed a 2/10 on that test. He designs the core mathematical models and logic engines for our products, and his dogs can hunt. He's always ragging on me for going into IT (easy work) instead of engineering.

My advice to the OP would be - look, Math is a language not a separate subject. Own that bitch, that's where the real heavy thinking is. If you can get your head around it, all of the other sciences will fall in line like dominoes. Math is what matters most. Look at it like a language instead of a separate, mind-numbingly boring subject and you'll take to it like ducks to water.

I'd also say keep writing, and pick up a copy of both Elements of Style and On Writing. All other books about writing are redundant if you have those.

As for the social problems? Mostly bullshit too. Nearly everyone acts like that when hanging out with the wrong crowds. The trick is finding a crowd that fits your interests, not trying to mold your own personality into something John Q Public will enjoy. Find a good D&D game, chess club, travel to Europe, do things. Sitting at home changes nothing.

u/nlahnlah · 27 pointsr/slatestarcodex

I'm quite sympathetic to the argument that the Rationalist community often behaves in worryingly irrational ways, extending in-group status to Neoreactionaries being a prime example...

But damn, son; go pick up a copy of Pinker's Sense of Style, or Strunk and White's The Elements of Style. Even a quick read through Scott's recent post on nonfiction writing will be of enormous benefit to you.

You vacillate wildly in tone between "snarky Youtube comment" and "dry, academic college essay", your paragraphs are bloated with cliches and banalities like "But if I might be so bold as to suggest" or "But there’s another angle that must be considered" (a quick read of some Orwell might cure you of this) and you resort to unimaginative insults like "vicious little shit" and "banal edgelords". Insults in general are usually a bad idea in an actual published work, but if you're gonna use them at least put a little creativity into them.

I've spent the last couple days in bed with a cold and I've been filling the hours by reading Reddit comments. An excerpt from an upcoming book should not be the worst prose I've seen in that time.

u/ConnorOlds · 13 pointsr/writing
  • "On Writing," by Stephen King ( - The first half is a good biography, and the second half is great insight into how Stephen King comes up with his stories. Not just the genesis of the story, but that actual "I sit down and do this, with this, in this type of environment." And then what to do when you finish your first draft. He is very critical of plotting, though. If you disagree with him about that, it's still good for everything else.

  • "The Elements of Style" by Strunk and White ( - This is a handy little book for proper grammatical and prose rules. How to write proper dialogue, where to put punctuation, and how to structure sentences to flow in an aesthetically pleasing manner.

  • "Stein On Writing" by Sol Stein ( - I just picked this book up, so I haven't finished it--but it seems to be a little more in depth than Stephen King's On Writing. For instance, it looks more at not just what makes a good story, but what makes a good story appealing to readers. So whereas Stephen King preaches a more organic growth and editing process to write a story, this one seems to be more focused on how to take your idea and make it a good story based on proven structure.

    Honorable mention:

  • "The Emotion Thesaurus" by Angela Ackerman ( - This is incredibly useful when you're "showing" character emotions instead of "telling" the reader what those emotions are. For example, "He was curious," is telling the reader the character is curious. "He leaned forward, sliding his chair closer," is showing the reader that he is curious.

  • I think it's easy for writers (myself included) to get too wrapped up in studying writing, or reading about writing. The best way to improve your is to write more, whether it's fiction or non-fiction, articles or short stories, novels or book reviews. The same principle applies to most skills, art especially. While reading about the activity certainly helps and is probably necessary at some point, you're going to just have to perform the activity in order to improve. Imagine reading about running more than actually running to practice for a marathon. Or reading about flying instead of getting hours in. Or reading about piano theory instead of actually playing piano. But if you're coming from nothing, it would probably help to read those three books before starting in order to start practicing with a good background right away, instead of starting with nothing and winging it on your own.
u/WhackAMoleE · 13 pointsr/compsci

"Omit needless words." -- The Elements of Style.

An example write from the getgo:

Yours: Let me start off by saying this: I’m terrible at learning new technologies.

Mine: I’m terrible at learning new technologies.

In my version I get to the point right away, instead of forcing the reader to slog over "Let me say this about that before I say anything else and, uh, you still with me here?"

My version has punch. Yours is soft. "Let me say, at the outset, before commencing the rest of the story, that my name isn't really Ishmael, but I'd like it if you call me Ishmael." Versus the classic: "Call me Ishmael." Punch. Precision. Get to the point. Omit needless words.

My suggestion would be for you to buy The Elements of Style (six bucks), read it, then take a sharp red pencil to your prose. The length of your piece will be halved and the reader will appreciate your sharp, to-the-point exposition.

u/melkahb · 10 pointsr/IWantToLearn

Especially if your primary communication in English is written, Strunk and White's The Elements of Style is really your indispensable resource. It's much more about composition than grammar specifically, but the two topics are so closely linked that you'll benefit from it.

The Well-Tempered Sentence is another good resource, with a much more lighthearted approach. It's also primarily focused on written forms.

Neither of these are deep resources for grammar structure or usage rules, but understanding and implementing them will put you head and shoulders above a great many native speakers. I think if you're more interested in speaking than writing you'll want a language course of some kind. I've no personal experience with them, so I can't recommend one on that basis.

Good luck.

u/thevelarfricative · 9 pointsr/badlinguistics
u/bleamer · 8 pointsr/india

All these may not be exactly relevant but worth exploring:

u/PCBlue22 · 8 pointsr/writing

I tried reading your first paragraph aloud; it felt like my mouth was full of thumbtacks.

Climbing out and onto the fire escape two stories above the food vendors of the sixth district of the city, Moonrow, the street food's scent made him instantly hungry and the harsh sounds of the busy night below somehow relaxed him.

What is the subject of this sentence? The street food's scent? The scent appears to be climbing onto a fire escape? You're stuffing too much shit into one sentence. He climbed onto the fire escape, and he smelled food, the smell made him hungry, and he heard the city, and the sound relaxed him, somehow.

He sat on the metal steps leading to the apartments above and watched the people move in between the rusted bars below his feet.

Is it important that the words "above" and "below" fit in the same sentence? This is awkward. Again, trying to stuff action and description into the same sentence.

The Sixth was the mutually agreed upon best place to be on weekends like tonight, and because of that every district throughout the city was represented.

This should be two sentences, or at least attacked with a semicolon. And this is telling, not showing. And "mutually agreed upon" is an awful way of saying "considered."

I respect that you're trying to get into writing. Continue writing. And study the basics:

The Elements of Style

On Writing

Later, if you're serious, get into a workshop full of people who are much better than you, who will openly tell you when your work is bad and that you should feel bad.

u/dice145 · 6 pointsr/Journalism

Well, the obvious answer would be to read this:

Elements of Style

But Stephen King's On Writing is well respected (I'm reading it now, and it's told in a narrative. It doesn't feel like taking your medicine, if you're worried about getting bored.)

If you're looking for examples of quality writing that translate well into journalism, anything by Hemingway would be a good investment.

u/lonewolfandpub · 5 pointsr/fantasywriters

Congrats on making it this far!

Here's my constructive criticism: Your concept is cool, but your prose is stilted, clunky, and awkward, and you need a more evocative cover to draw a buyer's attention.

I really think your book would benefit from a professional editor's touch; the feedback would vastly improve the quality of your writing, and it'd help you achieve your goals of learning and developing as a writer.

If you can't afford an editor's services, please buy a copy of Strunk and White's Elements of Style for your personal reference. It's 90 pages of wisdom that will change your writing for the better; it won't be the same as getting an editor's feedback, but it will be a distinct improvement.

u/tensegritydan · 5 pointsr/scifiwriting

William Shunn's format is pretty much the standard, so much so that some magazines/publishers refer to it in their submission guidelines.

And, as others have commented, English prose is written in paragraphs. Some style guides to English writing:

Short handbook: Strunk & White, Elements of Style. 4th Edition

Exhaustive reference: Chicago Manual of Style. 16th Edition which is kind of expensive. Or get the 15th Edition for the price of a latte.

u/DrunkyMcDrunk-Drunk · 5 pointsr/booksuggestions

The gold standard for this sort of thing is going to be A Pocket Style Manual by Diana Hacker and Nancy Sommers. You would also do well to pick up The Elements of Style by Strunk and White.

u/phydeauxfromubuntu · 5 pointsr/techwriting

There are fewer of us who come from the technology side and into writing, so if you are willing to put in a little bit of work to master the mechanics of writing, you will be in demand. You will probably command a slightly higher salary than many other tech writers. This has been my experience, anyway.

I LOVE this career, and I came from a similar background as you. I don't get calls in the middle of the night because a server is down or a critical bug was found. I do get to dig deep into technology and understand and use complex things. I get to play with software before anyone else does, sometimes even before the QA teams as they occasionally rely on MY documentation to help them understand what they are testing and how it is intended to function. I still get to file bug reports, but I don't have to unravel someone else's (or my own) spaghetti code to try to figure out how to fix it. :-)

Pick up a copy of Strunk & White. Read it. Reread it occasionally. This is 90% of what you need to know.

Then, find as many examples of quality technical writing as you can and absorb the style, just as you would do when learning a new programming language. Grasp the grammar and syntax and typical style.

If I had to recommend one other resource, it would be The Insider's Guide to Technical Writing by Krista Van Laan.

u/MarquisDesMoines · 5 pointsr/occult

Please read and learn from this powerful tome then I'd be far more likely to take you seriously.

u/rachelpumpkin · 5 pointsr/homestuck

no worries, i saw that and it predicated my PM to you!

strunk & white is this book: it's generally considered a classic with regards to writing, and is all about how to communicate clearly. (well, mostly.) i definitely recommend it. hell, email me to set it up and i'll send you a copy, it's great.

u/RedJetta · 5 pointsr/writing

These are the sources I would use if I were to give a class on writing. Totaling out at about fifteen bucks if you don't mind used books or, you could go online and find a PDF I'm sure.

This book is widely considered the holy bible for logophiles.

Do that first, practice the core conceptsas you go along, then read this.

and lastly, since you're interested in fiction, I would read this.

The take away is understanding, so don't just skim if you can help it. Meanwhile, I'd write short stories. (aim for about 2-3k words at first) Monthly, one hundred words a day and keep at it for three-four months. See how you improve and such along the way and then, increase your goals. two hundred words a day. One story instead of different short stories.
*The most important thing is setting a goal for yourself and seeing it through to the end.

u/OGSoley · 5 pointsr/nfl

"And this is my Strunk and White, with which I have a passing familiarity at best."

u/hmspain · 5 pointsr/aspergers


NTs tend to send unproofed, unedited, uncorrected emails. We simply can’t.

You have to improve your writing to be understood, and perhaps more important not be misunderstood.

Here is the best guide I know;

u/Atojiso · 4 pointsr/FanFiction

Pint-Sized Prompts: Bad - Write something that you, as an author are bad at. Eg.: dialogue, action, scenery, comedy.

NaNo? Nah, no.

Edit: The Elements of Style by Strunk & White is currently on sale on Amazon. Less than $5 USD for an insanely useful book on grammar, punctuation, how-to do writing thingies of all sorts.

u/RoRoChabra · 4 pointsr/SiliconValleyHBO

You need to learn basic grammar rules like right now:

Perfect Book to learn said rules

u/prairielily · 4 pointsr/biology

Fast assumption: you sound insufferable. When someone tells you that this post is useless and you get defensive, it makes you seem disingenuous. Next time you're wondering what to post, look at what is successful in this subreddit and see if you can figure it out yourself before resorting to navel-gazing. Hint: the other commenter is right. Post articles, media, and questions relating to the living world or its study.

Professors aren't trying to trick you. Some of the questions are extremely challenging because they are supposed to find the students with the deepest grasp of the concepts. If you can't answer, the problem is usually your understanding of the material.

As for formatting, you need to work on your writing skills. Your sentences meander and they're difficult to read because your grasp of when the comma should be used is tenuous at best. You can buy The Elements of Style, or you can write short, active sentences. Don't make the mistake of thinking that long and complex sentences make you seem smarter. Readable and coherent work is what makes you seem smarter. A nice bonus is that working on writing will also help you with your reading comprehension. No more getting caught up in the wording of tricky questions!

Oh, and ask your professors for help with exam questions, not the internet.

u/emilioooooooo · 4 pointsr/aww
  1. Unless you're writing academic papers or something similarly technical, try dropping the use of the semicolon in your writing altogether. It's almost never actually needed and you're using it wrong. For example, in the above comment, you use a semicolon when you should have used a comma. This should explain why (the first part of the sentence is not an independent clause).
  2. Read this book: The Elements of Style. It's cheap, short, and a really helpful guide to fixing common writing problems.
u/JustSomeFeedback · 4 pointsr/DestructiveReaders

Some of the best I've used:

Story by Robert McKee -- As its title indicates, this book takes a look at story construction from a more theoretical perspective. McKee works mostly in the realm of screenplays but the ideas he puts forth are universally applicable and have already helped my writing immensely -- story itself was one of the big areas where I was struggling, and after reading through this book I'm able to much better conceptualize and plan out thoughtful stories.

Stein on Writing by Sol Stein -- if McKee's book is written from a theoretical perspective, Stein's takes a practical look at how to improve writing and editing skills. The mechanics of my writing have improved after reading this book; his examples are numerous and accessible. His tone may come off as a bit elitist but that doesn't mean he doesn't have things to teach us!

On Writing by Stephen King -- A perennial favorite and one I'm sure you've already received numerous suggestions for. Kind of a mix of McKee and Stein in terms of approach, and a great place to start when studying the craft itself.

Elements of Style by Strunk & White -- King swears by this book, and although I've bought it, the spine still looks brand new. I would recommend getting this in paperback format, though, as it's truly meant to be used as a reference.

Writing Excuses Podcast -- HIGHLY recommended place to start. Led by Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler, Dan Wells and Mary Robinette Kowal, this is one of the places I really started to dig into craft. They're at Season 13.5 now but new listeners can jump in on Season 10, where they focus on a specific writing process in each episode (everything from coming up with ideas to characterization and world building and more). Each episode is only 15(ish) minutes long. Listening to the whole series (or even the condensed version) is like going through a master class in genre fiction.

Brandon Sanderson 318R Playlist -- Professional recordings of Brandon Sanderson's BU writing class. Great stuff in here -- some crossover topics with Writing Excuses, but he is a wealth of information on genre fiction and great writing in general. Covers some of the business of writing too, but mostly focuses on craft.

Love this idea - hopefully I've sent a couple you haven't received yet!

u/wilyquixote · 4 pointsr/writing

In addition to some of the others already offered here,

Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules for Writing which I think started out as an article, but was also published as a (fittingly sparse) book.


Strunk & White's The Elements of Style, which is still required reading for anybody serious about their writing.

u/whynotnever · 3 pointsr/Atlanta

I don't know of any classes, but can recommend a couple of good resource books:

These are a good place to start.

u/not_thrilled · 3 pointsr/moviecritic

Constructive criticism accepted? If you're trying to live up to your blog's name, then you're succeeding. Lines like "The cinematography was pretty decent. Nothing really ground-breaking, but it was a really pleasant movie to look at during some scenes." do very little to tell your readers anything. Who was the cinematographer? Did they do anything else of note? IMDB is your friend. In this case, Spanish cinematographer Oscar Faura; probably not many American readers are familiar with his work, as I believe it's his first English-language film. Same goes for the Norwegian director Morten Tyldum. What was interesting, or can you use more evocative language? Do you understand the visual language enough to recognize and describe things like tracking shots, handheld shots, framing, lighting? "I only have one minor complaint about this movie, which is the CGI." Cut off the "which is the CGI" part. I'm pretty sure no one calls it CGI anymore (just CG), and the phrase isn't necessary because you spend the rest of the paragraph talking about that very thing. Don't sound like Perd Hapley. Remember that it's not just about your impression of the movie, but why you felt that way. And, too, that you're writing about the film, not about how you felt about it. It's your opinion, sure, but there's a balance between putting yourself on the page and putting your recommendation or lack thereof on the page - the line between being Harry Knowles or Roger Ebert. Make the reader feel your joy...or pain...or indifference.

I used to be a semi-pro film critic and editor of other people's reviews. I learned a lot from reading the great critics - Pauline Kael, Roger Ebert - and from books about film. A Short Guide to Writing About Film, Film Art: An Introduction, How to Read a Film. All books I remember reading. And not just those, but books about writing. Particular favorites are The Elements of Style and Stephen King's On Writing. If you want to brush up on your knowledge of what you're seeing, Every Frame a Painting is a stellar look at film's visual language.

u/Tallain · 3 pointsr/writing

If, for some reason, you haven't read it already, check out The Elements of Style by Strunk & White.

u/mkm416 · 3 pointsr/nyc

Order this and this. Read them both. Learn.

u/BukkRogerrs · 3 pointsr/writing

The go-to book for this is The Elements of Style. It has basically all you could need in regards to sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, etc...

u/jbel · 3 pointsr/wikipedia

This is probably why people argue it. It's not linguistically incorrect. But overuse of it is stylistically questionable.

And folk who skimmed it Freshman year of college didn't quite pick up the nuance.

u/oliner · 3 pointsr/compsci

The book that I believe every computer scientist should own, read in its entirety, and refer to often is Strunk and White's The Elements of Style. Poor communication skills can kill even good ideas.

u/jayeffbee · 3 pointsr/EDC

I'm pretty obsessed with proper grammar and punctuation, and I love semicolons (even though Kurt Vonnegut would reject me for it). I would give you a long explanation since I love talking, being a teacher and all, but the Oatmeal's comic is much more concise and amusing than I could ever hope to be.

As a grammar nerd, I'd recommend the classics when it comes to grammar and usage: Eats, Shoots & Leaves and The Elements of Style.

u/ziddersroofurry · 3 pointsr/writing

Not at all. While schooling can help you out the best way to learn how to write is to write. That being said there are a few books that are considered must reads, and of course the more well read you are the better able you are to express yourself.

u/DimitriTheMad · 3 pointsr/fantasywriters

I noticed you mentioned having Grammar and style errors, if you want some help with grammar and style let me link you two extremely helpful books that are very low bullshit for their price:

The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition:

This is the best book for grammar help in my opinion, it's especially helpful if you still have to write essays.

On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft:

The first half of this book is a memoir, but the second half is absolutely packed with good advice for novels, regardless the genre.

The first book will help you catch those Grammar errors before you go back with another story, and the second will help you with Style. IE your "The elf walked with grace to the door." Sentence and how to avoid Adverbs.

u/Gameclouds · 3 pointsr/writing

I'm surprised people haven't said much about the actual writing itself. Tone is an issue, but the actual structure of your writing needs work. I'll pull a few examples that way you can see what I mean.

"Unless you’re a member of an isolated ancient tribe living under one of the six remaining trees in what used to be the Amazon rainforest, you have almost certainly heard the term “Machine Learning” floating past within the last few years."

Your first sentence is almost a paragraph. This is a problem. Writing should be succinct and to the point. Clarity and strength of word usage will make what you say much more meaningful.

"In fact, personally, I’m convinced that if humanity doesn’t eradicate itself prematurely, there won’t be anything left humans can do that can’t be done much better, faster and cheaper by a suitably designed and programmed computer (or a network of them)."

This is a sentence in your third paragraph, which is again almost an entire paragraph by itself. You also severely diminish the strength of your sentence when you use things like 'In fact', 'personally', 'I'm convinced'. Your readers know that you are convinced because you are the one writing it. You need to convince them.

"Even though a computer can do just about anything, making it do what you want it to do can be very hard indeed."

Adverbs are not your friend. - Stephen King

Strength of sentence structure is impacted when you use adverbs like 'very'. And throwing on an 'indeed' doesn't do you any favors either. Make a point to think about what you are adding to your sentences with these words. Is the answer "I am adding nothing with these words."? Then those words should not be there.

I'm going to leave you a list of books where you can learn from writers that will help you with these things. Try not to get discouraged. We all have a lot to learn, so just think of it as part of the process. I would HIGHLY suggest you at least look into Elements of Style.

Sol Stein's On Writing

Stephen King's On Writing

Elements of Style

u/PurpSamsquanch · 3 pointsr/college

This is more of a reference book and not a book you read for pleasure, but "Elements of Style" by Strunk & White lays out some writing guidelines to make your writing more concise.

u/Skullclownlol · 3 pointsr/IAmA

You should also look into writing style, and learn more about literature in general. Not to sound harsh, but the amount of dots and enters you've used in your question is ugly. So while it's good to be creative, you need to be able to deliver a quality result, rather than just an interesting idea.

Writing is much more than just inventing.

Edit: I highly recommend you read "The Elements of Style" at least once.

u/[deleted] · 3 pointsr/AskReddit

The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. Seems like you could really use it.

u/Diki · 3 pointsr/DestructiveReaders

My immediate advice is for you to read Strunk and White's The Elements of Style. So much of your story is weakened by unorthodox formatting, and outright incorrect formatting, the latter of which there is an abundance. I left comments throughout your Doc regarding these issues, but primarily your dialogue is wrong and you frequently exclude the necessary comma when addressing a person/character. From a technical standpoint your story is a mess; it is littered with problems, most of which are to do with puncuation. Even one mistake would be enough for an editor to stop reading your story. Your work has several dozen mistakes.

I linked this in a comment, but I'll include it here as well: How To Format Dialogue.

If you don't read the book at least read that article.

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised with the direction the story took. With your incessant swearing—right there in the opening sentence—I was expecting something juvenile. How your story starts sets the tone for whats to follow, and you start with Fucking cocksuck. This piece reads like you're young albeit tackling a mature subject. I commend that, but you've got some work to do because your characters sound like teenagers.

As a whole, the idea here is good; I like it.

The Opening

I noticed your opening is extremely similar to The Cable Guy, but I don't think that was intentional. If you've not seen the film: it starts with a guy unable to get his cable working; he calls up the company for help only for a cable guy to almost supernaturally appear, he's still on the phone when the door knocks; the cable guy is eccentric but knows his stuff, and gets the cable working, later turning out to be far more than he appears. Your story deviates from there but anybody familiar with the movie is going to pick up on that.

Your opening does an excellent job of letting the reader get to know Dale. But you need to get rid of the swear words in your opening sentence—don't swear, and certainly don't swear twice, in your first sentence. Now past that initial speedbump, things move much more smoothly. The primary issue here is the pace. Everything plods.

Before I dive into the aforementioned pace: I liked your imagery with the wires appearing like snakes. But you weakened that by going into detail regarding where the wires are going and what they're for. Who cares where they go? Stick to the snakes. It will both help convey your character's mindset—he's not in a good place, he's getting frustrated—and give the reader an unsettling image to imagine. This is horror, afterall. Also, good imagery with "the guts."

I disliked the pacing because your title told me that a third-party is going to come to Dale's home. Dale isn't the cableguy, nor is his son, so I knew the horror aspect of the story had to come from whenever the cableguy shows up. So I kept finding myself thinking, "I get it, the TV doesn't work. Will he just call the cableguy already?" Much of what happens here, while, as I said, does flesh out Dale, is quite repetitive. Pretty much any info given to the reader during the first four pages is this:

  1. Dale is bad with electronics.
  2. Dale's son is good with electronics.
  3. Dale's wife is dead.
  4. The cable doesn't work.

    Consider how often you have Dale fail to get the cable working. Does he really need to go to the instructions twice? Does he need to go inside the entertainment unit three times? Is his son peeling plastic important enough to bring up twice? Do you really need to reference Speed and Band of Brothers? Does the reader need to know Dale switched cable providers? How important is it for Dale to take a nap? What would change if he hadn't drunk beer?

    There's so much fluff in your opening that is either repeating known information or not adding anything the reader needs to know.

    Dale ping pongs in and out of the unit so much it's making the scene boring. It's the same thing over and over: inside the unit, make no progress; climb out, make no progress; return to the unit, make no progress; climb out, make no progress.

    It's not until halfway through the entire story that the titular cableguy, whom I've been expecting the whole time, finally arrives.

    A man imagining his dead wife is in the room with him is interesting. A man being bad with electronics is boring. Put more focus on Dale's relationship with his wife.

    So, good job keeping things clear, but there's fat that needs trimming.


    I brought it up in my comments but I will expand on it here. This isn't good:

    > “Why won’t this work? What the hell…” is wrong here.

    I strongly suggest removing every single instance of this from your story.

    Why is that bad? For one, that is a question, so it should end with a question mark, not a period. It's not even correctly formatted, which I want you to keep in mind. Now, most importantly: using ellipses at the end of dialogue means the character trailed off. So your character spoke out loud then trailed off, which implies a pause, before finishing what he was speaking as a thought. That is jarring to read. Read that out loud with the pause that comes along with the use of ellipses. It is so jarring and unnatural.

    To hammer this point home: copy and paste your first four sentences into a text-to-speech reader and listen to what you wrote.

    Breaking rules for stylistic reasons can be fine, but you don't yet have a solid understanding of correct story formatting so you shouldn't be breaking these rules. If you want to use unorthodox formatting then read The Elements of Style first.


    I won't go into detail on this point but you're using way too many curse words. One paragraph has the word "fuck" in it fives times. At the end of page six, which is halfway through your story, I counted fifteen swear words. Out of fifteen-hundred words. Your first page is a title page, so that's an average of five curse words per page. That's too many.

    This sounds like a teenager speaking, not an adult:

    > “Wingspa…” He huffed. “No, I’m not from Wingspan. Fuck those fucking fucks. I’m a…I’m a more private cable guy. Independent.”

    You can have swearing in your story. Just tone it down a notch or two.

    Checkov's Son

    You drew a fair amount of attention to Dale's son in the opening scene. In fact, the reader knows more about the son than they do Karen. You told us Karen's name and nothing else about her. We know his son attends college, lives away from his father, is good with electronics, likes helping his dad but seems to be getting a bit sick of it, and enjoys peeling plastic of new electronics. All of that information is on your first three pages.

    Then, also on page three, the son is basically forgotten. He is completely irrelevant to the entire story. Nothing would change if you removed that character.

    I expected some kind of payoff regarding the son. Why else would you draw so much attention to him?

    You simply cannot have this:

    > His son, who was almost four and a half hours away at the college. His son, who said how proud he was of dear-old-dad for figuring out how to watch Band of Brothers on HBO. His son, who he’d just told would need to learn to start making his own phone payments now. His son, who liked to peel the plastic off of fresh electronics.

    and then immediately forget about the son character. Repeating something over and over tells the reader the thing being repeated is important. Tells them to remember it. But the reader could forget literally everything in this quote and still understand the story. Cut stuff like this down or make it matter to the story.

    As I covered in the section above: focus on Dale's relationship with his wife, or make the story about his son. Maybe have his son be dead instead. Nothing in the story requires his wife be the dead character. In fact, it would make more sense for it to be his son: much of the story is about his son being good at this stuff. So why wouldn't Hell's cable service hire him? His wife wasn't described as being skilled in this area.

    Anyway, right now you're focused exclusively on Dale and his son when the story's about Dale and his wife.

u/bperki8 · 3 pointsr/writing
u/nostalgicBadger · 2 pointsr/INTP

I'm going to be frank here: your grammar is bad to the point of distraction. I know that grammar is relaxed in fiction, and a lot of people will argue that "if you know what I mean, then grammar shouldn't matter". The problem though is that, as an experienced reader, when I see what appears to be a grammatical error, I expect there to be a reason: maybe the author is trying to tell me something about the narrator's level of education or background, or maybe he's trying to create a sense of authenticity in dialog, or maybe he's engaging in some clever wordplay. If the author doesn't know the rules, then it creates a sense of uncertainty that interferes with suspension of disbelief and undermines the work in general, sort of like if a sci-fi writer contradicts the rules of his own universe.

If you want me to step through and help you edit, I can, but it would take some time, so I want to make sure you're interested. In the meantime, I would strongly advise you to pick up a copy of Strunk and White and give it a thorough read. It isn't long, nor is it particularly dry (at least as style guides go), and I promise your writing will improve for the effort.

Also, it's "in / with regard to", not "in / with regards to".

Edit: Just to offer a quick example...

> I don’t want to get out of bed, I’ve turned my phone off and I’m ignoring my messages for a reason, I want to be normal, I want to be happy.

This is a pretty severe run-on sentence: you need to introduce new independent clauses with a conjunction and comma, except where list rules apply. A grammatically-correct revision might look like...

> I don't want to get out of bed. I've turned my phone off, and I'm ignoring my messages for a reason: I want to be normal. I want to be happy.

u/ExplicitInformant · 2 pointsr/INTP

First, I definitely empathize with your experience! I'm insufferably verbose, though I like to think I'm more clear than I used to be. Honestly, what helped me the most was receiving manuscript revisions over the years from an advisor who is superb at concise writing. If this is a college assignment, you could check out writing centers on campus. (They may or may not be helpful - if they are helpful though, you'll be glad you went!) If you want, I could also have a go at your first two paragraphs, as an example of how they could be written more concisely.

I strongly recommend Strunk and White's "The Elements of Style"(now on it's fourth edition). It is a concise 85 page book packed with tons of great and entertaining writing advice. The author concisely states various principles, and then gives examples. (Both of the poorly written, and of the improved and re-written version.) I'll quote one bit I found useful so you get a taste for it:

>Omit needless words.
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.

>Many expressions in common use violate this principle.
[He lists several contrasting examples, such as 'this is a subject that' vs. 'this subject'; 'there is no doubt but that' vs. 'no doubt' or 'doubtless'.]

>The fact that is an especially debilitating expression. It should be revised out of every sentence in which it occurs.
[Again examples, such as 'the fact that he had not succeeded' vs. 'his failure'; 'call your attention to the fact that' vs. 'remind you' or 'notify you'.]

I'll conclude by saying that another quick tip is to see how many of your longer sentences you can split into two. A few long sentences aren't bad, but it does ask the reader to remember a lot. This is especially true for individuals who don't think like we do, who are unfamiliar with the material, or who have more limited working memory. When I first started this, I felt like my writing was clipped (like how I might talk if I were really angry and had no patience left). However, you get used to it! Hope that helps!

u/insideoutfit · 2 pointsr/horror

I would love for you to message me when it's out.

As for books you should read, I would start with the three most commonly recomended books for writing. Believe me, these are gold printed on paper.

How To Write a Sentence

The Elements of Style

On Writing

and here's a great reference book: The Little, Brown Compact Handbook. Don't be turned off by the price, just search for a much cheaper older addition, it will have the same information.

u/Cdresden · 2 pointsr/suggestmeabook

The Elements of Style by Strunk and White.

The Emotion Thesaurus by Ackerman and Puglisi. Also their negative and positive trait thesauri.

I think it's valuable to keep a dictionary and thesaurus on your writing device, even though both are quickly available online. But an encyclopedia is obsolete, in my opinion, replaced by the internet, especially Wikipedia.

u/red_town · 2 pointsr/titanfall

Hey brother, there's a little book (seriously pocket-sized!) many would call the quick reference bible for English grammar:

Strunk and White's The Elements of Style - under $5 for a new physical copy! I use it every single time I'm editing... basically, whenever I have a shadow of a doubt about any rule.

One quick read through can help immensely with formatting and editing, and I think you could very well find it informative and beneficial :)

Keep writing, my man! Always happy to see people getting involved in creative pursuits.

u/bugontherug · 2 pointsr/fantasywriters

> Thanks so much for the lesson!

Strong, active voice construction. Good start.

> This is going to be a huge help.

Avoiding passive voice will make a huge difference in your writing. But it does take conscious effort. "To be" just comes too naturally to people.

If you don't already own a copy, pick up [this book]( /dp/020530902X) ASAP. It reads fast, and will improve your writing ten generations overnight. Keep it as a reference manual. Refer to it often.

Good luck!

u/reassemblethesocial · 2 pointsr/AskLiteraryStudies

A few more come to mind, less literature but more about stylistic and analytic skills you'll require in your advanced years in the Humanities.

People say to read a good style guide like Strunk & White, which is just okay. But I'd highly recommend Pinker's A Sense of Style--he also unpacks some of the problems with Strunk & White's core edicts.

Stanley Fish is just a great person to read in general. From his op-ed stuff in the NY Times to his class How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One. I'd also highly recommend reading the full introduction of the Norton Anthology of Theory & Criticism or the introduction to Rifkin & Ryan's Literary Theory: An Anthology. When it comes to the lit theory stuff there are some good torrents with a lot of anthologies and canonical texts lumped together as PDFs. I also find a lot of good stuff with my Scribd membership.

u/alieneggsac · 2 pointsr/

Three Words:

Strunk and White

u/baddestdog · 2 pointsr/seduction

The how/why are directly related. I mean here are my basics on texting:
>Start with a flirty text, preferably commenting on something from the bar, like "Had a great time dancing but it's going to take ages for my ankles to heal from being stepped on, know how they got that way?" or another classic "So I found this weird number in my phone... Who is this? :P" or you could be straightforward "Enjoying this crazy day? Meet me at [bar] at [time]" or since you like hiking, hiking but I'd be careful using that for a first meeting just the two of you.

>All of those start a conversation and if you tease her, she's going to want to defend herself a little. The last one though just tells her that you are a decision maker, that you're going to go regardless of whether or not she's going, and that you have confidence to just assume that she's going to go with your plan. I've found that even strong, independent women appreciate a man who takes charge.

>You should have sent her a text immediately after you got her numbers saying "Good meeting you last night. I'll see you soon unless [tease]" where [tease] is referencing something from the night like stepping on your feet, getting swallowed by a large handbag if she had one and you teased her about it, etc...


But seriously dude, type like someone who has a solid grasp on the English language. I'm not im, know when to use no or know, when to use they're, there, and their, I not i, punctuation and general grammar rules. Buy The Elements of Style, learn it, love it. NO ONE is attracted to poor grammar.

u/oditogre · 2 pointsr/

Honestly, Strunk -n- White (stupid markdown keeps murdering my ampersand) covers pretty much everything you'll ever need for the majority of cases, and it's a tiny book.

u/Jabbawookiee · 2 pointsr/law
u/jurniss · 2 pointsr/ProgrammingDiscussion

Strunk and White's The Elements of Style.

A guide to communicating in written English. It covers mechanical details like comma placement, but also philosophical opinions about what makes good writing.

As programmers, we write a lot of emails and web posts explaining our decisions, philosophy, details of a particular system, etc. It's important to write clearly because we are discussing complex ideas and we are often trying to convince someone. Clear and punchy writing makes a big difference. Silly mistakes can make you look unprofessional.

Even in code comments, good writing style is important. We must be precise and unambiguous.

Many good programmers are not native English speakers. This book encourages simpler structures and more common words, which are easier for non-native speakers to understand.

(I posted the Project Gutenberg link earlier, but it was the original edition from 1919. It might be pretty limited compared to later editions.)

u/-Manorly- · 2 pointsr/NoSleepOOC

I honestly just use the default for most programs unless I have to write something serious, then I couple that with The Elements of Style.

u/delapoer · 2 pointsr/movies

I do somewhat agree with you to a point. Understand that being able to write is a necessary skill for communication though. While commenting on someone's grammar in this setting is rather pointless as most people can figure it out, if you or someone you know has issues with writing there is a great book for it and it's only $5 from amazon. Probably less at your used book store.

u/mtm5891 · 2 pointsr/comicbooks

A little advice from one writer to another, you gotta chill on the excessive double quotations and exposition.

Double quotations are typically used to show speech. You seem to be using it for emphasis, which is fine for casual conversation but in script writing is best achieved via italics or single quotations, i.e. 'apostrophes.' Otherwise the quotations alongside the parentheses and other forms of punctuation leave your paragraph looking cluttered and disjointed.

As for the exposition, if you have to explain your phrasings to readers, then they're likely ineffective and shouldn't be used in the first place. For example in another comment you explained what you meant by 'no name' which was unnecessary. I say this because A) it's a commonplace phrase and B) you explained what it meant anyways which defeats the purpose of saying it in the first place. It seems apparent to me that you're falling into a trap a lot of writers do when they first start out, myself included, which is assuming that readers won't figure out what you're hinting at unless you explicitly say it in the text. Assuming your analogies are sensical and your name isn't James Joyce, nine times out of ten your audience will figure out the meaning of your wordplay without an issue.

I don't mean any of this as some sort of attack, just sharing honest advice I've picked up over the years that've helped sharpen my own skills. In that same vein, you should check out The Elements of Style and The Lexicon of Comicana. They've both helped me obtain a better grasp on language and comics as art forms and I'm sure would be of great help to you as well. Good luck! :)

u/wattotjabba · 2 pointsr/writing
u/torontosj · 2 pointsr/FIFA

You need this

u/NewBootGoofin · 2 pointsr/AskReddit
u/snakehawk37 · 2 pointsr/boardgames


"Description"s are great - I do NOT think you should spend more time talking about how the games work. Your little blurb gave me a perfect idea of the type of game that each is. If I want to know the rules, then I will click on the included links to the PnP games.

Beer Recommendations - I always enjoy people's thoughts on beers, and it is a nice unique feature.

Thoughts section - I think you do a good job of capturing some of what you felt while playing the game. I like that you compared it to Roll for the Galaxy, and think that comparing the game to the feelings caused by other games is great. I will say that this is the one area that I think you can write a lot, as it is the most "reviewish" and thus interesting part.

Overall Presentation - Good use of images, bold text, and links.


Writing style/grammar/spelling errors - Too many commas! You have a habit it seems of breaking up your writing a lot. Let the sentences flow more. Vary up your transitions. There were a couple spelling errors, but I find that those don't impact the readability of an article as much as proper use of grammar.
If you want to improve your writing The Elements of Style is a classic, good, and cheap book that has plenty of excellent writing tips. It is a pretty quick read as well.

Lack of "Rating" - I understand both sides of this argument, but I like when reviewers are bold enough to throw a rating of some sort. Whether a # system or something like (Into the Recycling Bin) --> (Good game) --> (Awesome game), I think either is very helpful.

Hopefully this was helpful. Overall, it was a nice read that serves its purpose well. I also think I'll check out Deep Space D-6 :)

u/ManderPants · 2 pointsr/writing
u/Neezy_ · 2 pointsr/CoDCompetitive

It's difficult to provide any judgment based off these types of write-ups. They're essentially overviews, which is the bare bones of journalism.

It's great that you provided plenty of background information. You have a decent flow; have you considered reading books on journalism or writing? I'm a content marketer and I always recommend that our new hire writers read this book: . It's the perfect lifelong tool for any writer. It will help you brush up your skills.

u/AncientHistory · 2 pointsr/writing

> How do I improve my writing (both critical and creative)?

Read more, write more. In your case, I think you probably want to focus less on creative writing and more on technical and business writing, which are very different beasts.

> What books should I look at to help me do this?

The Elements of Style is a good start. You might also get some use out of Understanding Rhetoric

> When trying to interpret and "look into" a text how do I do that very well?

You need to consider the text on several levels: What is the text telling you? How is the text telling you that? What does the author want you to take away from the text? Is there a subtext (i.e. an implicit message in the text that is not spelled out) or any symbolism in the text?

> What would you say is the greatest misconception about the process of creative writing?

That there is one process. Creative writing is as varied as the number of creative writers there are out there, and not every technique and approach will work for you. From the sound of it, just in terms of a college application essay and a desire to enter the business world, you don't really need to focus on creative writing - you want to focus on rhetoric, persuasive writing, and technical communication.

u/travisxavier · 2 pointsr/writing

Hopefully all writers feel this at some point as it is the entire point of communicating through writing: how to accurately express how you feel and what you wish to say intelligently and accurately so your audience understands.

One book I've found has helped immensely is Elements of Style (I'll provide a link below). It is a short little book that has numerous invaluable tips; for example, how exactly do you use those pesky little commas? It's in there. And it helps that it's fairly inexpensive.

The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition

PS. My friends and I are doing a podcast on writing called Pints and Prose ( in which we talk about all things literary including grammar. I would love to see what you think and if you have anything you would like to hear about. Hope you like it and hope the book helps!

u/Yarbles · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

Strunk and White's The Elements of Style. It's dry and boring, but it's short and is considered the standard.

u/Watcher_not_Doer · 2 pointsr/Proofreading
u/BitRex · 2 pointsr/todayilearned
u/redditfromwork · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

My first suggestion after 6+ years of engineering school would be get this book: Strunk & White. It's really small and easy to get through, and if you follow its rules you're more than half way to being a competent tech writer.

u/nx_2000 · 2 pointsr/CasualConversation

If your work is free of grammar and spelling errors you're probably ahead of most of your classmates right there.

You might read some books about writing like The Elements of Style. The only writing I've done professionally was for TV news. I read exactly one book on the subject, Writing Broadcast News by Mervin Block (he wrote for Cronkite). It's basically the Bible of broadcast writing and it was very instructive.

u/tit_wrangler · 2 pointsr/todayilearned

I agree that Reddit comments are not a big deal when it comes to grammar. In fact, I'm generally very impressed with people's writing on this site, as compared to most other reaches of the internet. The only reason I commented in the first place was because it seemed topically appropriate.

May I ask which subset of linguistics you're interested in? Generally speaking, linguistics doesn't just concern itself with grammar and etymology, but also writing systems and their inherent rules. (On that note, a common misconception is that "grammar" encompasses writing, when it's actually the opposite! A language's grammar includes everything that can be discerned orally [diction, syntax, semantics, etc.], whereas writing nuances are a different field of linguistics.)

As far as learning the ins and outs of writing rules, I suggest using Purdue's Online Writing Lab as a resource. If you're willing to shell out a few bucks, The Elements of Style is one of the most authoritative and useful books you can buy.

u/okcukv · 2 pointsr/OkCupid


I'd recommend lighting your profile on fire right now, reading Strunk & White, and starting from scratch.

Seriously. New profiles get all the traffic. And you can update all your answers - that draws plenty of traffic, too. Plus it will be good to organize your thoughts.

u/escapevelocity11 · 2 pointsr/GradSchool

*Yes, you are right. What do I need to do to improve it?

Here are several links to books that might be helpful:
Link 1
Link 2
Link 3

u/LinguaManiac · 2 pointsr/writing

Everyone's told you everything already. I just want to say it again, so you know that there really isn't a secret sauce or anything.

First, read all the time. And keep challenging yourself against better authors. When you go back to re-read a book you loved only to find that every other sentence makes you crazy for how poorly its written, you know you're getting somewhere.

Second, write all the time. It doesn't have to be a finished product. It doesn't even have to be anything that will make its way into a finished product. It can simply be a paragraph that you find yourself compelled to write. That's fine. I (and I don't know if others do this) end up writing the first half of a short story at least twice before I can even get through the whole thing once.

And that brings me to another point. Your first draft will suck -- like, a lot. Just edit. Then edit again. And (after another ten or twenty edits) edit the last time.

To address your specific question about grammar: pick a grammar guide and go with it. Then learn to ignore about a third of the rules if it fits the story. Everyone will have their own preference for grammar guides. Mine is The Elements of Style by Shrunk and White (

Just remember, as I said, to ignore the stuff that's silly, like using inflammable instead of flammable.

u/GreatMoloko · 1 pointr/beerblogs

I'm coming up on my fourth year of doing this so here's what I picked up on:

  1. Check your Permalink settings for better SEO (Search Engine Optimization). In WordPress it's Settings -> Permalink. Doing custom and /%category%/%postname%/ will get you better SEO
  2. Fill out your about page
  3. All your social media links work, good. Facebook is a megaphone talking to people who probably won't see it unless you pay for it. Twitter is a conversation tweet regularly and reply to tweets!
  4. I can't see much of that picture, looks like an empty glass and a bottle. Try and include a full glass of beer so we can see the beer.
  5. I'm not going to get into grammar though there are a couple issues I saw. Check out the Grammarly Chrome Plugin. I thought I had a good grasp on things but that changed my view. I now pay for the advanced features too.
  6. As general writing rules check out The Elements of Style
  7. Beer reviews are a good start, but people already go to BeerAdvocate, RateBeer, or Untappd for that so you may not pull in a lot of traffic that way. Also, I bet you'll get worn out on it in a few months. Diversify your content with opinion, interviews, history, education, new releases, whatever you enjoy reading/learning/writing about.
  8. I'm totally jealous you can get Short's :) I have a friend whose family vacation in Michigan and he always brings a bunch of Short's back.
u/PillowTalk420 · 1 pointr/AdviceAnimals
u/OrgasmicRegret · 1 pointr/grammar

/u/legeng Thank you for such s terrifically detailed reply. I will be going through each section in detail.

I think I mentioned it, but I'm a huge John Gruber fan, perhaps not so much his content, as I know Macs well on my own, but for the pieces he writes. Well researched, putting him at a huge time disadvantage, which seems to matter little to hostesses and me.

I would rather read a well trusted article, something I brliebe I can cite as he doesn't write much conjecture, except when he clearly is/does.

He has the advantage of many willing people who work within the walled garden of Apple to feed him data.

I seem to recall he lives by a book called The Elements of Style

I wonder: How important a book like this is?

Part of me says "get writing", get pre-releases into the communities I will be targeting. Then the programmer in me says, always read the documentation first :)

Thank you /u/legeng and /u/everyone-else-who-helped-me-out-here. I truly appreciate the honesty and candidness of your replies. Great sub-reddit.

u/Artaxerxes_IV · 1 pointr/Cricket

EXACTLY!!! A preposition can NEVER be a verb. For those that have made this error, please see Elements of Style

u/YourHaughtyNarrator · 1 pointr/writing

For fiction, check out Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft. It's a comprehensive guide with sections on process, elements of craft, and revision. Each section also features an outstanding short story (or two) and numerous writing exercises. My own dog-eared copy, which I use for lessons in my fiction workshops, is right here on my desk.

To improve your sentence-level writing and refresh your memory on the particulars of grammar and mechanics, you won't go wrong with a copy of The Elements of Style.

u/Thebestfrenchie · 1 pointr/IWantToLearn

The Elements of Style by Strunk & White.

u/JimmyShockTreatment · 1 pointr/self

Seems like you've got the help you need for now, but you really should improve your skills. Check out The Elements of Style.

u/metanoid · 1 pointr/programming

Bob's article on naming conventions reminds me of William Strunk, Jr.'s advice in The Elements of Style. The introduction by T.H. White is a knee-slapper, ya'll.

A gem from Strunk's "Elements":
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 his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.

u/farmingdale · 1 pointr/AskEngineers

I wasnt its just-ok a bit angry. Here is a good book for you to read:

elements of style

Read the book, reread it, and open it up once in a while and reread it again. It teaches you how to effectively communicate. Your goal when you write should be to make your point in a very blunt matter in such a way that no one can argue what exactly you meant.

u/danbuter · 1 pointr/theology

Get a copy of Strunk & White's Elements of Style and read through it and learn it.

u/lingual_panda · 1 pointr/writing

Here are a couple more recommendations for you:

  • The Elements of Style is a really approachable explanation on grammar. Very little English-class jargon, tons of clear examples. I laughed quite a bit.
  • How Not to Write a Novel, also very entertaining and covers every aspect of writing and storytelling in great detail.
u/Brometheus24 · 1 pointr/writing

First off, it's really awesome that you're starting at a young age!

For grammar and style, this is the go-to for me and most of the writers I know:

For prose and fiction writing in general, check this one out:

I will say that there are moments in The Art of Fiction where the writer, John Gardner, has some very snobby opinions about types of fiction he doesn't like (genre fiction, mostly). But, ignoring those moments, it's a great resource.

u/joshharkema · 1 pointr/shortstories

Okay, thank you for this submission. This story is lost in terrible structure and grammar.

Specific issues:

Semi-colon use - a semicolon should be replaceable with a period (for example: this is a full sentence; this is another full sentence) and are used to join two similar clauses together in two complete sentences. Here's another example (I pulled it from an academic paper I wrote):

>To continue down this line of reasoning, a reader’s desire to force this into an either/or statement (the foe is an enemy or the foe is the narrator himself) has a double effect; the narrator is presented as having known all along that his foe is present in the garden, thus a reader must consider the possibility that the narrator himself is the foe.

Comma use - a comma separates two consecutive clauses with the same subject. So not:

>Then, one day, he disappeared.


>Then one day, he disappeared.

In the first case you're treating "Then" like an introductory clause, which it is not. The second is still wrong, but I leave it to you to figure out why.

The list effect -

>Leeroy collaborated with him; he got a writer credit, as well as a producer credit. Leeroy was never a part of our group, but Hollywood didn’t care.

This is another example of terrible comma and semicolon use -- I leave it to you to figure out why.

I have some suggestions (I copy and paste these a lot):

  1. -> Read and memorize this. It will be the best .99 cents you've ever spent.

  2. Practice writing shorter stories. <1000 words. It will cut out all the crap many new writers buffer their language with.

  3. Don't tell stories with dialogue tags. He said, she said, I said, etc. is all you need. It becomes terribly difficult to pick apart the tags and the story for a reader.

    Further reading suggestions:

  4. Character and Viewpoint - Orson Scott Card

  5. Plot - Ansen Dibell

  6. Conflict and Suspense - James Scott Bell

  7. Unwriting by Kenny Goldsmith

  8. "Shitty First Drafts" - (it's a PDF, so the whole thing is right here.)

  9. 20 Master Plots - Tobias -- try to tell some of these stories in the fewest amount of words, I do it for practice all the time.

  10. Keep a writer's journal - write all your ideas, drafts, clippings of other good stories, etc. It's like a database of knowledge for you to look back on when you're stuck.

    If you plan on taking this career seriously, these are all good places to start -- after The Elements of Style of course. Best of luck with your writing, feel free to send me any of your subsequent works.

u/cantcountnoaccount · 1 pointr/EnglishLearning

The Elements of Style by Strunk & White

Most books on basic grammar are for young children; older children learn by reading, writing and being corrected bit by bit. I would doubt there are many native speakers who had a school English textbook they thought was very useful.

When I was a child (back in the Stone Age) there was a popular series on TV called "Schoolhouse Rocks" that was made up of songs and video on different topics, including English grammar.

Conjunction Junction

Unpack Your Adjectives

The Tale of Mr. Morton

There are more, those are just some of the more popular ones.

u/remembertosmilebot · 1 pointr/writing

Did you know Amazon will donate a portion of every purchase if you shop by going to instead? Over $50,000,000 has been raised for charity - all you need to do is change the URL!

Here are your smile-ified links:

On Writing Well

Elements of Style

Thrill Me

Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft


^^i'm ^^a ^^friendly bot

u/EditDrunker · 1 pointr/writing

On Writing Well by William Zissner and Elements of Style by Strunk and White will help you write with clarity and succinctness. King's On Writing and Lamott's Bird by Bird will give you good general advice (and the reading list at the end of King's is great), but yeah, they don't get into the nitty gritty details too often (which is why some people like them and why some people don't).

Thrill Me by Benjamin Percy is a great collection of essays on fiction. It's somewhere between On Writing's and Bird by Bird's generalness and the specificity of On Writing Well and Elements of Style. You might even disagree with some of Percy's essays but he tackles topics that are important to think about regardless.

And I can't recommend Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft by Janet Barroway and Elizabeth and Ned Stuckey-French enough. It's a little pricey—look for it at your local library before you buy—but it's basically a undergraduate class on writing, complete with readings and exercises.

u/aelfric · 1 pointr/sysadmin

I'll add in Strunk and White. You may think something that was written in the 1900's is out of date: you'd be wrong.

u/hateCaptchas · 1 pointr/TheRedPill

> I keep being told in essays I switch tenses but I cannot even begin to recognize that.

I recommend that you pick up a copy of Strunk & White, The Elements of Style. It's a very small book that compresses the most essential parts of writing English properly; and, it doesn't waste time on unnecessary jargon.

Amazon has it here: .

u/Forricide · 1 pointr/writing

Hey - quick question for you. I'm considering picking this up (from here?). The reviews seem rather positive; is it easily understandable and still relevant today?

u/Setruss · 1 pointr/EngineeringStudents

For just reading books, find a genre that interests you or an author you like and keep reading. Some authors have their quirks, but generally published works have decent grammar.

Found the one I have since it has a distinctive cover:

It's cheap and small, a good starter imo. I think I got it in middle school or high school from my english teacher.

u/gmthrowaway2017 · 1 pointr/news

Maybe that link could help you out. I'd suggest reviewing your Strunk and White, however. Someone as educated as you surely has a copy on hand.

u/Jeveran · 1 pointr/writing

^^ I came here to say this.

u/SexyCraig · 1 pointr/writerchat

I can't underestimate the value of this book—but I'm not alone, it's the book everyone that knows what they're talking about recommends. I just read Stephen King's book "On Writing," (I'm not a SK fan, but everyone loves his book on writing—it's a very highly rated book). And Stephen King skips talking about writing style almost completely because "The Elements of Style" exists.

Nothing compares to this one, tiny little book. It gets updated every ten years or something but it looks like this.

Every time you read this, your writing will become more and more bullet-proof against writing criticism. When people say "know the rules" before you break them, this little book is a list of those rules.

u/threadofhope · 1 pointr/copywriting

Have you read Strunk & White's Elements of Style? It's a classic in writing English well. It's a short and interesting read.

u/dblknotspy · 1 pointr/AdviceAnimals

Nice try at what? You could have dropped compartmentalize and tangentially and said the same thing only far more concisely. You don't have to dumb it down, you have to make it an understandable sentence. If a reasonably intelligent person has to stop and figure out what the hell you are saying you're saying it wrong. Most written word, news papers etc are written on an 8th grade level, not because people are stupid but because it's understandable. Trying to sound smart is pedant and off-putting, drop the pretence and just say in clear concise words what is on your mind. There's a great book for wannabe writers called Strunk & White's The Elements Of Style that will keep you from looking like a pseudo intellectual moron. Here's a link for it:

u/rebirth01 · 1 pointr/writing

Hello, Smilezonded, you can try 'The Elements of Style.' I think it's the writers bible and a must have on your shelf.

Edit: Attached a link for the book:

u/George_Willard · 1 pointr/writing

I think I disagree, but guess I haven't read a ton of books about writing. In my experience, they can be helpful, especially to people who are just starting out. Maybe not as helpful as reading the types of books that you want to write (and reading the stuff you don't want to write—it's important to read widely), but I don't know if I'd call them a waste of time. King's book is great (but that might be because I got the impression that I'd like him as a person while I was reading that), Strunk and White Elements of Style and Zissner's On Writing Well are helpful for tightening beginners' prose, Writing Fiction: a guide to narrative craft has great exercises at the end of every chapter, and I'm reading Benjamin Percy's essay collection Thrill Me right now, and it's great. I feel like a large part of /r/writing would really connect with the first and titular essay in that collection, actually. He talks about reading a lot of so-called trash genre fiction before being exposed to literary fiction and how he kind of overcorrected and became a super-fierce advocate for that-and-only-that before he realized that you can take the good parts of both to create amazing stories. I've also never read any other respected literary person mention reading R. A. Salvatore, which was cool to see since I forgot I was a big Drizzt fan when I was younger.

u/Curiosity-Student · 1 pointr/Baruch

Short Answer: Grammarly Free Version

Long Answer: Purchase and read it thoroughly.

Anyone can scrape a pass in ENG courses by just correcting their poor grammar.However, are you really going to settle for a bare minimum C in the easiest course at Baruch? Read the book, it'll take less than 40 minutes. Highlight the sections on word usage and commonly misused words. Condition it to memory and your writing will drastically change if you take it seriously.

u/mg21202 · 1 pointr/MBA

Sure, I’d be happy to share.

I’ve only selected courses for semesters 1 & 2 for now. If there’s interest, I can update my list later on.

To give some context, my intention is to specialize in International Trade at the level of small to medium sized business. So while these first couple semesters are pretty standard business fundamentals, in semester 4 you’ll notice I start to choose courses based on developing specific skill sets that are applicable to my objectives.

I’ve ignored several courses which would be important for someone looking to get a complete and well rounded business education, but don’t seem critical for my goals.

Some courses I’ve skipped: Ethics (lol), Information Systems, Project Management, Calculus, Econometrics, Corporate Finance, Political Economics, Cyber Security, Human Resources.

Okay, on to the curriculum...


Academic Foundations (Optional Prep Courses)

I am about to embark on a lengthy 1-2yr education so for me it makes sense to brush up on academics skills as force multipliers for my efforts later on. This section is totally optional though and not part of any business school curriculum.

Academic Foundations - Memory & Effective Learning


u/gesher · 1 pointr/TechSEO

I agree. OP should try reading these two books:

u/NancyGracesTesticles · 1 pointr/webdev

The content development people I know in the industry have English, English Lit or Marketing backgrounds and have been honing those skills (specifically writing and communications) throughout their careers.

The main problem you are going to run in to (because there is such a large difference between SE, graphic design and content development) is that there is really no way to become proficient and maintain proficiency in all three. Essentially, you are being asked to assume three roles at your company so something is going to have to give. You'll need to be aware that you'll be sacrificing depth in any given field for the breadth of maintaining basic skills in all three. The end result is that your effectiveness will be reduced for all roles.

But more to you question (and if you are comfortable with this scenario) would to look into marketing and business communications textbooks as well as getting a copy of this:

u/ftanuki · 1 pointr/movies

"Huge photo archive of classic film stars"


u/dsmith1067 · 1 pointr/Advice

There's a book I recommend...

The Elements of Style by Strunk & White It's a very useful reference and probably a good place to start.

Cheers and good luck!

u/agent_spooky · 1 pointr/grammar

The Elements of Style by Strunk and White is a classic. It's useful for rote memorization of grammar rules and fundaments. Once you've got a decent grasp of those rules, pick up Williams and Bizup's Style, which is better for practical use.

Edit: Silly me — I didn't actually address your request, OP. You probably want a book on sentence diagramming. I haven't read any, but you might check out the top results on Amazon.

u/Variable303 · 1 pointr/tipofmytongue

Could it be this? Not sure if it has tree diagrams, but I do know that it's a very popular manual in colleges.

u/TheYoungestFool · 1 pointr/videos

At the risk of sounding redundant, your grammar made me literally cringe. If you wouldn't mind, please delete your Reddit account or read this book:

u/littlebutmighty · 1 pointr/writing

Sure. I recommend 3 books for grammar, style, and self-editing:

u/Echoux · 1 pointr/KeepWriting
  • On Writing by Stephen King
  • Invisible Ink by Brian McDonald

    These two are the most basic, they're books to read through and soak in the information. The following two are more like reference books, still highly recommend:

  • The elements of style, fourth edition
  • The curious Writer: Concise Edition

    Pick them all up if you can, they are invaluable and go over basics like format, grammar, sentence structure and other fundamentals of writing. Invisible Ink in particular will go over what makes a story impact, how to build armatures for your novel/short story and how to effectively communicate emotions through the written word. Good luck my friend!

    EDIT: The Curious writer has a new edition of their book but why pay four times the amount to get virtually the same book? Stick with the fourth edition.
u/dCLCp · 1 pointr/pics
u/redheaded_robot · 1 pointr/AskReddit

This book is pretty useful :)

u/pskeen0927 · 1 pointr/funny

Are students introduced to The Elements of Style?

u/Santini_Air · 1 pointr/grammar

Check out The Elements of Style. It is fantastic, and really a must-read. The glossary alone will probably answer your questions. The rest is gravy.

u/transcribot · 1 pointr/TranscribersOfReddit

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v0.6.0 | This message was posted by a bot. | FAQ | Source | Questions? Message the mods!

u/A_Man_Has_No_Name · 1 pointr/AskLiteraryStudies

Aristotle's Poetics is where my literary criticism course started. You might also look at Longinus' On The Sublime and Burke's A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful. If you want to get more specific on mechanics of pleasant writing that isn't so philosophically dense, you might look at Strunk & White's Elements of Style, Pinker's Sense of Style and my personal favorite, Stephen King's On Writing (The first half is biographical but the second part is an interesting commentary on the act of writing).

u/-Pin_Cushion- · 1 pointr/Eve
u/RaymondCarversDog · 1 pointr/writing

Elements of Style is fantastic.

u/frodotroublebaggins · 1 pointr/whatsthatbook
u/Asura72 · 1 pointr/writing

Here are a couple of books and a few other things you can do to help you improve. Generally speaking I would only use books to learn the nuts and bolts of writing (grammar, passive vs. active voice and Point of View - stuff like that). Everyone writes in a different way, there are a thousand paths up the mountain as the saying goes, so learning how Stephen King writes (On Writing) may not help you understand how you write.

If you only read one book on writing, make sure it's Elements of Style by Strunk and White - It's short and covers all the basic mechanics of writing.

As others have said, read widely. This is probably the most important thing you can do. Read and then read reviews and critiques. You will begin to see common themes to what people like and dislike. If you can spot these in the work of others, you will learn to spot them in your own work.

Join a critique group. This is basically the same thing as reading Goodreads or Amazon reviews, but supercharged. You see the raw material, warts and all. You will probably get more from learning to critically assess the work of others than you will from their critiques of your work. Lots of libraries have writers groups or you can join one online like Critters.

I would suggest not to jump straight into a novel. Learn to write short stories and polish your craft there. A 3000 word short story is less of an investment in time than a 100,000 word novel. You will make mistakes in the beginning, best to make them quickly and get them over with, learn and move on.

u/neotropic9 · 1 pointr/writing

Syntax as Style by Tufte is the best for sentence level mechanics. By far.

On Writing Well by Zinsser is the best for non-fiction.

If you're interested in fiction, Story Engineering by Brooks is the one I usually recommend for structure. But you might use Knight's Creating Short Fiction for that purpose. Or Save the Cat by Snyder.

People often recommend Elements of Style by Strunk and White. It has the benefit of being very short and direct. It will make your writing better, if you're a beginner. Your essays will read more smoothly. But I don't like recommending this book because it lacks nuance and is sometimes wrong. If you just want to improve your writing as quickly as possible, get this book. If you actually care about language, get Virginia Tufte's book instead.

u/gregK · 0 pointsr/programming

Reading that I did not get the feeling the ideas you were trying to convey were very clear in your head.

>Professionalism is orthogonal to the engineering-craftsman-hacker spectrum and must not be conflated.

The only thing conflated is that sentence.


u/ledfox · 0 pointsr/SocialEngineering

If you would like to present a professional written voice, you should check out Strunk and White's excellent Elements of Style.

u/artist508 · 0 pointsr/airsoft

Nice sentence structure. Do yourself a favor and read this to improve your hack writing skills.

u/dodgeastreet · 0 pointsr/investing

There is definitely a student loan market.

You want me to come at you with english? Literacy and grammar are gifts you give yourself. Do it for you, man.

u/macblastoff · 0 pointsr/AdviceAnimals

Luck with that. You better start augmenting right now with studying of "if" statements (subjunctive mood), a Strunk & White style guide (commas do belong in a sentence, but not everywhere), and a good spell checker.

Commentary directed at reddit et al, not OP.

u/burnt_wick · 0 pointsr/CrownVictoria

I got my car in rural Pennsylvania. I did a lot of searching online and found the advert. It was a long drive (300 miles round trip).

The only reason I took the chance and made the drive was because the miles on the car were reasonable (91.5k), the idle hours were exceptionally low (295h), and the price was reasonable (dealer was asking $4,250, I bought it for $3,750).

The car was in immaculate condition because it was a Sheriff's car in an extremely rural area (population about 1,000) with zero crime. I looked up the Sheriff and there was only one guy in the entire department and he is an 80 year old guy.

This is probably the best criteria for buying a CVPI - get it from a rural area with little to no crime and low population. That means that the car probably wasn't beaten on because there wasn't much police work to actually do.

The opposite would be a car that was used by a state trooper or highway patrol. That pretty much guarantees high idle hours and lots of operating the car at WOT to run down speeders.

My friend, I don't mean to be hard on you for the way that you write. But I have to tell you that if this is the best you can do, you are severely limiting yourself in terms of future employment opportunities. If I got a job application from someone with your writing skills, I wouldn't hire them to pump gas.

What school teaches children to put a space before a comma? Also, is it really that hard to type the word "you"?

I'm not trying to be hard on you man. I just have a really hard time putting any effort into communicating with someone who has little to no respect for the English language.

That said, you did seem to try to put some effort into a coherent reply, so I responded. But even at that your grammar is atrocious.

Do yourself a favor: get better. Put in the work to learn how to properly communicate with adults.

This may sound harsh, but it is the best advice you have ever received towards bettering yourself, but I doubt this is the first time you are hearing this from someone.

I wish you the best with your quest to find a good car. And if you are interested in learning how to properly use the English language, here is a 100 page book for less than $10 that will truly help you.

Again, I'm not picking on you. I'm trying to help you - because you need the help unless you are ok with working minimum wage jobs for the rest of your life.

u/sheriffSnoosel · 0 pointsr/videos

And I have a book for you, my well-heeled friend.
This should help you with your prose, which is a little pedantic.
Also this
because you kind of come off a little bit abrasive, you know with the condescending tone, and the thesaurus driven name calling and such. I am sure it is just a result of your giant brain being squeezed too tightly by your unfortunately semian skull. Anyway, if you ever decide that you actually want to learn stuff about fire balls beyond the basics (where you show gross conceptual errors), check out Zeldovich and Razier, a book we used in an actual graduate physics class.

u/race2thebottom · -1 pointsr/Hungergames

You have to admit - you phrased that sentence pretty poorly.

edit: see previous edit

u/Marzhall · -1 pointsr/grammar

As a companion to straight grammar, Strunk and White is an oft-suggested title for people interested in improving their prose, and was required reading for my journalism degree. Most of the 'rules' in the book are about writing in a fashion that makes you more readable and clear, but it may be something you're interested in.

u/BobbleheadDoll · -1 pointsr/opiates

No offense, but your first sentence was verbose and confusing. It's not because the reader is dumb; rather, it is because of poor diction and style.

EDIT: If you ever buy a book on how to write, Strunk and White's, "Elements of Style" would be the one to buy.

u/Rimbosity · -2 pointsr/CFB

On the assumption that you are not trolling and actually are this poorly educated, you need to go back and review basic rules of English Grammar. If you don't have a copy of The Elements of Style, you need to pick one up and read it. I can also recommend to you the very entertaining Woe is I or Eats, Shoots & Leaves if you want to be entertained as well as better-informed.

The noun that follows "than" when it is used as for comparison is always in agreement with the noun it would have replaced if it were the only element of the sentence; moreover, "be" verbs have no object. Ergo:

> Pete may be fat, but that lady is fatter than he.

"That lady" is the subject of the sentence, ergo we use "he" for our pronoun instead of "him." But if we presume that this lady's misfortunes continue:

> After the mugger began beating on her with a shovel, Pete said, "Better that he beat up her than me."

In this case the lady is the object of the mugger's bludgeoning with a garden implement, ergo we use "her" and "me" instead of "she" or "I."

The one confusing aspect to this is that in informal English, we generally permit people to sloppily treat the end of our "be" verbs as objects, thus the joke in the title of O'Conner's wonderful book, because "Woe is I" sounds wrong, even though it is strictly correct.

One assumes a hottie educated enough to get into Stanford would know the difference and use the correct phrase.

Edit: Also, as a postscript, given that I'm currently fighting with my SO as to whether our son should be educated in our country or hers, the huge number of up-votes you are receiving is not helping my cause. All of you, stop being whiny bitches about not knowing how to speak and write properly and go learn something:

u/slightrightofcenter · -4 pointsr/grammar

I would highly recommend The Elements of Style by Strunk & White. It's a brilliant book originally written in 1918, I believe.

u/sirberus · -4 pointsr/LawSchool

Never heard of that -- is this it?

Can you tell me more about it and why you recommend it? Also, which parts are distracting? I definitely have a writing style that turns some off -- would love to improve it to be more versitile.

u/Singinhawk · -4 pointsr/everymanshouldknow

But, but... Brevity... The effort of being concise is one that I take very seriously, largely due in part to this book. Strunk stresses writing only what need be written, and then revising to make your sentences as short as possible. I'm not trying to babysit EMSK or any subreddit for that matter, I want to get my point across as quickly as possible. In the end, three words is much less than five.

u/ArmondWhite420 · -5 pointsr/TrueDetective

I'm not seeing an argument here. You are correct that the "bad guys wearing yellow" is part of True Detectives Image System. You are also correct that Marty walking into his daughters room and seeing the dolls is a "fucking scene and part of the plot of this television show". I am not disputing either of these claims. The dolls are also part of the Image System and whose symbolism is incredibly simple, and in little way is as complex as this subreddit would make it out to be.

I'd like to point you in the direction of The Elements of Style. I think it would help you form your sentences and your arguements in a much more clear and concise way.

u/Paddled · -7 pointsr/WTF


Context. Reread it: you got all excited. I made it subtle, and that was my error: I apologize.

As for the superfluous words you add:

Not understanding context: that speak's for it's self.

Your needlessly verbose writing style: OK.

u/bluefoxicy · -16 pointsr/BasicIncome

This is unreadable. I can't keep track of this shit.

Buy this, right now. Read it. Then come back and copy edit.