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Anti-Strunkites, Pt. 2
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Michael Leddy pokes holes in Geoffrey Pullum’s critique of Strunk and White, particularly Pullum’s characterization of S/W’s guidance as free-floating, contentless maxims:

Pullum says that “many” of Strunk and White’s recommendations are “useless,” citing “Omit needless words” as an example. On its own, this advice is no more helpful than telling a musician to avoid playing wrong notes. But “Omit needless words” doesn’t appear on its own; it’s accompanied by sixteen examples of how to improve cumbersome phrasing (e.g., “the fact that”) and a demonstration of how six choppy sentences can be revised into one…

Pullum’s summing up

One comment

My favorite Geoffrey Pullum takedown remains David Foster Wallace, God love ‘im.

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