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The Elephants of Style : A Trunkload of Tips on the Big Issues and Gray Areas of Contemporary American English

The Elephants of Style : A Trunkload of Tips on the Big Issues and Gray Areas of Contemporary American English
Author: Bill Walsh
ISBN 13: 9780071422680
ISBN 10: 71422684
Edition: 1
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education
Publication Date: 2004-03-12
Format: Paperback
Pages: 238
List Price: $18.00

A thorough, and thoroughly entertaining, guide to writing like the pros

What do writers and editors mean when they talk about style? Sometimes they mean formatting for consistency and clarity. (Is it Texas or Tex. or TX? One space or two after a period?) Sometimes they mean correctness in spelling, grammar, word usage and punctuation. (A historic or an historic? The data is or the data are?) And sometimes they mean style as in stylishness. (Bright and breezy or just-the-facts-ma'am? Is that cute little idea fresh and original or tired and silly?) Inside, you'll find answers that will add polish and sparkle to your writing.

In the word-nerd classic Lapsing Into a Comma, Bill Walsh of the Washington Post entertained, educated and enlightened writers, editors, students and language lovers with commonsense guidelines and opinionated commentary on American English in the computer age. In The Elephants of Style he takes a step back and presents an in-depth look at the basics, including spelling, capitalization, abbreviations, subject-verb agreement, plurals and possessives.

With sometimes acerbic wit, the author also addresses:

  • The lies your English teacher told you.
  • Balancing the traditional ("Once wrong, always wrong") with the progressive ("Everybody does it") as language continues to evolve.
  • How and why major publications differ in their handling of basic spelling, capitalization and punctuation issues.
  • How empathy between writers and editors can make writing better.

The Elephants of Style includes a continuation of The Curmudgeon's Stylebook, Walsh's A-to-Z glossary of style matters big and small, guaranteed to address questions that no other usage manuals cover. Is Starbucks a coffee shop? Is it porn or porno?

Bill Walsh is the copy chief for national news at the Washington Post and the creator of the popular Web site The Slot: A Spot for Copy Editors (www.theslot.com). He lives in Washington, D.C.