Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style" is the best-known instruction book on writing in English.

I organized and distilled chapter five, "An Approach to Style (With a List of Reminders)," from 6,500 words to 1,300.

The summary includes ten observations and 21 reminders:
There’s no key that unlocks the door...
🔷No infallible guide to good writing
🔷No satisfactory explanation of style
🔷No inflexible rule by which writers may shape their course
These reminders state what most of us know and at times forget...
🔷Style is an expression of self
🔷To approach it, turn away from mannerisms, tricks, and adornments
🔷Move toward plainness, simplicity, orderliness, and sincerity
A careful and honest writer does not need to worry about style...
🔷The writer is the style, and the style is the writer
🔷Who you are, not what you know, will determine your style
No writer long remains incognito...
🔷A style reveals a writer’s identity, as surely as fingerprints
🔷Writers reveal their spirits, their habits, their capacities, and their biases
🔷Writing is communication, and creative writing is the Self escaping into the open
1. To achieve style, begin by affecting none...
🔷That is, place yourself in the background
🔷Draw the reader's attention to the sense and substance of the writing
🔷Solid writing reveals the temper of the writer, and not at the expense of the work
2. Write in a way that comes naturally...
🔷The use of language begins with imitation
🔷Never imitate consciously, but don't worry about being an imitator
🔷Take pains to admire what is good
🔷Use words and phrases that come readily to hand
3. Work from a suitable design...
🔷Great writing will be found to have a secret plan
🔷Design informs even the simplest structure
🔷Anticipate what you are getting into and build a scheme
🔷Lest you miss the forest for the trees and there be no end to your labors
4. Write with nouns and verbs, not with adjectives and adverbs...
🔷Nouns and verbs, not their assistants, give good writing its toughness and color
🔷No adjective can pull a weak or inaccurate noun out of a tight place
🔷This is not to disparage adjectives and adverbs
5. Revise and rewrite...
🔷Few writers produce what they’re after on the first try
🔷Therefore, revising is part of writing
🔷Don’t be afraid to experiment with what you’ve written
🔷It’s no sign of weakness that your work needs major surgery
6. Do not overwrite...
🔷Guard against wordiness
🔷Ruthlessly delete excess
🔷Rich, ornate prose is hard to digest
7. Do not overstate...
🔷Everything before and after an overstatement is suspect
🔷A single overstatement diminishes the whole
🔷A single carefree superlative has the power to destroy
🔷Readers must have confidence in your judgment and poise
8. Avoid the use of qualifiers (like rather, very, little, and pretty)...
🔷These are leeches that infest the pond of prose
🔷Do a *little* better, be *very* watchful, for it’s *rather* important, and we are *pretty* sure to violate it
9. Do not affect a breezy manner...
🔷Don’t cut rhetorical capers
🔷Be compact, informative, unpretentious
🔷Present items in a straightforward manner
🔷Keep a tight rein on the material and stay out of the act
10. Use orthodox spelling...
🔷Unorthodox spellings defeat their own purpose
🔷Unaccepted and oversimplified spellings exhaust patience
🔷Readers mentally supply missing letters of an abbreviation at the cost of a fraction of attention
11. Do not explain too much...
🔷Be sparing
🔷Do not overwork adverbs
🔷It is seldom advisable to tell all
🔷Let the conversation itself disclose the speaker's manner or condition
12. Do not construct awkward adverbs...
🔷Do not dress words up by adding -ly to them
🔷Such adverbs are easy to build
🔷But you're probably be better off without them
🔷Words not used orally are seldom the ones to put on paper
13. Make sure the reader knows who is speaking...
🔷Indicate who the speaker is
🔷In dialogue, obscurity is an imposition
🔷Make sure attributives don’t awkwardly interrupt a spoken sentence
🔷Place them where the break would come naturally in speech
14. Avoid fancy words...
🔷Use Anglo-Saxon words
🔷Cock your ear and let it be your guide
🔷Avoid the elaborate, the pretentious, the coy, and the cute
🔷Do not be tempted by a twenty-dollar word when there is a ten-center handy
15. Do not use dialect unless your ear is good...
🔷Be economical of your talents
🔷If you use dialect, be consistent
🔷Spare your readers as you convince them
🔷Use the minimum, not the maximum, of deviation from the norm
16. Think of the tragedies that are rooted in ambiguity, and be clear!
🔷Clarity is not always the principal mark of a good style
🔷But since writing is communication, clarity can only be a virtue
🔷And although there is no substitute for merit in writing, clarity comes closest
17. Do not inject opinion...
🔷Try to keep things straight
🔷The demand for your opinion is not brisk
🔷Inject opinion only if there is a good reason for its being there
🔷Opinions scattered indiscriminately leave a mark of egotism
18. Use figures of speech sparingly...
🔷Rapid fire similes are more distracting than illuminating
🔷Give readers time to catch their breath
🔷Readers can't be expected to compare everything with something else, with no relief in sight
19. Don't take shortcuts at the cost of clarity...
🔷Write things out
🔷The longest way round is usually the shortest way home
🔷The one reliable shortcut is choosing surefooted words to carry readers on their way
🔷Many shortcuts waste the reader's time instead of conserving it
20. Avoid foreign languages...
🔷It’s occasionally necessary to borrow from other languages
🔷Some writers, though, sprinkle their work with foreign expressions
🔷It’s a bad habit and shows no regard for the reader’s comfort
🔷So, write in English
21. Prefer the standard to the offbeat...
🔷Young writers are drawn toward eccentricities in language
🔷They hear the beat of new vocabularies and exciting rhythms
🔷The challenge for beginners is to listen, learn the words, feel the vibrations, and don’t be carried away
Break through barriers that separate you from other minds and other hearts...
🔷That’s the purpose of writing – and its principal reward
🔷As you get better, your style will emerge, because you yourself will emerge
🔷And you’ll find it easy to reach other minds and other hearts
Feel free to experiment with language...
🔷It’s not the intent of these cautionary remarks to suggest otherwise
🔷You may ask, “What if it comes natural to me to experiment? What if I am a pioneer, or even a genius?"
🔷Answer: then be one
But remember, what may seem like pioneering may be merely evasion, or laziness...
🔷Writing good standard English is no cinch
🔷Before you’ve managed it, you will have encountered enough rough country to satisfy even the most adventurous spirit
Beginners should err on the side of conservatism...
🔷No idiom is taboo and no accent is forbidden
🔷But there's a better chance of doing well if you hold a steady course
🔷Show concern for readers & sympathize with their plight
🔷Don’t paralyze their senses, engage them
In your writing, four unpardonable sins show you haven’t done your work...
🔷Adopting a patronizing air
🔷Being humorless, dull, and empty
🔷Saying something when you have nothing to say
🔷Directing the attention of the reader to yourself
You are ready for exposure...
🔷When you’re full of belief
🔷When you’re armed with the rules of grammar
🔷When you’re sustained and elevated by the power of purpose
Find the summary here! And if you want more big idea summaries, sign up and hit the follow button!…

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More from @jmikolay

4 Nov
I channel the worldviews of interesting people on Twitter.

I do that by organizing and distilling their tweets into a summary of their big ideas. For my own education I summarized the timeline of @JoeBiden, and it’s helped me to look beyond the headlines.
I believe it’s valuable to channel people of all stripes and persuasions, and in that spirit, I’ll continue to share summaries of writers and thinkers, artists and creators.

In one place, read the philosophy of @JoeBiden, win or lose:
America is full of possibilities…
🔷We have respect for hard work
🔷We have determination, resilience, and grit
🔷We have opportunity to go as far as our dreams take us
Read 24 tweets
2 Nov
An hour into a conversation with @karaswisher two years ago, @elonmusk told a story I still think about whenever I hear CEOs talk.

Two years earlier, Elon said he was "going to take apart a tunnel-boring machine" and "improve its efficiency between 500 and 1,000 percent."
In response, an unnamed tunneling consultant was quoted as saying, "Give me a break. You think someone can take apart a Boeing plane and put it back together, improving it by 500 percent? Elon’s got a very steep learning curve."
Which is exactly what Elon thought too. At the time, he said, "We have no idea what we’re doing. We’re going to get this machine, take it apart, figure out how to make it go much faster and still be safe. We’ll see how much progress we can make."
Read 14 tweets
23 Oct
@david_perell is halfway to writing 100 articles in 100 days.

Here's my latest summary of his last 15 articles, distilled from 8,000 words to 800.

Installment 2⃣: David's Big Ideas on the Creative Process, Knowledge Management, and Effective Writing
If you want to start creating, but you don’t know where to begin…
🔷Start with curation
🔷Give yourself license to experiment
🔷Gather links and write recommendations
🔷Differentiate yourself by adding commentary
🔷Add an interpretive layer to the links you gather
Curate your intellectual environment…
🔷Collect information
🔷Notice small details
🔷Start to recognize patterns
🔷Classify the world in unusual ways
🔷Stand out with your vivid personal monopoly
Read 25 tweets
21 Oct
Feeling cooped up?

1/ Here's what it’s like to live on a U.S. Navy submarine: Image
2/ Take away sunshine, plants and animals, news and sports, proximity to loved ones, fresh food, and the occasional drink of alcohol.

Replace those things with enclosed spaces, vertical ladders, 130 people, three showers, and a disconnected cell phone.
3/ The sub leaves port with 3,000 rolls of toilet paper. Hours later the hatches shut and the boat submerges hundreds of feet underwater.

Every day for the next six months, the crew will consume ten pounds of coffee, sixty liters of Crystal Light, and 70 pounds of flour.
Read 23 tweets
14 Oct
Channeling @eriktorenberg

A summary of his big ideas, in three threads...

Thread 2⃣: Management and Leadership
Good management matters more than ever…
🔷Today’s employees need to be both productive and creative
🔷To do that, they need to be inspired and internally motivated
Management gives you leverage…
🔷Optimizing management creates ripple effects
🔷Managers dictate the experience of most people at a company
🔷Leverage is the art of making small changes that have big impacts
🔷Employees optimize for managers as much as the specific company
Read 25 tweets
14 Oct
Apply the knowledge of @eriktorenberg

I organized and distilled his last 3,000 tweets into a summary of his big ideas, in three threads...

Thread 1⃣: Careers, Finding Startup Ideas, Co-Founders, and Raising a Seed Round
Young people, don’t be afraid to look dumb…
🔷You can follow a safe path that caps your downside, not realizing it also caps your upside
🔷Safe paths are often tournament-style competitions, and perhaps not as safe as you think
Early in your career…
🔷Value substance more than status
🔷Enter markets that are small or don’t exist yet
🔷Build relationships with peers and up-and-comers
Read 25 tweets

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