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Strunk & White: 50 years of making people nervous

William Strunk & E.B. White’s The Elements of Style, that indispensable guide for English writers everywhere, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Not everyone is joining the festivities, however; in an essay that will have many former university students applauding, University of Edinburgh linguistics professor Geoffery K. Pullum outlines his issues with the book:

It’s sad. Several generations of college students learned their grammar from the uninformed bossiness of Strunk and White, and the result is a nation of educated people who know they feel vaguely anxious and insecure whenever they write “however” or “than me” or “was” or “which,” but can’t tell you why. The land of the free in the grip of The Elements of Style.