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Authoritative English

When my father was a student, his professors recommended him The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. as a definitive guide to English. I read this classic reference book again few days back only to know what an authoritative this book is; a perfect reference book. I have the hard copy of this book, my instant referer, that I never lend. It teaches you to write good English, to follow the rules, how to avoid the cliched words and when to break the rules (first know them). It just points out to you what is proper and readable and what is improper and incomprehendable. There is never any maybe – its right or wrong. And so should be one’s writing – distinct and clear and not vague.There are rules, numbered arithmatically and each contains a assertive clause to write proper English. It says in rule 12: Make definite assertions. Avoid tame, colorless, hesitating, non-committal language. Use the word not as a means of denial or in antithesis, never as a means of evasion.

It will tell you the protocols of written English; how to avoid misusing the common phrases; It will list out the words that are commonly misspelled.

I have always believed what he says: By using improper English (wrong punctuations, SMS-lingo, wrong construction, incorrect tenses etc), a writer has defeated his own purpose.

  1. Nirav
    February 6, 2007 at 4:10 pm

    Agree to what has been written, but most of the time, standard English isn’t the only language to convey the information.

    No offense meant, but there are hardly any people using so called good English, in fact there’s a special huge variant of original English (en-US) 🙂

  2. S K
    February 6, 2007 at 4:10 pm

    Yes, there are two main variants of English – en-US and en-GB and it cannot be said which is the correct version. The major difference is between dialects, spellings (color and colour, cheque and check, humor and humour etc.), terminologies (Elevator and lift, biscuit and cookies, petrol and gas, truck and lorry etc.). There are but few differences in written English. The major difference is that of the choice of vocabulary and dialect (pronunciation). Check it out here.Thanks to their differences.

    Being consistent, though difficult, with one variant is good.

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