The Elements of Style
For quick reference, here are the 18 rules from The Elements of Style, by William Strunk, Jr.
Elementary Rules of Usage
- Form the possessive singular of nouns with ‘s.
- In a series of three or more terms with a single conjunction, use a comma after each term except the last.
- Enclose parenthetic expressions between commas.
- Place a comma before and or but introducing an independent clause.
- Do not join independent clauses by a comma.
- Do not break sentences in two.
- A participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence must refer to the grammatical subject.
- Divide words at line-ends, in accordance with their formation and pronunciation.
Elementary Principles of Composition
- Make the paragraph the unit of composition: one paragraph to each topic.
- As a rule, begin each paragraph with a topic sentence; end it in conformity with the beginning.
- Use the active voice.
- Put statements in positive form.
- Omit needless words.
- Avoid a succession of loose sentences.
- Express co-ordinate ideas in similar form.
- Keep related words together.
- In summaries, keep to one tense.
- Place the emphatic words of a sentence at the end.