Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Prado on Commercial Drive serves perfectly tart espressos. Problem is there is rarely parking. Last week, while driving by, I saw a spot. Because I was early, I took it.

While getting out of the car I saw in the window of the bookstore across the street a book I had not seen in years: Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. I purchased the book ($4.95) and flipped through it over coffee, reacquainting myself not only with its laws but its many fine examples.

The first “Rule of Usage” is “the possessive singular of nouns”:

“Charlie’s friend”

“Burns’s poems”

and my favorite:

“the witch’s malice”

The next is "exceptions," such as “ancient proper names,” like Jesus, written Jesus’.

So property first, religion second.

In God We Trust.


  1. A lovely book. From the "An Approach to Style" chapter: "Write with nouns and verbs, not with adjectives and adverbs. The adjective hasn't been built that can pull a weak or inaccurate noun out of a tight place."
    Not only do we have an adjective-industrial complex, but also a noun stuck in a ditch. It's grammatic imagism.

  2. A recent challenge to the old logic of Strunk + White:

  3. Here's another: