50 år av korkade skrivråd

The Elements of Style fyller 50 år. Inget att fira, enligt Geoffrey K. Pullum, som gräver upp Strunk & White för att ge dem en välförtjänt omgång.

The Elements of Style does not deserve the enormous esteem in which it is held by American college graduates. Its advice ranges from limp platitudes to inconsistent nonsense. Its enormous influence has not improved American students’ grasp of English grammar; it has significantly degraded it. […]

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.

The Elements of Style har tydligen fans även i Sverige. Själv har jag arkiverat den i giftskåpet för menlös Yoda-visdom och pennalistiska hittepåregler, tillsammans med exempelvis Studentens skrivhandbok.

Ett bättre alternativ? Joseph WilliamsStyle: Lessons in clarity and grace, vars råd stämmer väl mot hur de främsta forskarna faktiskt skriver. (Via Academic Productivity.)

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