Remember being handed that little handbook from hell in high school? Shining, white, and awful: Strunk and White, The Elements of Style. I can still see it smirking at me from classroom shelves. I remember wondering who gave those two the right to place rules on the English language, especially when all their restrictions seemed so outdated and against my intuition as a writer. Why should I care?
I decided to actually research these inquiries and found that The Elements was outdated in its failure to accommodate language’s changing nature. There is no evolution of the rules with modern usage. I further discovered the rules to be overly subjective. Both Strunk and White broke the rules of Style in their outer writings and even in the guidebook itself, frequently. If they don’t follow their own mandates why should we?
I went on through my research to discover that Strunk and White were still commendable in trying to bring any direction to the grammatical realm of English. Instead of completely debunking their work as I originally though my research would do, I found that a mere addition/revision to The Elements could fix the hypocrisy and limitations of the original rules. You see, the rules told writers WHETHER OR NOT to do something, and not WHY. By adding multiple grammatical variations and the literary effects of choosing each, the limiting aspect of S&W’s work was stymied and the hypocrisy crushed with the advent of personal choice.