You probably know good style when you see it on the street. But can you recognize it on the page?
Prose style is unique to each writer, and it’s a quality that only emerges with patience and practice. For that reason, style isn’t something you can learn by following specific steps or a uniform recipe. Instead, you must learn and master its elements.
One way to nurture the development of your writing style is through revision and rewriting. After you finish a piece of writing, take a break. Then return to it later with fresh eyes to reevaluate. Revision is about more than just catching mistakes; it means rethinking the argument and the way in which it has been presented. As you revise, you’ll be forced to clarify and refine your ideas. If you push yourself to be as clear and concise as possible, the product will perform a service for the reader—and protect your interests, because every idea will be perfectly understood.
Whether you’re writing a cover letter for a job application, a press release, or an essay for a college course, understanding The Elements of Style will make it better. All the secrets to stylish prose are in our latest Instaread.