Strunk and White and Trump: The Elements of the Style

strunkwhitetrumpChoose a suitable design and hold to it.

A basic structural design underlies every kind of writing, and this is so clearly obvious it’s a joke. The writer will in part follow this design, in part deviate from it, according to his skill, his needs, and the unexpected events that accompany the act of composition, which really is unfair, stacking the decks like that, but you know what? They can throw all the unexpected events at me they want, been there done that, I don’t care. Won’t stop me from my suitable design. I eat unfairness for breakfast. Words, sentences, paragraphs, none of them can resist. None.

 

Make the paragraph the unit of composition.

The paragraph is a convenient unit. As units go, super convenient, just the best. It serves all forms of literary work. As long as it holds together, a paragraph may be of any length – a single, short sentence or huge, really huge. You can’t stop this thing. A paragraph, it’s tangible, it’s solid, it’s beautiful. It’s artistic, from my standpoint. As a rule, single sentences should not be written or printed as paragraphs, which is a stupid rule. Who are we kidding?

Paragraph.

There, I just did it. Isn’t it great? I got a million more.

 

Use the active voice.

The active voice is usually more direct and vigorous than the passive. People love the vigor. I have been very successful with the vigor. Everybody loves it.

Hillary Clinton was the worst Secretary of State in the history of the country.

So much better, a thousand times better than

I think what’s happening to this country is unbelievably bad; we’re no longer a respected country.

What’s wrong with that sentence is so obviously President Obama. Incredibly passive.

 

Put statements in a positive form.

Make definite assertions. Avoid tame, colorless, hesitating, noncommittal language. Speak American. None of this “chee-choo-sivuplay-enchilada” garbage. When I write, you know I’m writing, words people are going to have understanding, because I write like I run my business.

I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.

Now that’s a great sentence, the best sentence. There’s no arguing, there’s no anything.

 

Use definite, specific, concrete language.

That’s what I’ve been saying. We’ve been through this. And it was great, really great. How much clearer do I have to be? Maybe to the thugs, and the illegals. And Democrats, sure. I have to make it clear to those guys. I write words, specific, concrete language, tweet them, which is powerful, believe me, and the next day, everyone is saying, “You know, he’s right. He’s right! He is perfectly right.”

 

Omit needless words.

Vigorous writing is concise. Again with the vigor. You’re looking at him, ladies. Vigor for years and years. And why? Money. What can I say? Rich is sexy. Being poor is no good, some shlub, no one’s going to read his blog. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences and our country no undocumented immigrants. It’s common sense. Those ISIS guys, they’ll run, gonna run like crazy when I win the Pulitzer Prize, which is going to happen. I’m the only one who can win it.

Verbs: overrated. Entirely.

 

Keep related words together.

The position of the words in a sentence is the principal means of showing their relationships. Confusion and ambiguity result when words are badly placed. Bad questions too. Some people shouldn’t ask them because they’re not the brightest. And not just the ladies, who I love. All the ladies. But if you have parts that you can’t rely on, lady parts, well, I wouldn’t drive around in a car like that.

This is not good: He noticed a large stain in the rug that was right in the centre.

Better now, the best sentence, totally clear: Ted Cruz is the single biggest liar I’ve ever come across, in politics or otherwise.

 

Place the emphatic words of a sentence at the end.

The proper place in the sentence for the word or group of words that the writer desires to make most prominent is usually the end. Obviously. I’ll fight like hell to get those big words at the end. Those other guys, they’re not going to do it. They don’t know how. Not great. I don’t want to sound trivial, but terrible writers, very unattractive writing. Weak words at the end. I have many fabulous words at the end, and everybody’s going to be using them, and they love it, the big end words. Let’s make America again great.

 

*With apologies to Strunk & White, but especially Strunk who never saw it coming.
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About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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54 Responses to Strunk and White and Trump: The Elements of the Style

  1. Paul says:

    As the most advanced cutting edge promoter of American politics, allow me to introduce PMD – Politics of Mass Destruction. We shall destroy all Muslims (who are all terrorists), all Mexicans (who are all rapists), all ISIS members (even though we created ISIS by putting a Shiite in charge of Iraq -who then promptly launched a pogrom against all Sunnis), put women back in the home where they belong (they’ll argue with PMD anyway, the soft hearted/headed bitches), and so on. You can now see clearly how effective this new PMD policy will be – and no one knows how late at night, in a deep dark grotto where no one can see and no intelligence can penetrate, I sit drooling at the thought of all those great big nuclear missiles doing my bidding – the rightful extensions of my giant penis. I continue to make no comment in public about those nukes and my plans for them for fear that some lily livered Democrat will object – but when I get elected and break out the nukes it will be too late for them to object – and within 4 years I will have changed the face of the planet and there will be no going back. Bwahahaha! And in the name of Mary Poppins and putting the biggest word last: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

  2. LindaGHill says:

    Brilliant. Just what Strunk and White said.
    I just read your tags. Going back to reread italics. Word.

  3. LindaGHill says:

    I’m thinking about writing an extremely opinionated article (time constraints are all that will prevent it) and asking Jason Cushman, aka Opinionated Man, if I can publish it on his site. Because many people have an extreme distaste for his blog, I thought I’d ask you first if you mind my referencing this post in my article.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      I don’t know the site but I have nothing to fear. Link away.

      • LindaGHill says:

        Thank you, Ross. Just in case you’re interested, the address is aopinionatedman.com. And yes, he’s well aware of the lack of an “n.” 😛

      • LindaGHill says:

        Never mind – he didn’t want the article. 😛 Thanks anyway. 🙂

        • Paul says:

          That’s ’cause he’s likely voting for Trump – Bwahahaha! C’mon Jason, whatcha got to say about that? Huh?

          • LindaGHill says:

            Hehe. Nah, he’s just staying away from politics. Can’t say I blame him.

            • Paul says:

              Yeah he’s contentious enough without politics and his opinions could easily cause a gunfight in Colorado anyway. He’s been gunshy since WP stomped on his head last year. That pissed me off as he is entitled to voice his opinion and WP just bowed to a bunch of whiners.

              • Really? Did he actually get disciplined or something? I thought he was a fairly harmless negative attention mongerer.

                • Paul says:

                  Yeah, they shut down his account. Apparently it is against WP rules to use one of their websites for commercial purposes – some bloggers complained that he was consulting (many do)- and also he sometimes publishes as many as 700 posts in a month and some complained that was spamming – which it isn’t. The real reason was because he is very opinionated and is not the least bit shy about expressing them. This is obviously not off-putting to very many because he has over 55,000 followers. He expresses what he believes and although I don’t always agree, I will defend his right to do it. He also helps new bloggers by offering them a chance to guest post (sometimes) and will give free advice if requested. There was a petition started by a number of bloggers and signed by many that WP was acting unfairly and that Jason should be allowed to say what he wants. They reinstated his account with a few rules. I see he has since opened a self-hosted site and uses his WP site to link to it.

                  • Thanks for all the information. I was under the impression that a lot of people used their WP site as a biz site. I mean, WP accommodates PayPal and other business features. Hell, I even went to a professional seminar that outlined exactly how to use them.

                    I’ll bet it was Jason’s instigatory posting style more than anything. If you are familiar with his background, it becomes easier to understand why a full grown man would resort to such puerile methods of acting out, but he does much of it tongue in cheek.

                    I just got to know him because he now hikes with his family where I used to hike. But I stopped chatting with him last fall.

  4. pinklightsabre says:

    Mad, frightening, half-drunk sounding laughter: middle-aged laughter, teetering on it’s own teets, malapropisms, pap-smear stumps and anything else I can come across. Well done, Weldon. You put a shunt in a vein you need to keep open to get more again out.

  5. You need to do a Twitter parody account with this stuff NOW! Get on it!

  6. You’re right! Don’t drive around in a car like that while America you’re making great!

    Beautiful piece, Ross. 🙂

  7. gavinkeenan says:

    “These Canadians think American politicians are a big joke. Everyone knows this. I get calls all the time from rich, important friends who tell me this. They say gee Don, you gotta run. These politicians are slippery, stinking liars – especially that Cuban from Canada…what’s his name. You see, the rest of the world thinks like the Canadians. That’s why I’m gonna extend the wall all the way around the country. I’ll keep the Canadians out and make them pay for their side of the wall. Too bad for the Alaskans. But I’ll let Sarah in. She’s okay. Hawaiians…out! I think I’ll run the wall between Nevada and the left coast. Let it fall into the sea for all I care. Bunch of Pinko’s anyway. There, I’m just saying what people are thinking anyway. America is fed up with these pussy-footing pols who only know how to raise taxes. It’s time to make America really, really great again!”

  8. LRose says:

    aHA! So you’re the man’s speech writer!

  9. Ned's Blog says:

    This post is a winner. I only read winners and that’s what I’m saying. It’s what Americans want. Let’s be honest. We can be great again. Just like this post and a nice rack. Beautiful.

  10. Corinne Smith says:

    Loved this post; loved the comments almost as much. Thanks for the chuckles, guys.

  11. List of X says:

    I hope that by the time next edition comes out, the new author will change the understated “Elements” in the title to something more appropriate like “Terrific Style From The Smartest And Richest Man In Any Room”

  12. LORD POLONIUS
    What do you read, my lord?

    HAMLET
    Words, words, words.

    They didn’t say anything about design.

    Aren’t you jealous you don’t have a guy with a golden tongue like Trump representing your country? How lucky we are. America always wins.

  13. walt walker says:

    Well now that was really good, right there. That is definitely an example of extremely successful at the blogging.

  14. Trent Lewin says:

    I have never seen the like of this blog post, in my many years of wandering lonely through the fleshy guts of the blogosphere. ’nuff said? I think so.

  15. Paul says:

    As an aside Ross, I posted the first part of my tale of disappearance over at Cordelia’s Mom. http://cordeliasmomstill.com/2016/02/22/dont-pay-the-ransom-i-escaped-guest-post-by-paul-curran/comment-page-1/#comment-16187 if you have time to drop by for a read, I would be greatly honored. Part 2 arriving tomorrow.

  16. Ahdad says:

    American politics is soooooo much fun!

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