Saturday, 2 January 2016

A New Year's resolution - Unless there is a good reason for its being there, do not inject opinion into a piece of writing.

As a young journalist I was introduced to The Elements of Style, by William Strunk and E.B. White but I was reminded recently how far I have strayed from its advice when I came across someone quoting rule 17:
"Unless there is a good reason for its being there, do not inject opinion into a piece of writing. We all have opinions about almost everything, and the temptation to toss them in is great. To air one’s views gratuitously, however, is to imply that the demand for them is brisk, which may not be the case, and which, in any event, may not be relevant to the discussion. Opinions scattered indiscriminately about leave the mark of egotism on a work."
I will try and remember the rule and practice it during 2016. Many of my peers would be all the better for doing the same.
Post a Comment