"The Elephants of Style: A Trunkload of Tips on the Big Issues and Gray Areas of Contemporary American English" by Bill Walsh
240 pages; $14.95
Book review by Carl Sessions Stepp
Carl Sessions Stepp (email@example.com), AJR's senior editor, teaches at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland.
Thank heaven for editors--cranks and hairsplitters though they may be. Bill Walsh, a Washington Post copy chief, writes with wit, insight, even passion. He takes seriously the difference between "bluejeans" and "blue jeans" and understands how dashes differ from double hyphens. But he sees the big picture as well, and he is neither hidebound nor overpermissive. You'll disagree with a lot here (he entertains the barbaric "media is"!), but love the writing (such as pithy one-graph essays on draft beer or gang-bangers). Mostly, let us salute his devotion to the underappreciated principle that language matters right down to the last dot.
Return to Home###