Elements of Style: A Book Review

Elements of Style: A Book reviewElements of Style is the recommended reference book for English writing in many renowned universities in the United States. It is also one of the three reference books listed by the AICPA for the Written Communications tasks of the Uniform CPA Exam.

I got my own copy almost twenty years ago when I took an advanced English writing class nicknamed the “Little Red Schoolhouse” at the University of Chicago. This book has been a great friend since I restarted my career as a blogger and an author. If you want to improve your business writing for work or for professional exams, read on and find out how you can benefit.

First of all, Elements of Style is written for busy students and professional s in mind. The book is not one of those voluminous works that explains every bit of grammar and bore you to tears. It is a 105-page booklet compressed with the most common issues in academic and business writing, with classic examples to help you understand and grasp the concepts in a few sentences.

The book goes through grammatical mistakes and typos most frequently found in business writing. You will also learn the art of explaining your ideas more eloquently, concisely and therefore more professionally. Examples include:

  • How to cut unnecessary conjunctions (e.g. and, or, but) by using semi-colons
  • How to eliminate confusing run-on sentences
  • How a modifier can change the entire meaning of a sentence
  • How to avoid this common mistake among non-US/English writers: the over-use of conjunctions (e.g. however, moreover, therefore)
Reader prefers simple sentence structure especially when confronted by complex ideas. I bet you can remove 50% of your problem words and phrases after spending 1-2 hours on the book. With more practice you can aim to eliminate the rest. By the way, the last time I checked, this book is top 200 best seller in the entire Amazon!

Check out this page for more recommended reference books and learning tools for accounting and finance professionals.

About the Author Stephanie Ng

I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley) and the publisher of this and several accounting professional exam prep sites

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