Pullum: “Strunk simply doesn’t bother to look”

Read my blog post on the “Bridging the Unbridgeable” blog: Pullum takes on Strunk again

Bridging the Unbridgeable

For readers of this blog and those who have followed the debate between prescriptivists and descriptivists closely, it’s hardly surprising to hear that Geoffrey Pullum, Professor of General Linguistics at Edinburgh University, is not particularly fond of William Strunk’s The Elements of Style, to say the least. Pullum has made no secret of his disapproval of the advice provided by Strunk. Describing Strunk’s advice as ranging from “limp platitudes to inconsistent nonsense”, Pullum takes a firm stance against The Elements of Style, which, he argues, has enjoyed great popularity on American campuses. (Read his full comments here.)

Now Pullum has taken on Strunk again on The Chronicle of Higher Education. In “Dracula, Strunk, and Correct English Usage, Pullum illustrates Strunk’s “limp platitudes to inconsistent nonsense” on the basis of literary evidence found in the usage of Strunk’s christopher_lee_tot_body_p-4623342contemporaries. Bram Stoker’s classic novel

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