Rule 17 of Strunk and White's The Elements of Style.

From page 23:

"Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences . . . . This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail . . . but that every word tell."

you need not
grind your sentence
to a point

omit needless words?
i say, include
all mood-makers

generalize, but provide
examples that convey
your unsharpened point

use denotation and
connotation in your
dance of beauty.

sweeten your images,
including improbable pairs--
see the noise.

hear the darkness.
touch the smell.
taste the caress.

smell the presence
of your master,
your inner demon

--by resc1440

Legend has it that William Strunk Jr. was a terror in the classroom. He taught a composition class at Cornell University, from which the classic Elements of Style emerged, and he was fond of tormenting his students by publicly pointing out the inadequacies of their writing.

As frightening as he was, his class was very popular, and was held in one of Cornell's largest lecture halls. Whenever Strunk walked into the room, it fell silent -- nobody wanting to stand out and be picked on.

He came in to start his lecture one day, armed with a sheaf of papers, as usual. He strode to the lectern, shuffled his papers around, gazed at his students over his spectacles, cleared his throat.

"Omit needless words," the professor intoned.

He gathered his papers and left.

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