Book Review – The Elements of Style by Strunk and White

Most of us do not like to write. Writing is a skill and not something you are born with. Initially, I did not like to write. I found it cumbersome and even difficult to put my thoughts into writing. Currently, I love to write. Writing has become a means of expression. It is the best way to organize your thoughts and convey meaning.

There are many books on writing and on technical aspects of writing such as punctuations, spelling, etc. There are few books on the style and proper flow of writing. One book stands above all books. It has also been around for awhile. That book is “The Elements of Style” by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White.

The authors are also writers themselves. E. B. White wrote the classic children’s book, “Charlotte’s Web”. Their principles on the style and proper usage in writing is generally accepted by anyone and everyone (educators, writers, teachers, etc.).

The book, “Elements of Style”, should be one of those books that students and writers should have a copy of. As a student, you will learn principles that will make your essays and papers convey effective meaning (and earn an “A” at the same time). As a writer, you will be able to make your writing flow purposefully and your ideas come across as organized and effective. This is what you want your writing to be.

The English language has its own code. The book, “Elements of Style”, will enable you to “break that code” in your writing. That code includes how to use punctuations, active tense, composition, expressions, and style. Here are the topics that are covered by this reference book:

* Elementary rules of usage

This includes how to properly use parenthesis, commas, colons, dashes, etc. It is also discusses using the proper possessive form, proper use of pronouns, phrases, etc.

* Elementary principles of composition

This includes choosing a design in your writing, paragraphs, active voice, statements in positive form, using definitive (rather than useless words), loose sentences, keeping related words together, use of tense, placing emphatic words at end, etc.

* An Approach to Style

This includes writing naturally, writing with nouns and verbs, revising, rewriting, cardinal sins such as using foreign languages or excessive opinions, being clear, over explanation, etc.

* A Few Matters of Form and Words and Expressions Commonly Misused.

This will benefit anyone who needs to write to a wider audience. Unless you want to write in fragmented thoughts or in a haphazard way, then this book is not for you. Otherwise, you will need this book, “The Elements of Style”, to be a reference for all your writing.

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How Come Gold Jewelry Turns White Sometimes?

Sometimes customers come to me and ask why their gold jewelry suddenly changes color or has white spots, worrying about that they may have bought a fake.

In fact, usually these worries are unnecessary. Under normal circumstances, as long as it is bought from a regular gold shop, the quality of the gold jewelry is guaranteed. After a little jewelry cleaning by some staff in a gold shop, the white spots on the gold will disappear, and the jewelry will be re-lit as new.

Why would this happen? How come the gold jewelry turns white? Gold is one of the nature's most stable metals, and it does not react with any oxide gas in the air at room temperature, nor with three major acid (sulfuric acid, nitric acid, hydrochloric acid) or weak acid. Only aqua regia (a mixture of hydrochloric and nitric acid) can corrode it. But mercury is an exception, it is very easy to react with gold and produce a white compound called amalgam. Therefore, once the gold jewelry is exposed to mercury, it will turn white immediately. And because mercury is volatile, it can cause discoloration of gold even from a distance.

This may occur in the home, because mercury or mercury-type substances exist in many detergents, cosmetics and skin care products. If gold is exposed to these items, it is likely to change its color, turning white, gray, or dark. Many ladies have a habit of using skin care product before touching their jewelry, which makes the chemicals contact the gold directly and causes discoloration of the jewelry. In addition, perfume, hair spray, sea water, swimming pool water, and dirt caused by long-term wearing, are also likely to make gold jewelry change its color or fade. This has nothing to do with the purity of the gold, and it does not mean the jewelry is a fake.

Gold jewelry should be kept from direct exposure to the substances referred, and should be cleaned regularly. And if the surface of gold jewelry has changed color, do not use a hard object or tool to eradicate the changed part. The correct approach is to use alcohol lamp or welding torch which is used in jewelry processing to heat the white part of the gold, so that mercury can sublimate out of amalgam and separate from gold. When the jewelry gets cool, brush it lightly with a toothbrush, and then wipe it and press it hard for a few times with a soft cloth, after which the gold will recover its color. But do not try to do this with a lighter, because the jewelry will turn black easily for incomplete combustion of the gas. K gold and inlaid jewelry do not suit this method, they should be taken to the gold shop to have other proper treatment. However, if consumers do have doubts about the quality of their jewelry, they should go to the professional department and have the jewelry identified as soon as possible.

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