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The Elements of E-mail Style

This book borrows the cover style and the title of the original Strunk & White book but none of the panache. Part of the problem is that while the book was re-issued just recently, it was written in 1994. As a result, some of the directives the authors provide seem pretty obvious, while some don’t apply almost at all to the new world of graphical HTML-enabled email. The main problem, however, is that the book is trying to do too many things at once. It’s a guide to e-mail style, it’s a guide to proper grammar and spelling and it’s a guide to email in general. It does none of these things particularly well. Where the elan of Strunk and White was its brevity, this book is too long by half, filled with lists of “instead of using this long phrase, use these short words” which, if the reader cared, they could have gotten from the original style guide. There are some useful short bits like how to extinguish a flame war and basic tips on writing email using _underlines_ and *emphasis* in the old school ways but overall, despite its new reissue date, this book is a relic and not useful for today’s new emailers.