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Supernovas of style

Ann T Gregory
Med J Aust 2006; 185 (11): 651.
Published online: 4 December 2006

Quotes from MJA contributors in 2006

Journal style incorporates many elements — for example, defined formats for abstracts, specified subsections for different article types, the obligatory statistical results; and, at the “micro-level”, a particular use of punctuation and capitalisation, and of preferred words or phrases. However, journal style is but one aspect of writing style. In Strunk and White’s classic guide, The elements of style, White devotes a chapter to the broader aspects of writing style: “style in the sense of what is distinguished and distinguishing”. Here, warns the famous “little book”, we leave the solid ground of what is correct, or acceptable, in the use of English. A writer will find no satisfactory explanation, no infallible guide to good writing, and no inflexible rule by which to shape his or her course. “He [or she] will often find himself steering by stars that are disturbingly in motion.” After all, “Who can confidently say what ignites a certain combination of words, causing them to explode in the mind?”

  • Ann T Gregory

  • The Medical Journal of Australia, Sydney, NSW.

Correspondence: medjaust@ampco.com.au

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