KINDS OF STYLE
How to Write - What to Write - Correct Speaking and Speakers
Style has been classified in different ways, but it admits of so many
designations that it is very hard to enumerate a table. In fact there are
as many styles as there are writers, for no two authors write exactly
after the same form. However, we may classify the styles of the various
authors in broad divisions as (1) dry, (2) plain, (3) neat, (4) elegant,
(5) florid, (6) bombastic.
The dry style excludes all ornament and makes no effort to appeal to
any sense of beauty. Its object is simply to express the thoughts in a
correct manner. This style is exemplified by Berkeley.
The plain style does not seek ornamentation either, but aims to make
clear and concise statements without any elaboration or embellishment.
Locke and Whately illustrate the plain style.
The neat style only aspires after ornament sparingly. Its object is to
have correct figures, pure diction and clear and harmonious sentences.
Goldsmith and Gray are the acknowledged leaders in this kind of style.
The elegant style uses every ornament that can beautify and avoids
every excess which would degrade. Macaulay and Addison have been
enthroned as the kings of this style. To them all writers bend the knee
The florid style goes to excess in superfluous and superficial
ornamentation and strains after a highly colored imagery. The poems of
Ossian typify this style.
The bombastic is characterized by such an excess of words, figures and
ornaments as to be ridiculous and disgusting. It is like a circus clown
dressed up in gold tinsel Dickens gives a fine example of it in Sergeant
Buzfuz' speech in the "Pickwick Papers." Among other varieties of style
may be mentioned the colloquial, the laconic, the concise, the diffuse,
the abrupt the flowing, the quaint, the epigrammatic, the flowery, the
feeble, the nervous, the vehement, and the affected. The manner of these
is sufficiently indicated by the adjective used to describe them.
In fact style is as various as character and expresses the individuality
of the writer, or in other words, as the French writer Buffon very aptly
remarks, "the style is the man himself."
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