The New Oxford Guide to Writing
Two broad assumptions underlie this book: (1) that writing is a rational activity, and (2) that it is a valuable activity.
To say that writing is rational means nothing more than that it is an exercise of mind requiring the mastery of tech- niques anyone can learn. Obviously, there are limits: one can- not learn to write like Shakespeare or Charles Dickens. You can’t become a genius by reading a book.
But you don’t have to be a genius to write clear, effective English. You just have to understand what writing involves and to know how to handle words and sentences and para- graphs. That you can learn. If you do, you can communicate what you want to communicate in words other people can understand. This book will help by showing you what good writers do.
The second assumption is that writing is worth learning. It is of immediate practical in almost any job or career. Certainly there are many jobs in which you can get along without being able to write clearly. If you know how to write, however, you will get along faster and farther.
There is another, more profound value to writing. We create ourselves by words. Before we are business people or lawyers or engineers or teachers, we are human beings. Our growth as human beings depends on our capacity to under stand and to use language. Writing is a way of growing. No one would argue that being able to write will make you morally better But it will make you more complex and more interesting-in a word, more human.