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Elements Of Style Rap: Columbia Journalism Students Tackle Strunk And White Grammar Classic (VIDEO)

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At last! The Elements Of Style in rap form.
At last! The Elements Of Style in rap form.

CORRECTION: The Lucille's Ball, The Columbia Journalim School's end-of-semester party, was incorrectly spelled in an earlier version of the post. Also, the fracking explainer video was co-produced by NYU's Studio 20 and ProPublica.

Few books are as cherished by journalism students as the Strunk and White's The Elements Of Style. The slim volume lays out dozens of useful rules for grammar and clear and concise writing.

So really, it was about time that some creative soul decided to take the classic and improve it by making it into a rap.

Columbia University journalism students Jake Heller and Ben Teitelbaum wrote the video for the school's end of semester party, the Lucille's Ball (ain't that just clever).

"I knew that I wanted to make a video, but didn’t know what the video would be. Then, a couple of months ago, it struck me that I could try to do for journalism nerds what the Keynes vs. Hayek video did for econ nerds, by transforming “The Elements of Style” into a rap video," Heller told Poynter.

And yes, this video has it all: Fake mustaches, rapping in libraries, grammar-related rhymes, an explanation why split-infinitives are horrible.

Even with lines like this:

E.B. White on the mic, former student of Strunk /
A story that flows is all I need to get crunk /
Write for the New Yorker, papers marked up in scarlet /
I spin webs with words like my name was Charlotte.

I still recommend that you read the actual book version of the Elements Of Style. It's like $10 on Amazon.

This isn't the first time journalism students have turned to rap to get their message across. Rival students at NYU's Studio 20 came up with this little video that explained fracking.


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Strunk, William, Jr. 1918. The Elements of Style

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