My point is that _Elements of Style_ is not a set of rules. It's a nice book with generally good advice; it's not a style guide in a formal sense. If we wanted rules, _The Chicago Manual of Style_ or the_Associated Press Style Guide_ would be much closer to that. But neither of those actually removes subjectivity about what's clear either.

On Sat, Jun 27, 2020, 1:24 AM Steven D'Aprano <> wrote:
On Sat, Jun 27, 2020 at 12:37:35AM -0400, David Mertz wrote:

> Objectively, could I have dropped "most"? Both "most famous"?
> Could you have dropped "still," objectively?

Yes, we probably could have. What's your point? I'm not arguing in
favour of S&W here on this mailing list, and I've explicitly said that I
don't even like their rules.

But having a set of rules as (1) guidance for those who need guidance,
especially those who have difficulty telling what is *clear and
understandable to others*, and (2) for use in disputes, is not a bad

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