FEW openly reject the current belief that a good style implies linguistic culture--implies classical education and study of the best models. The belief seems a rational one, and, often repeated as it is by those in authority, is thought beyond question. Nevertheless it is an invalid belief. Let us first test it by the principles of inductive logic.
Even from the method of agreement, which, if used alone, yields the lowest order of proof, it derives but little support. The great mass of those who have had the discipline which a University gives do not write well. Only here and there in this largo class may be found one who is said to have a fine style: for the rest their style is commonplace when not bad. But were the current belief true, a good style should be the rule among the linguistically-cultured--not the exception. Still less justified is the belief when tested by the method of difference. Pursuance of this method should show that writers who have had little discipline in the use of language or none at all do not write well. But again the evidence fails. Everyone knows that from Shakespeare