Richard Lederer





Richard Lederer

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in The United States
May 26, 1938

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About this author

Richard Lederer is the author of more than 35 books about language, history, and humor, including his best-selling Anguished English series and his current book, The Gift of Age. He has been profiled in magazines as diverse as The New Yorker, People, and the National Enquirer and frequently appears on radio as a commentator on language. He has been named International Punster of the Year and Toastmasters International's Golden Gavel winner.

He is the father of author and poet Katy Lederer and poker players Howard Lederer and Annie Duke.


Average rating: 3.98 · 2,714 ratings · 272 reviews · 78 distinct works · Similar authors
Anguished English: An Antho...
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4.08 of 5 stars 4.08 avg rating — 1,101 ratings — published 1987 — 12 editions
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Crazy English
3.87 of 5 stars 3.87 avg rating — 252 ratings — published 1989 — 10 editions
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More Anguished English: an ...
4.05 of 5 stars 4.05 avg rating — 209 ratings — published 1993 — 3 editions
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Get Thee to a Punnery: An A...
3.72 of 5 stars 3.72 avg rating — 159 ratings — published 1988 — 6 editions
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The Miracle of Language
4.05 of 5 stars 4.05 avg rating — 142 ratings — published 1992 — 7 editions
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The Bride of Anguished Engl...
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4.13 of 5 stars 4.13 avg rating — 102 ratings — published 2000 — 5 editions
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The Play of Words
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4.04 of 5 stars 4.04 avg rating — 76 ratings — published 1991 — 5 editions
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The Revenge of Anguished En...
3.95 of 5 stars 3.95 avg rating — 80 ratings — published 2005 — 5 editions
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Comma Sense: A Fun-damental...
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3.63 of 5 stars 3.63 avg rating — 79 ratings — published 2000 — 7 editions
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A Man of My Words: Reflecti...
3.7 of 5 stars 3.70 avg rating — 53 ratings — published 2003 — 4 editions
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“There once was a time when all people believed in God and the church ruled. This time was called the Dark Ages.”
Richard Lederer, Anguished English: An Anthology of Accidental Assaults Upon Our Language

“Let’s face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which an alarm goes off by going on. English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race (which, of course, isn’t a race at all). That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

And finally, why doesn't "buick" rhyme with "quick"?”
Richard Lederer

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