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Yes, I Could Care Less: How to Be a Language Snob Without Being a Jerk
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Yes, I Could Care Less: How to Be a Language Snob Without Being a Jerk

3.46  ·  Rating Details ·  180 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
A usage guide for writers and all lovers of language from Bill Walsh, language maven, copy editor at The Washington Post, and author of Lapsing into a Comma.

Calling all language sticklers—and those who love to argue with them! Usage maven Bill Walsh expounds (rather than expands) on his pet peeves in the long-awaited follow-up (note the hyphens, please) to The Elephants of
Paperback, 304 pages
Published June 18th 2013 by St. Martin's Griffin
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Aug 09, 2014 Leslie rated it it was amazing
This book is ideal for language geeks, a group in which I proudly claim membership.

There are certain sections that I marked specifically because of their hilarious relevance. One is on business-speak, which drives me insane, and other "professional" jargon. The last sentence of this section reads, "I'm not even sure the business types know what they actually mean when the talk about utilizing paradigm-shifting technologies to task personnel to grow the company."

Another chapter is "Tiny Acts of E
Aug 24, 2015 Kelsey rated it really liked it
[I'm concerned that if this author reads this he will find something wrong with my writing but maybe he would be kind enough to not say too much about it. Here's to hoping that he is too busy to read book reviews.]

This book was hilarious. It got off to a scary start. Some of the topics at the beginning I found myself disagreeing with but I stuck it out. It was worth it. This author has A+ sarcasm and I learned things from this book too! I find myself suddenly into words and language and grammar
Brad Grabow
Aug 24, 2014 Brad Grabow rated it it was ok
Meh. The author makes good points and raises several uncommon language errors of which I was unaware (and perhaps guilty), but his attempts at humor (and incessant parenthetical interruptions) were far from effortless (even to the point of distraction, I might say). (But I digress.) (Again) The book could easily be distilled to half its length, as well, as Walsh frequently strives to overcome every known or conceivable counter-argument, no matter how banal or unworthy of refutation.
The title cau
Megan Stolz
May 13, 2015 Megan Stolz rated it liked it
I had a hard time getting into this one. In my work, I come across a lot of grammar snobs, although I'm more of a descriptivist myself, so I was looking forward to maybe some validation in this book, or at the very least, some amusement. But despite the subtitle, there's a definite snobby undertone, at least in the first few chapters, which is as far as I got. The history behind how certain grammatical pet peeves came to be is mildly interesting, but it basically comes across as an explanation ...more
Washington Post
Jul 11, 2013 Washington Post rated it it was amazing
Reading Yes, I Could Care Less is like bellying up to your favorite neighborhood bar while a cranky yet lovable uncle holds forth on the perils of comma splices and misplaced hyphens. Walsh is combative and funny, and he doesn’t suffer fools gladly (“Humans are often idiots,” he explains helpfully at one point).Read the rest:
Jan 06, 2014 Carl rated it really liked it
mostly clear & judicious, but come on: "waterbed" is one word.
Dec 03, 2016 Anne rated it did not like it
I am a grammar nerd, so I thought I would enjoy this book, as I did "Eats, Shoots, and Leaves." Wrong! Utterly boring. I just could not even finish it.
Sep 29, 2013 Anna rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Editors and word snobs
Shelves: apl, 2013
Yes, I could care less. Or I could even care more.
I like words and etymology; it's always interesting where - and how - the words came to a language.
And I like the correct punctuation and spelling (which would be much less painful if you were not expected to alho punctuate everything correctly in three languages. Yes, I get irritated of linguistic stupidities in 3 languages).
This book is good on getting back some sense in where, when and how use punctuation like -, --, ,, ;, "".
And it also gives
Nov 09, 2013 Stewart rated it really liked it
A book that should be of interest to avid readers and writers and not just copy editors and proofreaders is “Yes, I Could Care Less: How To Be a Language Snob Without Being a Jerk” by Bill Walsh, a copy editor at The Washington Post.
The 2013 book examines the usual suspects of English language use and misuse, including active and passive verbs, punctuation, hyphenated words, plurals, cliches, and even “free gifts.” He tackles one of my greatest pet peeves: the misuse of “literally.” He spent a
Aug 21, 2014 Bryan rated it it was ok
Bill Walsh thinks he's perfect; he's not. Why would the object "rock-climbing wall" need a hyphen between the last two words? According to him it's to avoid confusion of a possible rock climbing a wall. But why would someone other than a Neanderthal say "look at rock climbing wall." That phrase would have to have an "a" or a "the" before wall to make sense. There are other mistakes this self-described snob made.
Richard Martin
Sep 12, 2013 Richard Martin rated it liked it
Walsh has a lively, informal writing style. Rationales/discussions regarding "rules" are informative and often humorous. The difficulty is attempting to use the book as a style manual. Guidelines are hidden within discourse so are not easily found even using the index. Stick with Strunck & White, Turabian, or "Elements of Style." Touch of irony. The bookplate under item 3 "English Language" reads "grammer." :)
Oct 30, 2013 Sherry rated it it was amazing
Bill Walsh splits the book into three parts, and the first is uneven (he writes about being a stickler even as a child between tirades of current usage). Even with this one flaw, the book still kicks ass thanks to his sense of humor and excellent pointers when it comes to grammar and communication during a time when new terms -- think "hashtag" -- become popular overnight.
Dec 08, 2015 Mance rated it it was ok
It is a shame! I think there's a lot of interesting points in this point, and as someone who majored in linguistics and is currently moving over to editing, there were a lot of familiar names and this could have been a really enjoyable book. But Walsh's tone is so childish and petty, I couldn't finish more than a few chapters before setting it aside. Such a waste.
Jul 25, 2015 Alice rated it liked it
A little helpful, a little funny. This guy has a major hard-on for hyphens. I appreciate his middle-of-the-road philosophy, which is basically "I have preferences but you can have different ones, as long as you're not being stupid."
Nov 26, 2013 Sarah rated it liked it
I felt that this book was interesting but as I read it I discovered that I make some mistakes in my everyday life but also that I could care less. I think it encapsulates the debate over whether correct grammar matters more than the ability to communicate even without perfect grammar.
Richard Sansing
Dec 26, 2013 Richard Sansing rated it it was amazing
From the first line, "These are interesting times for word nerds" to the epilogue, "I suppose it's clear by now that I'm nuts," Walsh's book is a marvelous snarkfest! Highly recommended for snarky word nerds and nuts.
Jan 19, 2014 Ariadna73 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: english-language
Very interesting books that gives useful advice on how to use common expressions in written language. It is more oriented to people who write news, but in reality, it can help all of us (I am the first inthe line!)
Nov 20, 2013 Michael rated it really liked it
Walsh attempts to strike a balance to between the prescriptivists and the descriptivists in the ancient English grammar wars. Language's function as conventional sign requires that it be stable, but grammar does evolve through use.
Mathew Blackburn
Nov 11, 2015 Mathew Blackburn rated it did not like it
I don't understand the gray bar at the top. Is it supposed to be funny? It's not. I didn't care for this book because it repeated itself ad nauseum, the whole thing could have been 1/4 the length and still made the same points.
Aug 04, 2013 Benjamin rated it really liked it
Very enjoyable read. Quite a few, laugh-out-loud moments, which one might not expect from a language usage manual. I highly recommend to language lovers.
Rob Martz
Sep 21, 2013 Rob Martz rated it it was amazing
Fixes those awful errors. Takes subject verb agreement and word snobbery to a new level. Perfect words for me.
Jul 21, 2015 Martha rated it really liked it
Good fun for language snobs. The author and I are soulmates on most points. He, unfortunately, has given in to using 'lay' where one should say 'lie'. This I cannot do.
Andie Nash
Aug 05, 2016 Andie Nash rated it really liked it
Amusing and informative. I love books like this. Good companion to "Woe Is I" and "Eats Shoots and Leaves." Must read for fellow word nerds!
Terry Lewis
Jul 08, 2014 Terry Lewis rated it it was ok
I enjoy Walsh, but in smaller chunks. His monthly discussion on Great. His twitter deed? Perfect. This book? Too much.
Mary Piper
Feb 17, 2014 Mary Piper rated it it was ok
Only mildly interesting reading about an editor's pet peeves. Mostly the same as my own, so at least I got some confirmation. I am self-editing more after reading this.
May 13, 2016 Peyton rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars
I came for the snarkasm and stayed for the master-course on the English language. Terribly funny, amazingly readable, and bursting with great tips.
Andrea Engle
Oct 16, 2015 Andrea Engle rated it liked it
Shelves: books-read-2015
Highly adversarial ... the writer aggressively attacks grammatical errors ... helpful to the extent of reinforcing proper usage; however, written with a disconcerting vindictiveness ...
Varma rated it it was ok
Sep 10, 2015
Valerie Diane
Valerie Diane rated it liked it
Jul 14, 2013
Aug 04, 2013 Travis rated it it was amazing
Another gem. Read all of Walsh's books if you give a shit about American English.
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Bill Walsh was born in Pottsville, Pa., and grew up in Madison Heights, Mich., and Mesa, Ariz. He is a 1984 journalism graduate of the University of Arizona and has worked as a reporter and editor at the Phoenix Gazette and an editor at the Washington Times and the Washington Post. He is now a multiplatform editor at the Post.
More about Bill Walsh...

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