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Anguished English: An Anthology of Accidental Assaults Upon Our Language
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Anguished English: An Anthology of Accidental Assaults Upon Our Language

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4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  1,204 ratings  ·  106 reviews
Anguished English is the impossibly funny anthology of accidental assaults upon our language. From bloopers and blunders to Signs of the Times to Mixed Up Metaphors...from Two-Headed Headlines to Mangling Modifiers, here is an outrageous treasury of assaults upon our common language that will leave you roaring with delight and laughter.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published August 5th 1989 by Dell (first published 1987)
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Becky
I have learned so much from this book. Most importantly, I've learned that what I thought was a regional dialect of Northeastern Pennsylvania called Heynabonics is actually a nation-wide sub-language called "Slurvian."

I think this means that I'm bi-lingual now.

This was a cute, though disturbing, read. I laughed until I cried in the beginning section, reading through students' essays and seeing their mutilation of facts, but towards the middle of the book, it just kind of lost me. Yes, there wer
...more
Stela

As a teacher, I began to gather linguistic jewels many years ago, mainly from my students compositions and tests, but sometimes from media or overheard conversations in the street.

I intended, just like Richard Lederer, to make someday a book out of them, but I never imagined this book as a mere anthology – at the end of the day, how long can you laugh while reading page after page of jokes? How many spoons of honey can you eat before becoming sick? In other words, the real challenge is to seek
...more
Emma Sea
You can't go home again :(

I read this when it was first released, in 19mumblemumble, and laughed until I cried. Now I find Lederer condescending and annoying. I hate the sections with grammatical errors from "citizens applying for payments from a state welfare agency" and "actual [school] excuse notes". Listen to Lederer snicker because "an astonishing number of grownups blithely go about murdering the King's English without any inkling they are committing a serious crime."

Did not like.
Jan Ackerson
Mar 31, 2008 Jan Ackerson rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: wordies.
Funniest. Book. Ever. Every time I read it (or any other book by Lederer), I laugh until I weep.
Danielle
It really isn't this book's fault that I didn't like it. If I had read it when it was first released I'm sure I would have appreciated it more. However, I was disappointed because 1) I was expecting a humorous take on grammar abuses (a la Eats, Shoots, and Leaves) and instead it turned out to be a collection of language "bloopers" of every ilk. 2) I'm not sure how it's possible that so many of these could have been reprinted and read by me without me ever realizing their source, but I'm pretty ...more
Jess Candela
I was a teenager living at home when I read this book for the first time. My mother expressed concern at all the howling noises she'd been hearing from my room since she got home. I tried to explain to her, but was laughing too hard to speak, tears streaming down my face. I finally handed her the book, and she understood immediately.

I've pared my bookshelves down a bit over the years and moves, but this is one book that is always guaranteed a spot.
Matt
I laugh just thinking about this book. The chapter on history of the world according to student bloopers alone is worth the price of the book.
Melody
Hilarious, and what's more, consistently hilarious. My high school English teacher and I bonded over this book.
Nancy
Jun 26, 2012 Nancy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who loves mangled English

More fun with discombobulated English! Like Richard Lederer's Get Thee to a Punnery, Anguished English will have you chuckling and grinning, if not rolling on the floor as you read examples of mangled English written not only by children, but by adults who you think would have learned better in school. Many of these have been on the email circuit, but having them all together makes for just plain fun! My numerically- (rather than verbally-) oriented husband had difficulty listening to some of th

...more
Mark Dickson
Everyone in the education field should read Lederer's essay, "World History According to Student Bloopers." Anyone who has proofread their own kids' essays will relate.

I still laugh outloud all these years later at the "defeat of the Spanish Armadillo."
Mariah Smith
This is fun casual read. Share bits of it with your most punny friends. Lederer is a great columnist, and this book is a natural fit for his followers.
Isaac Wilson
May 27, 2013 Isaac Wilson rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Casual, short-session readers
While the book as a whole was good, a couple of downfalls gives me hesitation to refer this book to others. The second chapter was brilliant, piecing together a warped world history using the mistakes of students in their essays. However, as the book goes on, it feels like Richard Lederer is trying too hard to pull together some of the jokes, with many mistakes that simply don't tickle the funny bone.

The presentation as truth of the commonly quoted JFK German translation mistake (proved to be a
...more
Eric
Jan 17, 2009 Eric rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: humor
I received this book as a gift...and what a gift it was! Sometimes, the funniest moments in life are completely accidental. Anguished English, as the title suggests, is a compendium of blunders, bloopers, and mistranslations guaranteed to split your sides.

The book is divided into a number of chapters; the first few deal with "Schoolishness," that being the bloopers of students. A group of my friends have long cherished some of the gems from this section.

Other chapters are cleverly titled "Disord
...more
Richard Thompson
We actually read this book years ago (and have dipped into it countless times since) but that was pre-Goodreads so it has never been logged as a Goodreads book.

The book is a collection of malapropisms, mangled meanings and garbled grammar which are supposedly drawn from student writing, newpaper headlines, public signage and celebrity quotes. Some of the examples are, I suspect apocryphal, and some are less fresh than they were back when the book was published (thanks to their wide distribution
...more
Vashti Puls
An easy read and a humorous way to pass the time! If you have ever been a teacher, a writer or one of those people who hates words such as "ain't", you will love this book. I myself since having a brain injury have found myself a member of the non-sequitur club! Yogi Berra has always been one of my favorite comedians (without his meaning to). One of my favorite
quotes by him is in this book.

When Mickey Mantle asked him "What time is it?" Berra replied: "you mean right now?" How much more zen like
...more
Stephen
There are other ones too by the same editor. Unlike the answers in F in Exams compiled by Richard Benson, which were deliberate decisions to throw away score points in order to be funny, these were probably written in carelessness.
Kaethe
Had there been an internet as there is now, Lederer would have started a blog of these examples of student's mangling of the language. Then he would have gotten the book contract. I love me some examples of people being stupid.
Nancy H
This collection of bloopers and misused English is hilarious. I have come across many similar things in my teaching career, and now wish that I would have documented them all. Human beings are delightfully funny!
Ryne
The book is quite funny. A few of the jokes were a little too racy for my tastes, but with language/usage mishaps, a wide range of humor to be expected.
Brandon Byrd
This is the funniest book I've ever read. It gets me laughing so hard that I can't breathe and my face and sides hurt but I just can't stop.
Sara Mcbride
I just re-read this book. I forgot how much I loved it. An English professor in College assigned this to us. One of my favorite classes.
David
The perfect bathroom book, provided you can sit on the can while laughing uncontrollably. Lederer has collected the most hilarious misuses of the English language from student papers ("The sun never set on the British Empire because the British Empire is in the East and the sun sets in the West"), newspaper advertisements ("Stock up and save. Limit: one"), accident reports ("My car sustained no damage whatsoever, and the other car somewhat less"), foreign shop signs (in Hong Kong, a clockwork to ...more
Jonathan Plowman
I've re-read this book many times, and it never gets old or outdated. Good fun for grammar Nazis like myself or anyone who enjoys reading about the English language.
Mordechai Housman
Very funny, but it's old now, and these quotes have been used thousands of times since then.
Judy
I laughed until I cried. Literally. Multiple times. Couldn't read more than one short chapter at a time, due to excessive giggling. :)
Drikus Roux
This is an easy read. It deals with common assaults (mistakes with words, and, or phrases) on the English language. You get an appreciation for how common Americans, butcher the language. As for second-language users, the mistakes we make, are very similar.

Unfortunately, with the advent of email, and youtube, many of the humorous sign mistakes, have been distributed to us to ad nausea.

None-the-less, there are a few good giggles, and some whooooaaah moments, about silly mistakes, we all make ever
...more
Apryl Anderson
This was amusing, and several times I really did LOL. The muddled history chapter of 'The World According to Student Bloopers' made this little ABCDière find worthwhile. The majority of the book included variations on sexual innuendo, which I suppose is to be expected from a high school writing, anyway. Whoops, your Freudian slip is showing.

(3 days later) I'm willing to give a couple of extra stars for the joy of hearing my daughter read 'Anguished English.' Her laughter was contagious =0)
Krystle
Not nearly as funny as that introduction would like you to believe.

Essentially long lists of various English-language blunders, so there's bound to be something that makes you chuckle. (Although that last section on "Slurvian" should've been dropped altogether.)

Probably doesn't help that this is ©1987, so I had already come across darn near all of these somewhere else.
Zac Sigler
This is what I refer to as a "fettucine alfredo" book. It starts out delightfully. "The World According to Student Bloopers" is hysterical. However, as when eating fettucine alfredo, somewhere around halfway through, continuing begins to amount to a low-grade form of torture. Mostly the author tries to hard. I found myself chuckling for about one out of every five attempts at humor in the latter chapters, and the final chapter on "Slurvians" was the worst part of the book.
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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 Toast ...more
More about Richard Lederer...
Crazy English More Anguished English: An Exposé of Embarrassing Excruciating, and Egregious Errors in English The Miracle of Language Get Thee to a Punnery: An Anthology of Intentional Assaults Upon the English Language The Bride of Anguished English: A Bonanza of Bloopers, Blunders, Botches, and Boo-Boos

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