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Anguished English: An Anthology of Accidental Assaults Upon Our Language

4.09  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,409 Ratings  ·  122 Reviews
From bloopers and blunders to Signs of the Times to Mixed Up Metaphors...from Two-Headed Headlines to Mangling Modifiers, Anguished English is a treasury of assaults upon our common language.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published August 5th 1989 by Dell (first published 1987)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,901)
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Feb 01, 2015 Becky rated it liked it
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
Oct 21, 2015 Stela rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews, linguistic

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
⊱ Irena ⊰
An okay depiction of various language mistakes. Perfect for people who like to post a lot of status updates. It made me laugh a couple of times, so it gets a pass. It didn't leave me 'roaring with laughter' the way it promised though.
I can't put my finger on it, but I didn't like the tone of the book if that makes any sense. I didn't see this as a benign humorous mocking. Occasionally it was a bit condescending.
Still, some of the mistakes are hilarious. Others were trying too hard.

An advice: do
Emma Sea
May 07, 2014 Emma Sea rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 it was amazing
Recommends it for: wordies.
Funniest. Book. Ever. Every time I read it (or any other book by Lederer), I laugh until I weep.
Nov 18, 2008 Danielle rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Sep 10, 2012 Jess Candela rated it it was amazing
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.
Mark Dickson
May 14, 2010 Mark Dickson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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."
Dec 25, 2008 Matt rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 19, 2008 Melody rated it really liked it
Hilarious, and what's more, consistently hilarious. My high school English teacher and I bonded over this book.
Jun 26, 2012 Nancy rated it really liked it
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

Mar 10, 2016 Lynette rated it really liked it
OK, confession time: I needed a couple of slender books with light topics. This fit the bill, but had the added benefit of making me laugh until my sides ached. In the foreword, Lederer warns to sip the book, rather than imbibe in gulps -- but I had no time to sip, as I still have two more books to read before I reach my 100, as per my challenge (and only one more day). I still found the work hilarious. My parents have Bloopers and More Bloopers (published some time in the fifties or even fortie ...more
May 08, 2010 Mariah rated it liked it
Shelves: humor, grammar, syntax
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 liked it
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
Bob Schmitz
Oct 20, 2015 Bob Schmitz rated it it was ok
Shelves: humor
Basically a long list of funny things that students, newspapers, signs said. Some had me laugh out loud but I had to take it in small doses like someone who tells continuous jokes or puns. Examples: headline: CHILD'S STOOL GREAT FOR USE IN GARDEN. misspellings: "Full Coarse Meals" or student papers: "Sir Francis Drake circumcised the world with a 100ft clipper." You get the idea. I found the book and spent the right amount of money on it.
Jun 06, 2016 Milo rated it really liked it
Some sections are laugh-'til-you-cry hilarious. Other sections are just a bunch of examples that contain no humor, and where often the intended meaning is clear enough that you have to squint at the text indefinitely to find the unintentional joke -- or else the joke just isn't funny (that's subjective, of course). I'm rounding up to four stars, because the better sections of the book made me laugh harder than I have laughed in a while.
Jan 17, 2009 Eric rated it really liked it
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
Richard Thompson
Feb 24, 2016 Richard Thompson rated it really liked it
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
Vashti Puls
Jan 24, 2013 Vashti Puls rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 08, 2014 Stephen rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor
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.
Jul 08, 2014 Kaethe rated it really liked it
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
Dec 31, 2014 Nancy H rated it really liked it
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!
Feb 07, 2016 Fishface rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor, non-fiction
Terrific collection of mangled English usage, not by foreigners as in books like ENGLISH WELL SPEECHED HERE, but by people who've been using it all their lives and have no excuse. Total riot.
Ryne Steinacker
Mar 24, 2014 Ryne Steinacker rated it really liked it
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
Aug 01, 2014 Brandon Byrd rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 26, 2015 Sara Mcbride rated it it was amazing
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.
Nov 08, 2007 David rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hall-of-fame, humor
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
Jun 22, 2016 Kimberly rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013-books-read
This is laugh out loud funny! Worth reading several times. Read it to your kids so they can know the importance of grammar.
Apr 04, 2016 Marcie rated it really liked it
Read during 1995-96 school year for Westview Bookclub. I recommended, but don't know if met here or at the school.
Jonathan Plowman
Feb 11, 2015 Jonathan Plowman rated it it was amazing
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.
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Madison Mega-Mara...: Anguished English 1 3 Feb 01, 2013 09:24PM  
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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
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