Can a woman be 'celibate'?
When can I use 'due to', or should I play safe and always use 'because of'?
What's wrong with the way I'm using 'crescendo'?
This book provides a simple guide to the more perplexing and contentious issues of standard written English. The entries are discussed with wit and common sense, and are i...more
Along with discussions of spelling and usage, Bryson includes many examples of incorrect usage from well-known publications and authors (including his very august self). The examples let you see what it looks like when it's done wrong, and you may recognize your own errors in those of other people. It's also nice to know that even the profess...more
An example of something I have applied to my own writing is the entry for include. He writes, "include indicates that what is to follow is only part of a greater whole. To use it when you are describing a totality is sloppy, as here: “The 630 job losses include 300 in Redcar and 330 in Port Talbot”...more
One of the English language’s most skilled and beloved writers guides us all toward precise, mistake-free usage.
As usual Bill Bryson says it best: “English is a dazzlingly idiosyncratic tongue, full of quirks and irregularities that often seem willfully at odds with logic and common sense. This is a language where ‘cleave’ can mean to cut in half or to hold two halves together; where the simple word ‘set’ has 126 different meanings as a verb, 58 as a noun, and 10 as a participial adjective; wh
Hm, it's certainly briefer than Garner's modern usage, which I am reading cover to cover. But less meaty might be just right. (In Garner I hiccuped my wonted plodding A-to-Z to see what Garner says about which's increasing use as a conjunction. Surprisingly (to me), he doesn't mention it.)
Some of Bryson's explanations I doubt you need (antennae or antennas, auger v. augur), but your students might. Some I don't care about (short of publication...more
Plot: Bill Bryson is always learning and when he’s not travelling around the world, or compiling a book about the history of the world and all the science that goes along with it, he’s correcting all us writers on our grammer.
Characters: Just Bill, 26 letters of the alphabet, a bookful of words and several grammatical theories.
Style Of Writing:...more
From the introduction: "What follows should be regarded less as a book of instruction than as a compilation of suggestions, observations, and even treasured prejudices. Never forget that no one really has the right to tell you how to o...more
Professional writers and grammar nerds will love the book's utility; this is a resource I know I'll be returning to often. For example, if all I'm trying to do is spell or define a word then I'll pull out a basic dictionary. But what if three different words seem to have identical definitions, are there situations I'm supposed to use one word over another? Or let's say I see several respected publications handle...more
I might be starting towards lexophilia, but this book is the only dictionary/ thesaurus that I can seriously read. That is sit and read through it one word at a time. The only disadvantage is that it tends to make one nervous in one's own writing and want to check everything with Bryson just in case you have just made another almighty clanger.
It was given to my by a lovely friend and it has proven to be a delight, you can't categorize it well, it isn't really a dictionary and it's not a thesauru...more
The book has one section, "Troublesome Words", and an appendix, "Punctuation".
What makes this guide to correct English stand out from the cluttered shelves of similar books is two things. Bryson delivers his advice with his trademark humor that readers of any of his other books will immediately recognize. That itself leads to the second point — Bryson isn't some grammarian tucked away in the dusty sta...more
"Class, do you know when to use 'fewer' instead of 'less'? No? Oh, goodie."
After the joyful experience I had reading A Short History of Nearly Everything, I wanted to check out more Brys...more
Someone (or ones) in Reading Seals recommended this, so I borrowed it from the library. He's a very entertaining writer, though he hasn't said anything here that can't be found in other collections like this.
In The Lost Continent, Bill Bryson's hilarious first t...more