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The Accidents of Style: Good Advice on How Not to Write Badly
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The Accidents of Style: Good Advice on How Not to Write Badly

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  45 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Fasten your seat belt for a crash course in careful usage.... Just like automobile accidents, accidents of style occur all over the English-speaking world, in print and on the Internet, thousands of times every day. They range from minor fender benders, such as confusing their and there, to serious smashups, such as misusing sensual for sensuous or writing loathe when you ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published July 20th 2010 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published July 14th 2010)
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Quite an interesting book, in spite of the author's position atop his high horse. Some of the errors listed I consider so basic I winced when I saw the entries, and others are more subtle (though I knew the "correct answer" - yay!); there were some instances (thankfully, not many) where I came to realize I'd been writing wrong, some where I agreed with what he was saying, but have no problem with the "incorrect" form (usually with a disclaimer such as "Though X is widespread in common usage, I'm ...more
The idea is that there are common grammatical/usage mistakes made by writers, and it's akin to an auot accident. The writer is a serious prescriptivist (and apparently a Yalie, since I learned of the book through the alumni mag). He covers 350 different misuses!! It might have been interesting to own, but no good for reading straight through. It just gets to be too much. I didn't actually finish, since I got it as a library book and someone had it on hold when I went to renew. But I don't feel o ...more
Lillian Hong
I'm looking around and some people say that the author is too cocky, too worried over little things. Well yea. He has a right to be. Stuff like this is his passion, and so he has the right to go crazy. I mean, it's a book on the misuse of the English language. It's kinda obvious that there's going to be huge details on every little thing. Besides, what YOU consider "little" might "big" to another person. Not everyone is at the same level as you (who's being high and mighty now?). Also, if you're ...more
a humorous & helpful style guide. this is one of the few books from which i actually learned something! & in fact, i learned a lot! even the intro had me laughing, as the author says that "experienced writers will make fewer mistakes, while apprentice writer will, unfortunately, make less." if you didn't get this joke, you need this book. & if you did get this joke, you're a huge nerd like me who will undoubtedly enjoy this book! though in writing this review, i broke the exclamation ...more
I took it out of the library and stared at it. Hoping that none of the accidents had happened to me. But alas, after reading it I realized many had. Hopefully, I can retain enough of the information to ensure that they don't happen again, or at least less frequently.
Ethan Mathias
Interesting approach to a topic near and dear to lovers of language. Elster identifies the common offenders and walks us through them, entry by entry, so we don't make the same mistakes again. While I agree with him most of the time, some entries seem to be a bit of a reach. Some figures of speech or constructions he labels "accidents of style" to be avoided completely, are really more a matter of opinion. His is an expert opinion, for which we are grateful, but some of the "corrections" are cle ...more
This book looks so promising that I'm going to buy my own copy. I was convinced when I saw the section that discusses eager versus anxious; it's hard not to love a book that has the same pet peeves as I do!
350 errors of punctuation, spelling, grammar and usage .....whew! I
can not (cannot) imagine their (there) being a way for my friend and me (I) remember every last (every) one!!!!
A fun usage guide that would have appealed to me a bit more if Elster wasn't so snarky.
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Charles Harrington Elster is a writer, broadcaster, and logophile—a lover of words.

He is the author and narrator of the audio vocabulary-building program Verbal Advantage and the book by the same name. His other books include Tooth and Nail and Test of Time, vocabulary-building novels for high school students preparing to take the college entrance exams; There's a Word for It, a lighthearted look
More about Charles Harrington Elster...
Verbal Advantage: Ten Easy Steps to a Powerful Vocabulary Tooth and Nail: A Novel Approach to the SAT The Big Book of Beastly Mispronunciations: The Complete Opinionated Guide for the Careful Speaker There's a Word for It!  A Grandiloquent Guide to Life What in the Word? Wordplay, Word Lore, and Answers to Your Peskiest Questions about Language

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