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Literally, the Best Language Book Ever: Annoying Words and Abused Phrases You Should Never Use Again

2.68  ·  Rating Details  ·  126 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
A wry and engaging look at trite, trendy, grammatically incorrect, inane, outdated, and lazy uses of words, phrases, and expressions.

By turns gleefully precise and happily contrarian, this is a highly opinionated guide to better communication. In Literally, the Best Language Book Ever, author Paul Yeager attacks with a linguistic scalpel the illogical expressions and misa
ebook, 208 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by Perigee Books (first published 2008)
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(showing 1-30 of 338)
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Jul 19, 2009 Courtney rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody. Ever.
I wanted to like this book. I really did. But at 89 pages in, I had to stop. Even in small doses the pompousness and "stick-up-his-assednenss" of this author was too much. Any writing student I've ever had will tell you I'm pretty picky, and anyone who's heard me rant about stupid country music lyrics ("I'm the scarlet letter"? Really, Taylor Swift? You were an adulteress who became pregnant out of wedlock and was ostracized? Yes, that's so very romantic. SEE. Like that) will tell you that I ove ...more
Hilary Riall
While I would have to say that this book is not “literally the best language book ever,” but I think the author realized the joke that the title of this book represents. This book consists of many entries detailing the “annoying words and abused phrases you should never use again” which contain the word or phrase, and an entry from the author detailing why this is wrong, or redundant, or nonexistant. These entries are categorized into chapters like “Play It Again, Sam: Errors of Redundancy and R ...more
Dec 24, 2008 Shoshana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Yeager likes to make points like, "Google is not actually a verb." Yes. We know.
Mar 22, 2010 Stewart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book should be a painful but fun read for students of the English language and writers and copy editors in particular. There are many words and phrases mentioned in the book that are major headache-inducers for me. The misuse of "literally" and the subsequent erosion of the wonderful distinction in English between literal and metaphorical statements are actions that cause me anguish. I wish writers and broadcasters who don't know what these two words mean would not use the words.
The secon
Rachel Niemeyer
Feb 28, 2013 Rachel Niemeyer rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I love reading books about grammar and the English language. But sometimes (obviously) that can be a boring subject to read about. I chose this book because the title made me laugh, and I thought this would be a great chance to learn something from an author who has a great sense of irony. Instead, I read a big long tirade about how stupid people are for using words and phrases that he finds annoying. Now, when I have conversations with my friends, all I hear are the words and phrases that Yeage ...more
Marta Vieira
Sep 16, 2011 Marta Vieira rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The first two chapters were great - grammar errors and errors of redundancy and repetition. After that, well, "it's all downhill from there" - see Paul, I used one of your many pet peeves as a figure of speech to describe your book!

It is just a collection of expressions that bother the author, sometimes for no great reason - too often used, not accurate enough, too outdated, too trendy and of the moment... he especially dislikes everything to do with business, but often because business is dirty
Paul Yeager wrote a book about language. I don't know what his credentials are in that (mine) field and the book might be very personal, but I'm judging as I would any other position. The verdict is, it sucks.

I don't know what circle of society the author revolves around but to my astonishment I've never heard half of the expressions he finds so annoying. The other part of his bitching comes out snobby with a 'I've got head up my ass' label. Does the author have *any* idea what the language is f
Joshua Kennedy
I received this book as a gift because I'm pretty vocal about my hatred for misuse of the word "literally." The author chose a great title to peak the interest of intelligent people who are not fond of the widespread butchering of the English language. However, there are only about two pages of worthwhile material in this whole book. The rest of it is the longest list of an author's personal pet peeves ever. Literally.
Tracey Allen at Carpe Librum
I reserved this book from the library with plans to leave it on the coffee table over Christmas for everyone to dip into and enjoy; it's just that type of book.

Sadly I didn't get it in time, but I enjoyed it just the same.

Yeager has divided his book into chapters, some of which include: Illogical Words and Phrases, Excessively Trendy Words and Expressions, Inarticulate Language and more.

I was shocked to find that I was guilty of committing one of his offences in the very first chapter, Grammar E
Dec 10, 2012 Stefanie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
All you need to know about this book may be found on page 171 (a little late; thanks a bunch, buddy): "I lumped these [questionable phrases] into my personal pet peeves category . . . I stole . . . some of my wife's pet peeves as well. What can I say? We're both easily annoyed, and we like to talk about it. Think twice if you get a dinner invitation."

Does it sound like fun to spend time with this author, either by reading his book or in person? Yeah, I'd skip both too. I read the whole thing jus
Jul 23, 2015 C rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Literally, the most pedantic language screed ever. Should have been funny, instead was oddly picky. It's one thing to joke about misuse of words like literally (a long-standing pet peeve of mine), but quite another to pick on perfectly valid English-language expressions that simply annoy the author.

I'll continue to say, "like a needle in a haystack," whenever I want to, thanks. It is what it is.
Feb 03, 2009 Kimberly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
my friends gave me this book, because i like grammar and have a bad habit of correcting people. the book gets two stars, because the first two chapters dealt with actual grammar mistakes, and i learned a few things. the author also included some of my pet peeves, such as the use of "should of".

HOWEVER, the rest of the book deals with the author's personal peeves... just things he doesn't like, which seems to be everything! i don't know how paul yeager talks to anyone, because he must be constan
Aug 27, 2008 RuthAnn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, writing
Would recommend: Maybe, for skimming

I thought I would really love this book, but then I read the introduction and realized that the author is the managing editor of the illustrious publication, Uh, what?

It's not to say that Paul Yeager is not knowledgeable, and he makes a valiant effort at explaining the subjunctive tense, but if we were to follow the edicts of this book, we would never speak in figures of speech, employ trendy phrases, or be even the slightest bit lax in our sp
Jeff S
Jan 06, 2016 Jeff S rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There were some good points made, and many silly mistakes pointed out. But about a third of it just seemed to be his own complaints, with out any justification besides "this is dumb." There are funny quips throughout it, but they do get spread thin.
King Ævil
Jan 25, 2009 King Ævil rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, 2008
Mr. Yeager has compiled a useful, comprehensive list of noxious abuses of the English languages, both grammatical and not, specializing appropriately in the pompous phrasing of soulless business 'droids. Nonetheless, while he carefully points out exactly what is wrong with every offending word and phrase, he completely neglects his duty to ridicule and demean the sheer inanity of such atrocities. Consequently, I found this book an incredible letdown. I'd have given it a low 2-star rating, except ...more
Nov 21, 2012 Cathi rated it really liked it
I love language books, and this one was a delight. Of course, it's all based on the author's opinions, and wow, is he ever opinionated! Yeager is not a grammarian or even an English professor; he's a meteorologist. That's okay, though, because he doesn't need to be a language expert to know what words and phrases irritate him. The book was arranged well, and it was lots of fun to read in sections. I'll admit that I often use some of the words and sayings which annoy him, and I'm trying to use a ...more
Mar 02, 2009 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english-language
Can the pet peeves of a prescriptive grammarian (actually, a former meteorologist!) be hilarious, edifying, and informative all at the same time? Judging by this softcover wonder, I say yes. Unfortunately, I use the bulk of the examples he skewers from cover to cover, but hey, recognizing the problem is half the battle. His frequent refrain-- that certain groups of letters we use are non-words, or invented words--always raises a chuckle, as do his sensible means of expressing the same ideas as o ...more
Apr 18, 2009 Valerie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: grammar snobs
this was a fun book for the most part; however the author was a tad smug, and reading it cover to cover, it got old...but glancing through it and reading the same grammar problems in speech and writing that bug me also, the premise is fun (for grammar snobs, that is). most of the book is the author's personal reasons for not liking particular words, phrases, idioms, and cliches. he doesn't like slang of any type, however, and a fair portion of the book is dedicated to slang terms he doesn't like ...more
Feb 23, 2009 Sarah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
How do I get my shit list published in paperback form? That's all this book amounted to--a list of the author's, and his wife's grammatical pet peeves, in alphabetical order with a paragraph or two of commentary each. (Can you imagine how tiresome their cocktail parties must be? Oy.) If you're going to try to pull that off, you need to add a humorous, or at least unique, spin. This book is nothing that can't be found on any website where two or three self-styled intellectuals gather.
May 24, 2008 Kris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is half humorous and half infuriating. There are lots of annoying phrases and words in here, but there are also lots of nit-picking. The guy is in the tradition of the Acadamie Francaise that wants to cement language forever, but it's a dynamic thing that can and must change - the author doesn't seem to get that. And his biggest sin was including "Are We Having Fun Yet?" while being totally clueless that it was coined by Bill Griffith in Zippy.
Feb 10, 2010 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the crotchety
Recommended to Kate by: the stacks
Shelves: language
"'Are we having fun yet?' is sarcastic--not in a good way but in a tired, worn-out, never-say-it-again kind of way. The phrase is as useful as a hole-ridden sock that's lying in a mud puddle in the gutter of a soot-covered city street, and saying 'Are we having fun yet?' should be as tempting as it would be to bend over, pick up the sock, wring out the water, and slide it onto your foot."
Feb 22, 2009 Elizabeth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not really worth the read. I saw this at Kristy's and was excited to read it. I picked it up and was very disappointed. I thought it would be funny and a great read but alas, it was dry and badly written. Really, it is just the author's feelings on different phrases and as Kristy said, you feel like he is talking down to you the whole book.
Mar 25, 2011 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was hilarious and something you can pickup and put down whenever you want. I was shocked at how many phrases I use that I thought were correct English. If anything, this book will give you interesting insight into grammar and will give you some ammo to use against others when you feel like being a grammar nerd.
Feb 25, 2011 Becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
He might be a bit snooty, but I agree with much of what he says. There is a culture of drama in the U.S. and it is annoying! Exaggeration and the liberal use of adverbs just serves to make people's problems seem greater than they actually are. That being said, I have some work to do in my choice of words and expressions.
Dec 04, 2008 Melissa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: wouldn't
Shelves: word-play
I wanted to like this book, but the other's attempts at humor fell flat and I've read English Grammar texts that explained verb tense in a more entertaining way. While it does have some handy reminders about some often incorrectly used parts of the language, it's not saying anything in a new or interesting way.
Jan 31, 2010 Valerie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, own
If you want to read 200 pages of a holier-than-thou-type guy be snarky and sarcastic then read this, but really I would hate if people talked like he does a lot more than if everyone used the phrases/words/sayings he thinks should never be used again. HEY GUY: languages change and evolve and grow.
Jul 19, 2009 Rachel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help
There were some things that I agreed with, and some I didn't... he was very critical of the language that most people use, and while some of it was just, some of his harsh terms were undeserved. His attempts at being funny came across as hypocritical and sarcastic, and he never made me laugh.
Aug 09, 2008 Alexia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Although there were some good reminders about common mistakes in English, the author is a language purist and opposed to any use of slang, jargon or popular sayings. It just isn't practical - we all use them to some extent, and I think that's what helps language grow and evolve.

Sep 03, 2011 Beth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Feh, its OK. He really didn't give any helpful suggestions for getting rid of the phrases he found annoying. However, the first couple chapters were a good refresher on grammar. I am please as I can continue using "really" and "word" as these were not in his 'do not use list'.
This book was fine. I liked it because I am a language geek, but was disappointed by the content. The book is more of a novelty than actual language book, which is fine, and enjoyable, but not what i was expecting.
I also did not appreciate the preach-y overtones of some of the chapters.
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