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

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  1,042 ratings  ·  96 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.
Kindle Edition
Published (first published 1987)
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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.
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
Jan Ackerson
Mar 31, 2008 Jan Ackerson rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: wordies.
Funniest. Book. Ever. Every time I read it (or any other book by Lederer), I laugh until I weep.
Nancy
Jun 26, 2012 Nancy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
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.
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.
Isaac Wilson
May 27, 2013 Isaac Wilson rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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)
Krys
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.
Emily
almost every second paragraph of the introduction promised how funny and laugh till it hurts hilarity would be in the pages. I found some funny, but it was definitely a nitpicky book rather than celebrating blatant mistakes.
racists warning: there is a woman in blackface in one of the illustrations. that alone should allow me to put this at zero stars. I mean, come on, the book was published in the nineties, not the sixties.
James
Feb 21, 2008 James rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of the English language
This is great - the author, after many years teaching English, presents the weirdest and funniest bloopers his students have come up with in the various things they wrote in his classes. The picture on the cover, of Shakespeare grimacing in horror, is apt - you can almost hear the great writers of Western history screaming "No, no, make it stop!" in response to some of the butcheries performed on their works. I laughed out loud on more pages than not.
Danae
Maybe I'm just not in a happy enough place right now, but I was disappointed by this book. I really had read most of these through various e-mails and Readers Digest quotes over the years...I giggled a little from time to time, but never really found myself saying, "Oh, I have to get back to that hilarious book!" It wasn't awful, but it was a good thing it was short or I would call it a waste of time.
Laura
Is thought this would be more a humorous look at grammar errors (a la "Eats, Shoots and Leaves") instead of a collection of grammatical errors. This is really just one big, long list of such mistakes. Thus, while occasionally amusing, generally speaking I found myself getting bored. For me, it's a book I could have thumbed through in the store and been just as satisfied as I was by reading the whole thing.
Eileen
Absolutely hilarious! It's hard to believe that these stories of horrendous writing are true, but they are. Thank GOD my mom taught me how to diagram sentences in 4th grade. They had stopped teaching that by the mid 70s when I was in grade school, and I hated her for it then, but I'm so grateful now. I can write a decent English sentence because of her dedication to my education.
Linda
This just popped up on my "recommendations" page, and I'm shocked to see I hadn't added it among my books, because it's just about one of the funniest things I've ever read. "Anguished English" has become a known catchphrase in my home. It's a little book chock-a-block with grammar bloopers, malapropisms, and not-quite-right translations that leaves you rolling. :)
M Reynolds
A very funny book... I especially loved the 'history of the world'
My mom found the entire thing hysterical, as I read it to her to keep from falling asleep on our long drive home from Chattanooga. We were laughing every second of the way.
(And if you're ever in Chattanooga's North Shore, go to A Novel Idea bookstore, the lady there is super-nice.)
Margret
A very funny book... I especially loved the 'history of the world'
My mom found the entire thing hysterical, as I read it to her to keep from falling asleep on our long drive home from Chattanooga. We were laughing every second of the way.
(And if you're ever in Chattanooga's North Shore, go to A Novel Idea bookstore, the lady there is super-nice.)
Margaret
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.
______________________________
Had some amusing bits.
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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 Expose of Embarrassing Excruciating, and Egregious Errors in English Get Thee to a Punnery: An Anthology of Intentional Assaults Upon the English Language The Miracle of Language The Bride of Anguished English: A Bonanza of Bloopers, Blunders, Botches, and Boo-Boos

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