Karina's Reviews > Garner on Language and Writing: Selected Essays and Speeches of Bryan A. Garner

Garner on Language and Writing by Bryan A. Garner
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's review
Oct 27, 10

bookshelves: business, first-reads, grammar, non-fiction, language
Read from June 22 to October 27, 2010

I won this book through Goodreads First Reads. Odds: 50 copies available, 772 people requesting.

A word that is missing from the title of this book is "legal". Garner's focus is on improving legal writing. And at first when I entered the giveaway I didn't realize that bit. Still it could be useful, as law is one possibility I'm considering if I need a change from accounting at some point. And the omission of this word from the title may actually have a purpose. Most of the advice I've read so far can be applied to any type of writing.

I'm really liking this book. His writing style is easy, and fun, and it's obvious that he cares about the usage of the language. Foreword says: "Garner's essays not only instruct by prescription; they also teach by example. His prose is a model of precision, elegance, and clarity." I quote because I agree based on what I've read so far (chapter 1 and part of chapter 5 - skipping around to the topics that interest me).

Neat feature of the book that surprised me were the illustrations - caricatures of the famous people in the law.

In Chapter 5 there are a bunch of language quizzes. I liked them a lot, even if I didn't do as well as I'd wished on them. Only one "superb" result, and "good" on others, haha ;)

This was a neat way to express the ideas on page 216: "Of course, ill repute is sometimes ill-deserved. The split infinitive is no abomination--one need merely know when to properly use it. Prepositions are not bad words to end sentences with. And it often serves the writer well to begin a sentence with and or but."

The essay on page 245 (Word Karma) had me laughing out loud. Maybe in part because it was so unexpected, and because I think I'd feel the same way as the author in the situation.

This book makes me want to get Garner's Modern American Usage, because I care about proper usage, and this author makes a lot of sense, and I realize that there are things I don't know.

This is a very thick book. I think I'm going to mark this as read, even though I haven't read every word -- I'm just going to read bits and pieces over time. I think it's useful, and funny at times.
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