Cheryl's Reviews > The King's English: A Guide to Modern Usage

The King's English by Kingsley Amis
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's review
Mar 14, 14

Read from February 19 to March 25, 2013

Not a useful handbook, per se, but Amis' pet peeves collected and arranged in 'alphabetical' order. I put the word alphabetical in scare-quotes because sometimes the choices are rather arbitrary - would the mini-essay differentiating Uninterested and Disinterested belong in D or U?

Many of the things that bother him relate to the difference between British and American English, but he does have both good and bad things to say about both. Many of the other things that bother him are either fads already faded, or fully established by now. And of course I disagree with many of his opinions.

But he's always witty, and each entry is an enlightening read. I'm glad I'm only reading it in odd moments, a few entries at a time, so that I can savor it.

As it happens, this is my first exposure to the author. This book was lauded in the bibliography to Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation and that's the only reason I picked it up. Now that I know more about how the man writes, I will see if there's anything else he's done that appeals to me.
Finally done. The above stands. One addendum - there is a glossary, but it seems incompletely proofread, unclear, and unhelpful. However, the book as a whole is highly recommended to all grammar nerds, novice to advanced. And to writers. And to readers translating from British to American or vice-versa.

Oh, and I'm keeping (!) my copy, and am going to reread (!) it with pen in hand (!) when I need a diversion. The man makes me want to break all the rules about what to do with books I've read....
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