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Common Errors in English Usage Paperback – 27 Jan 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: William James & Company; 2nd edition (27 Jan 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590282078
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590282076
  • Product Dimensions: 22.4 x 15.2 x 1.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 552,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

After earning his Ph.D. in comparative literature at Indiana University, Paul Brians worked for forty years as an English professor at Washington State University in Pullman. He taught, researched, and wrote about a wide variety of topics, including Medieval and modern European literature, science fiction, nuclear war fiction, the history of ideas, world civilizations before 1500, and South Asian fiction in English (works by authors from India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka).

His Web site contains widely used study guides for various literary works, his photographs of various famous sites in the world, and the complete text of a revised second edition of his book "Nuclear Holocausts: Atomic War in Fiction."

In 1997 he began the on-line project "Common Errors in English Usage," which has attracted millions of users since and is continuously updated and revised. Two editions of a book by the same title have been published by William, James & Co., based on the Web site and supplemented with cartoons by Tom Sumner. From 2006 to 2010 the same publisher brought out a boxed daily calendar featuring a usage note on each page.

He is now retired to Bainbridge Island but continues to work on the "Common Errors" project and travels frequently to give public lectures on this and other subjects. His photographs of Bainbridge Island will soon be published in a book titled "Four Seasons on Bainbridge Island."

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By RobinH on 18 May 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is great for identifying common errors that have slipped into your language. There is a wealth of informative and often witty commentaries on how words or phrases are misused and how to remember the correct terminology.

The only downside is that it covers too much. It caters for all abilities when perhaps two versions would have been better, one for people that don't know the difference between except and accept and one for those who don't know the difference between warranty and warrantee (which Amazon's spell check doesn't even recognise as a word!).

Great for the kids...even better for me, as I should know better.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Good fun if you like a bit of a pedantic read, it's always handy for a dyslexic like me to be able to check differences between affect/effect and things like that. However, it's got quite a lot of mistakes, and is written from a completely American perspective.

I suppose it's cheap, but it doesn't cross reference well and ends up being like a mildly amusing picky blog rather than a handy tool for improving anyone's Ingrish.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This has made me an uncommon man so I now make only [rare] uncommon mistakes - thanks to Common Errors....

Arun Debnath, greater London
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 44 reviews
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Avoid Kindle version 14 Nov 2011
By Irma Vep - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As another reviewer has noted, the Kindle version of this book includes neither a table of contents nor an index. The book is essentially an extended list of frequently confused or misused words and expressions, with numerous entries that direct the reader to another, related entry elsewhere in the text. These cross-references are not hyperlinked. Without internal hyperlinks, an index, or a TOC, the Kindle version is difficult to navigate. Using it is frustrating and time-consuming. I would avoid purchasing this book for Kindle until or unless the format is improved to include, at the least, a TOC or an index.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Looking for the correct word? This book will answer the question! 7 Sep 2009
By Happy In Carmel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read a review of this book and decided it was a book I have been seeking for a long time. If you are a person that wonders about things like whether to use further instead of farther, or lay instead of lie, this is the book for you. Put an end to bungling the English language . . . Common Errors in English is sure to make you seem a lot smarter that you really are.
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
A grammar-junkie's dream! 15 Feb 2009
By Kristin Rohr - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is a must for anyone with a love of language and an appreciation of its correct use. It is authoritative without being pedantic, and gives due respect to the evolution of our language and our means of expression.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Loved the book so much, I interviewed the author! 5 Nov 2009
By Elizabeth O'Brien - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a teacher who runs a website about learning and teaching grammar through sentence diagramming.

I'm happy to add this book to my reference library. It's easy to look up errors, and I enjoy the historical and cultural information that Mr. Brians adds into the entries.

I actually interviewed him for my website and asked him more about the book. If you're interested, you can check it out here:

[...]

Happy Learning!
:) Elizabeth
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Common Errors in English Usage 5 Mar 2009
By Karen Maury - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
We heard the author of this book, Paul Brians, being interviewed on The Lionel Show on 1260 AM radio. The book lives up to our expectations. It is an excellent text with easy to find phrases that have been used so often that some believe they are legitimate usages of the English language, but they are not. Highly recommended for English majors, teachers, writers, and just plain folks who enjoy this sort of thing.
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