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Crazy English: The Ultimate Joy Ride Through Our Language [Hardcover]

Richard Lederer
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Aug 1989
In what other language, asks Lederer, do people drive on a parkway and park in a driveway, and your nose can run and your feet can smell? In CRAZY ENGLISH, Lederer frolics through the logic-boggling byways of our language, discovering the names for phobias you didn't know you could have, the longest words in our dictionaries, and the shortest sentence containing every letter in the alphabet. You'll take a bird's-eye view of our beastly language, feast on a banquet of mushrooming food metaphors, and meet the self-reflecting Doctor Rotcod, destined to speak only in palindromes.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 189 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books (Aug 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671689061
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671689063
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 13.5 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,209,368 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
English is the most widely spoken language in the history of our planet, used in some way by at least one out of every seven human beings around the globe. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yes! English is crazy 6 Feb 2010
Format:Paperback
I chose this book because of quotations from it in another book I read,in which it appeared highly amusing in a knowledgable way. It did not disappoint me! I enjoyed it hugely,and having read it myself, am now lending it to friends who love language and are not necessarily mother-tongue English speakers.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  23 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly interesting and amusing commentary about our language 8 July 2000
By J. Lizzi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Ever pick up a book to look up a fact or check your knowledge on something, and wind up losing track of time? I do that with this book far too often . . . and I never regret it. You can use "Crazy English" as a reference if you like, but what author Richard Lederer does best is make you chuckle at all the oddities of the English language.
This book is literally (ha!) packed with word origins, semantics, "confused" phrases, funny figures of speech, and even categories of words I didn't even know had a name (the "nyms"). The chapter about the doctor who speaks only in palindromes is a classic. Lederer's wit plays right into the theme of the book, and I would bet he had as much fun writing it as I have reading it. No need to start at the beginning; just open to any page and bounce around. It's all great fun, and easy reading.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Crazy and Beautiful ! 1 April 2006
By Amazon junkie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
An interesting passage from the book -

Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat.

We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend. If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it? If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?

If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all.

That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

PS. - Why doesn't "Buick" rhyme with "quick"
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Crazy English 10 Mar 2003
By Jon Huska - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Recently I read the book Crazy English by Richard Lederer for a school project. I thought it was a very interesting book and it really did explain why our English language is so crazy. My favorite part of the book was the Tense Times with Verbs secetion. There were very good poems written in this chapter to help explain and give examples of how our language doesn't make sense sometimes. Another good portion of the book is The Sounds of English, it talks about the many different letters that have different sounds and the words that have mute letters, or silent letters. It has a very indepth perspective of many different sounds and why they are spelled and said the way they are. Overall, I thought this was a very educational book and interesting to read.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you're interested in language, this is a great book. 10 July 2001
By C. Pellitteri - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
It's not a text book style book on the dusty history of the English language. Mr. Lederer writes an easy to read (pardon the expression) light hearted look at some of the eccentricities of the English language. Overall, a very enteratining read.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!!! 26 Sep 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I teach English in Japan and not only is this book interesting but it gave me good ideas for teaching. I laughed out loud several times. English is indeed crazy!
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