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Essential English for Journalists, Editors and Writers (Pimlico) [Paperback]

Harold Evans , Crawford Gillan
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
RRP: 14.99
Price: 10.49 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

4 May 2000 Pimlico (Book 405)

Essential English is an indispensable guide to the use of words as tools of communication. It is written primarily for journalists, yet its lessons are of immense value to all who face the problem of giving information, whether to the general public or within business, professional or social organisations.



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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Pimlico; 2nd Revised edition edition (4 May 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0712664475
  • ISBN-13: 978-0712664479
  • Product Dimensions: 2.4 x 13.2 x 21.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Don't write "remunerate" when you mean "pay". You should "send" not "transmit" and "help" but not "facilitate". Take care with meanings too. If you're "disinterested" you're not bored, you're impartial. "Less" is not interchangeable with "fewer" and a "principle" is different from a "principal".

Harold Evans, editor of The Sunday Times from 1967 to 1981 and then of The Times for a year, first wrote his Newsman's English and News Headlines in the 1970s. In an age of increasingly sloppy English, Evans's books acquired the status of classics with their condemnation of dangling participles and gratuitous adjective and adverbs. Now they've been edited, updated and merged into a single new volume by Crawford Gillan. The emphasis, which hasn't dated at all, is still on the need for plain muscular English which says what it has to say in as few well-chosen words as possible.

The book has at least three uses. First, it could be a text book for trainee journalists, especially given the large number of published verbose examples Evans quotes and then rewrites as demonstration pieces. Second, it has plenty of advice for experienced journalists and editors trying to write better. Third, it is full of useful advice for anyone--beyond the media--who wants to write more coherently.

Essential English certainly raises awareness. You probably won't read it without feeling obliged to double back and delete your redundancies the next time you write something. In the common expression "depreciate in value" the last two words, for instance, can go without loss of meaning. You don't need "gainful" in front of "employment" either and Evans lists dozens of other examples. And be brutal with tired expressions such as "wealth of information" or "pillar of the church", he advises. He also provides an intriguing thesaurus for headline writers in search of pithiness. For "harmonisation," try "accord", "bargain", "compact", "pact", "peace", or "truce", he says. --Susan Elkin


"Demonstrates how to clear whole jungles of vagueness and verbal clutter" (Times Literary Supplement)

"Every journalist in England should read this exceptional book. Harry Evans is a master of our trade and a master of how to use the English language" (Piers Morgan)

"English is the world's most used and abused language. This book in on the side of the angels. It should become an essential textbook for every journalist" (Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail)

"Great editor: great teacher of editors" (Peter Stothard, editor of the Times Literary Supplement)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
When I got my first job as a journalist, the first thing I did was to buy this book (when it was called "Newsman's English" - nice new non-seixt title, I see) and the other four in the group. They're all essential in understanding how newspapers work, if that's what you want to do; this one is key for writing tight prose, which too few people do.
Now I'm a journalist on a national newspaper, I think I can partly thank this book for the help. It's an ideal tool for the job. I reread it every couple of years. It's still true.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A valuable book for all students of journalism 5 Oct 2000
By A Customer
This book is recommended by the Society of Editors as it is an excellent guide to well written english and therefore especially useful in journalism. This edition combines parts from two earlier books written by Harold Evans whose reputation is excellent. The book discussses how to write for newspapers after first explaining exactly how newspapers function.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Please read this 24 Feb 2007
By Mycroft
If you are a journalist, for God's sake read this book and improve your copy tenfold. Don't think you don't need it, everyone can improve.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic exposition of the writer's art 18 Mar 2011
Following in the tradition of the great teachers of good English style like George Orwell, I doubt there is a better book on the journalistic or writer's art, or good style in general than this. A few uncharitable reviews suggest the book is 'only for journalists': nonsense. A few of the chapters are clearly aimed at newspaper writers, but most of the book provides universal examples of good writing and editing techniques and best practice that will improve the quality of any writer's work, even fiction writers (perhaps them most of all, who often have no clue about good style and could do with going back to basics). For instance, there are several long lists of useless or misleading words and phrases that one sees in newspapers everyday, but which can easily be eliminated to improve readability, such as 'the fact that..' can normally be substituted by 'that' or 'regularly' instead of 'on a regular basis' and many other examples. It provides a general guide to the principles of good style, and as someone who writes in other languages besides English, I know these are universal. The book's structure allows you to dip in and out of it whenever you need tips or advice, and so functions as a readable reference work, but it can also be read cover-to-cover, which is worth doing at least once, as it's humorously written with lots of insightful examples. For instance, Evans explains how British journalism has paper rationing during and after the war to thank for becoming the most concise among the Anglo-Saxon countries, forcing writers and editors to ruthlessly cut excess verbiage, the surest way to improve readability and precision of a text as he demonstrates throughout. Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I have to write a large number of reports in my job as an auditor and the difficulty is always balancing sufficent detail to be meaningful with conciseness and clarity. I first read this book when it was called Newsman's English and found it invaluable in helping me to deveop a clearer, concise writing style. I have re-read it in its latest form and find it just as useful as the original and an excellent refresher. In summary, it is an excellent book for all people who have to write as part of their living as it makes you think about whether every word is working for its living. It is not just for Journalists!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Want to be a Journalist? Read This. 5 Sep 2007
Simply put, if you want to be a Journalist, Editor or Broadcaster then this is a book you simply have to read. What it teaches is that (country to popular belief) great writing doesn't require long words and phrases. Less is more is very much Evans mantra, and through this book he will teach how to write the best headlines and intros to grab your readers and keep them engaged.

The back of the book features numerous endorsements which reads like a who's who of the best journalists of the past 30 years.

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