'Manglish' ~ the act of mangling the English language ~ is sadly alive and thriving in the world. And many writers aren't helping just adding to the growing trend of misspellings, tautologies and clichés as well as hackneyed metaphors, inane expressions and bloated or weak writing.
Fortunately, help is at hand. Robert Hartwell Fiscke has produced two powerful, literary weapons for protectors of the language ~ The Dimwit's Dictionary: 5000 Overused Words and Phrases and Alternatives to Them and The Dictionary of Concise Writing: 10,000 Alternatives to Wordy Phrases.
The key to good writing, according to Fiske who is also the author and publisher of The Vocabula Review (an online journal about the English language), is concise and precise writing ~ and that's just what he offers with these two excellent reference books.
At first glance, you may be offended by the Dimwit's title ~ what person would buy a book which suggests he or she is a dimwit? Well, after leafing through it, you'll know why you bought it and maybe even refer to some of your past efforts as dimwit. I know I did.
The 400-page book is divided into two parts. The first examines a wide range of examples of lazy and weak writing, showing scribes how to improve useage through better word choices and creativity with the language.
Part two is the dictionary portion of the volume. It offers literally an A to Z guide of thousands of overused words and phrases, and provides fresh alternatives.
As Fiske explains from the outset: "Dimwitticisms are worn-out words and phrases; they are expressions that dull our reason and dim our insight, formulas that we rely on when we are too lazy to express what we think or even to discover how we feel. The more we use them, the more we conform ~ in thought and feeling ~ to everyone else who uses them."
The book arranges dimwitticisms into a variety of categories which include:
* Foreign phrases
* Grammatical gimmicks
* Ineffectual phrases
* Inescapable pairs
* Infantile phrases
* Moribund metaphors
* Overworked words
* Plebeian sentiments
* Popular prescriptions
* Quack equations
* Suspect superlatives
* Torpid terms
* Withered words
* Wretched redundancies
Often entertaining and always enlightening, The Dimwit's Dictionary demystifies English usage, providing a simple-to-use guide on what words and phrases to avoid and how to adopt an exciting, original and succinct approach to your writing.
But don't be fooled by the title ~ this book is not only an excellent reference guide, it's also interesting enough to read cover to cover. Once you begin reading entries, you'll find it difficult to put down - seriously.
-- Michael Meanwell, author of the critically-acclaimed 'The Enterprising Writer' and 'Writers on Writing'. For more book reviews and prescriptive articles for writers, visit www.enterprisingwriter.com