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on 31 July 2014
This is a brilliant book and I refer to it almost every day.

The Kindle version is not as usable as the paperback because it is not indexed in a useful way although it is handy to be able to have it on an electronic device so that you can refer to it anywhere.
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on 16 December 2014
I did not realise it was like a dictionary. Still enjoying it.
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on 9 August 2008
I bought this book because of its witty punning title and Penguin's reputation for publishing excellent titles like the "Penguin Writer's Manual". But while the title may be witty, the content is not. "Mind the Gaffe" is an A-Z of words and phrases that the author wants to sound off about or thinks that you, dear reader, might get wrong. It starts with 'a, an', 'abattoir', 'abbreviations', and lumbers its pedantic way along to 'yours', 'yo-yo', '-yse, -yze', missing out 'yawn' along the way. Much of the book is taken up with dull entries like: "Accommodation: The word is so spelled with two Cs and two Ms. Do not write acommodation or accomodation."

The writing is turgid and opinionated. All the more surprising as this is supposed to be a book about writing. For one example from many, try this 56-word sentence from the entry on 'situated knowledges': "Anybody who believes that knowing that the moon is a huge rocky body orbiting the earth is just as 'situated', and hence just as valid, as 'knowing' that the moon is a glowing pumpkin hovering just above the treetops has a serious problem with reality, and should probably not operate machinery until this condition wears off." No, it's not funny, and it's not clever.

While it is not a good read, it is not a good reference book either. 'Inveterate' is a popular word for getting wrong, but is one of many omissions from the book. Many of the entries are vague and generalised, like the one for 'foreign names' that encourages the user to "consult a good reference book" (not this one, then).

For a witty book about the English language, buy Lynne Truss's "Eats, Shoots and Leaves". If in need of a good dictionary, the Collins English Dictionary is excellent. For checking spelling, any word processor will do.
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on 24 February 2015
Quite fine.
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on 25 August 2007
I'm glad i only borrowed this book from a local library and did not buy it. Whilst some readers may find it very useful, I found it too 'heavy' a read. It takes quite a serious tone, and as I am not a professional author etc, i didn't find it a hugely beneficial read. I would recommend something like Who's Whose, as I certainly found Who's Whose a much more light-hearted read, with more interesting information. This book however i recommend to only serious writers and people writing for worldwide audiences.
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