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55 Reviews
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91 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still masterful and masterly
Do you put 'spoonsful' or 'spoonfuls' of sugar into tea? Do you know the difference between defining and non-defining clauses and between 'androgynous' and 'androgenous'? Can you tell irony from sarcasm and 'prophecy' from 'prophesy'? If you can, then you don't need this book. But you'd probably want to read it anyway. To all intents and purposes, Troublesome Words is the...
Published on 1 Jun 2010 by Jon Chambers

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Basically, a glorified dictionary. Not a "read". More of a reference book. Great diappointment after "Mother Tongue", which is brilliant - informative and very entertaining.
Published 18 months ago by The Linguaphile


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4.0 out of 5 stars National Treasure, 19 Feb 2011
This review is from: Troublesome Words (Hardcover)
American Bill Bryson should be elevated to the status of UK national treasure!

Bill's use of the English language is sublime and is a constant feature of his travel writing where his acute observations of his own and other people's idiosyncratic behaviour truly bring the pages to life. This book is subtly different in that instead of an examination of a country or culture Bill turns his eye to the complexities and beauty of the English language.

A great read for such an apparently dry subject.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Should be on everyone's bookshelf, 16 Dec 2007
Mr Bryson turns his experience as a sub-editor to the art of 'getting it right' in written English. Great for settling those arguments about correct usuage and for those niggly aspects of grammar you just can't quite remember from your schooldays.
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thorough Read, 15 Jun 2004
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J. Colville "Jamie" (Leicestershire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Troublesome Words (Paperback)
Bill certainly summarises well and makes a difficult subject interesting. Unlike a fellow reviewer I would like to compliment Bill rather than complement him!!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Troublesome Words, 11 Feb 2009
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Olive Green (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Troublesome Words (Paperback)
This would make an interesting, informative and entertaining addition to anybody's book collection. It is not a book you would read from cover to cover but more a book you would use for reference.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a good read well read, 6 April 2010
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Mr "jackster" (Norway) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Troublesome Words (Paperback)
this book is a good read for those of you who are interested in understanding a little more about the correct useage of everyday words. makes clear what was once uncertain perhaps.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 24 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Troublesome Words (Paperback)
Basically, a glorified dictionary. Not a "read". More of a reference book. Great diappointment after "Mother Tongue", which is brilliant - informative and very entertaining.
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24 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not your usual Bryson book, 7 Jun 2004
This is definitely a book to dip into at infrequent intervals rather than read from cover to cover. It is laid out like a dictionary which is perhaps what makes it rather "bitty". "Mother Tongue" is a much better read for those who want an insight into the English language.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 4 Dec 2014
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Sharnea Grant - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Troublesome Words (Paperback)
great read and amazing prompt service.
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11 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Obsolete, 14 Aug 2008
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reader 451 - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Troublesome Words (Paperback)
Bryson's Dictionary of Troublesome Words may have been useful twenty-five years ago, when it was first published, but it has become redundant. Most entries clarify word spellings and meanings, which a normal dictionary does just as well (with the advantage that it lists all words, not an arbitrary selection). A Google or Yahoo search will instantly clarify the rest, such as corporate names. Grammatical or stylistic advice is rarely given, and adds little to Strunk & White's better-organised and clearer The Elements of Style. And because of the dictionary format, that advice is buried in distant entries and hard to find. Nor does Bryson's manual lend itself to reading `like a novel', even if he wrote it with his customary humour. This is most likely to sit on your shelf.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 11 Oct 2014
This review is from: Troublesome Words (Paperback)
great writer
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Troublesome Words
Troublesome Words by Bill Bryson (Paperback - 1 Oct 2009)
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