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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for grammar Nazis
Bought it for our daughter who is a stickler for accurate written grammar, proper like! Also apostrophy's - I like annoying her by putting them in the most unlikely places'...
Anyway, the book is an intersting reference or just for interest. Really wanted it for myself.
Published on 28 Dec 2009 by Mr. Shane D. Dowling

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41 of 49 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Why Bother?
According to the copyright page, "earlier editions" of this book were published in England as "The Penguin Dictionary for Writers and Editors" more than 15 years ago. According to Bryson's preface, it's intended as a "quick, concise guide to the problems of English spelling and usage most commonly encountered by writers and editors" and "is a personal collection, built up...
Published on 20 May 2008 by A. Ross


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41 of 49 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Why Bother?, 20 May 2008
By 
A. Ross (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bryson's Dictionary: for Writers and Editors (Hardcover)
According to the copyright page, "earlier editions" of this book were published in England as "The Penguin Dictionary for Writers and Editors" more than 15 years ago. According to Bryson's preface, it's intended as a "quick, concise guide to the problems of English spelling and usage most commonly encountered by writers and editors" and "is a personal collection, built up over thirty years..." That's all well and good, but since its original publication, a little thing called the internet has come along and rendered a good deal of the contents rather superfluous. For example, it's hard to imagine that anyone seeking the correct spelling of "suggestible" or "sulfur" would turn to page 322 of this book to learn the proper sequence of letters. For one thing, it would be vastly inefficient to turn to Bryson's "personal collection" every time a spelling question arose on the off chance his spelling problems matched yours. More to the point, there are any number of reliable online dictionaries one could use instead. Similarly, the book is full of names and one-line bios of famous and semi-famous people (ranging on page 323 from Nobel prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi to Patrick Swayze). Again, why hope that Bryson has an entry on a particular person as opposed to a quick check online at any number of reliable sources? And so on, from various foreign-language terms to geographic locations, abbreviations, etc. The only area where Bryson "adds value" is those entries which evoke a more lengthy discussion of usage, however he's already written a book on usage (Bryson's Dictionary of Troublesome Words), so one might as well rely on that (or any number of other excellent usage guides). On the whole, this book doesn't appear to hold much utility for the average writer or editor (both of which I have been), whose bookshelves and internet bookmarks will likely already contain the tools to address any of the entries in this book. Rather, it appears to be an ill-advised attempt by the publisher to cash in on the Bryson brand.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars To call this a curate's egg..., 5 Dec 2008
By 
Vinman666 (Essex, U.K.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bryson's Dictionary: for Writers and Editors (Hardcover)
...is being generous. I'm an aspiring writer and bought this from a book club, believing the publisher blurb that it is an "Indispensable companion to all those who write...".

On first opening the book at random I was presented with the fact that John Le Mesurier is a British actor who died in 1983. Wow. Apart from the spelling of his name and the fact that he's dead, I know nothing else about him (and I knew he was dead). That sums up this book: as another reviewer has mentioned, there is nothing here that you couldn't Google for. Agreed, the internet is full of inaccuracy, urban legend and unsubstantiated opinion but it's still better than checking this book as anything other than a last resort. Some entries have no description, just the word (presumably so you can discover Google is better, alas after wasting your money). If it were a pocket guide it might occasionally be worth carrying around should you prefer to write in a remote location, but this is hardback and 450 odd pages of typically large typeface.

This book is something of everything but, ultimately, nothing. Unless you think not knowing how to pronounce Billericay is going to get you killed.

It's bill-a-rik'-ee apparently. Phew! Thanks Bill.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for grammar Nazis, 28 Dec 2009
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Mr. Shane D. Dowling "problempage" (Fordingbridge, UK) - See all my reviews
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Bought it for our daughter who is a stickler for accurate written grammar, proper like! Also apostrophy's - I like annoying her by putting them in the most unlikely places'...
Anyway, the book is an intersting reference or just for interest. Really wanted it for myself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Pleasure, 14 Oct 2009
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D. C. Greenacre "antonio" (Deal, Kent. UK.) - See all my reviews
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This is one of those books that is really useful if you're a student of correct grammar and punctuation as I am and a pedant when it comes to using the right word in the right context. A great read and an interesting way of honing your english skills.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good present for friend, 17 Jan 2014
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Book was well received, thanks!It was given to a friend who is a budding author.You can always rely on Bill Bryson.
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5.0 out of 5 stars BRYSONS DICTIONARY, 14 Jan 2014
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Richard. J. Bishopp (Portsmouth Hampshire UK) - See all my reviews
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A super book that fills many of the gaps left by others. Essential reading for wordsmiths, crossword enthusiasts and those with enquiring minds. This is a book that you can pick up and peruse many, many times and still question how you missed 'that bit' before.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 20 April 2013
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This review is from: Bryson's Dictionary: for Writers and Editors (Hardcover)
Not only a very useful book to consult, but also excellent bed-time reading too. It is an absolute joy to read.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars OK for a dip in - or is it dip-in?, 5 Nov 2011
I'm glad I didn't pay for this book: it was given to my by someone disappointed by the lack of jokes. At the risk of seeming shallow this book could have done with a few (and there's plenty scope) to leaven it a bit for the dip-in reader; as other reviewers have pointed out it's hardly the place you would go for solid reference. The choice of entries is subjective and personal in the extreme: there's a guide pronouncing Quoyburray - a hamlet on Orkney - but you're on your own with much larger places with irregular pronunciation. And talking of Scotland Mr Bryson doesn't seem to be aware that Scottish Regions were abolished 12 years before publication date.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Loss of trust, 16 April 2009
By 
J. Svoboda (South Africa) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bryson's Dictionary: for Writers and Editors (Hardcover)
I was able to put my hands on this book (2008 edition) only after I had hoarded about six of Bryson's books and also had developed liking for his curious observational gift. However, after perusing this publication, I lost most of my trust in his jumbo interpretative self-confidence. A lot of criticism has been presented in previous reviews. I would only like to express my dismay at Bryson's chaotic perception of priorities. For instance, apparent Bryson's interest in tennis is illustrated by inclusion of a plethora of fly-by-night Russian tennis players, and by a failure to include such a superstar (spelling-wise and achievement-wise) like Navratilova. In addition, misinformation, particularly concerning nationalities of various entrants, is too plentiful to mention.
What, however, rocked my confidence completely was Bryson's claim that Pilsener is "a German beer". A person who does not know that Pilsener, the king of lagers, is a beer brewed in Pilsen, a city in Bohemia, today Czech Republic, is not entitled to write books like "A theory of anything". It's like saying that champagne is a sparkling wine made in Spain. It's really disappointing, Mr. Bryson.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Literacy God publishes yet another Literary Bible, 19 July 2009
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Personally Bill Bryson is one of the great writers of our day, and despite his American background, he continues to write with wit and humour in many fields of interest that we Brits can relate to. Any book by Bill Bryson is an asset in any readers library, especially the more serious reader and writer.
But this book is essentially a tool, a resource and a very useful one too, that can be dipped into at any time, where you find a treasure-trove of meanings and clarifications to key words and names that find their way into English Language. His grasp of American culture and language helps enormously where there may be a variance in spelling or interpretation. But I was surprised to see a few omissions that I would have expected to find, like the word Pants, which is quite different in US and British English! Nonetheless in his Preface he does state that this is very much a personal collection of words-and he will be so aware of the difference that he obviously did not include it!
As tools go it is valuable, but only if it complements other tools in your toolkit.That toolkit would presumably include a variety of other dictionaries and reference materials, some of which will also be by Bill Bryson! This is a writers tool mainly, but not just professional book and article writers. It would help many in most businesses where writing is a key part of the communication and presentation activities. And even if you do not write that much it is actually interesting to note some of the words and meanings. I now know that a Russian peasant is actually called a kulak for instance!

I can only say good things about this book and anything Bill Bryson produces though! His biggest sin is that you are left with craving for more of his work, his insight and his humour.
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Bryson's Dictionary: for Writers and Editors
Bryson's Dictionary: for Writers and Editors by Bill Bryson (Hardcover - 10 Mar 2008)
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