Customer Review

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This book is worth your attention., 25 April 2007
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This review is from: Lost for Words: The Mangling and Manipulating of the English Language (Paperback)
I enjoyed this book. Its author knows enough about our language to hold the reader's attention and make his points in a light-hearted, witty way.

Politicians, academics and celebrities' language is designed to achieve different things: from changing an opinion to forcing the case for war; from buying a useless product to offering support for twisted agendas.

They're all at it, the buggers.

The book points out some of the methods, and the culprits identified by the author are treated with gentlemanly restraint. Even Alistair Campbell gets off lightly, which bemused me. John Humphrys makes a crashing error, though.

He wrote that the flabby, convoluted language used by critics of modern art validates the art. No argument from me on that point, and he backed up his argument with examples. But Humphrys still refers to the garbage produced by Tracey Emin as "work". That is unforgivable. Describing her junk as "work" places it alongside long hours in the office or on the building site. Using that word validates her ludicrous offerings. He makes a sharp and lethal point with one sentence, and then destroys his clear thinking with only one word.

Work.

Using that word in that way appears to be an example of subtle - almost sub-concious -cap-doffing to people who have mistaken pretension for genius. It's only work if you would rather be doing something else.

Another small gripe is Humphrys' use of the semi-colon. He hardly bothers. Now that is okay. Semi-colons are a thing of choice. They do tend to loosen the belt of the prose, though. They let the writing breathe a bit.

I enjoyed reading this book. I felt that I had learned some things that were worth learning by reading it.

Much obliged to ya, guv.
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Location: South West England

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