13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
A vein of hope,
This review is from: Strictly English: The correct way to write ... and why it matters (Hardcover)
Simon Heffer has written a book that everyone who speaks and writes English ought to read, if not to improve his facility with the language, to enjoy the wit and charm of the book. This is an instruction book that does not read like one. He first tells us what the rules are, and then explains the purpose of those rules as well as the right and wrong ways of applying them. For example, he wrote: "Punctuation is not merely for the ease of reading, but also for the ease of comprehension and the avoidance of ambiguity. If used correctly, it shows the reader how clauses in a sentence relate to each other; how sentences are delineated; and how an argument or exposition is broken up into paragraphs." (p.31) and that grammar "is a question of logic, and if regarded as such it will, all but the most resolutely illogical minds, become second nature in anyone's use of English. Grammar is designed to keep our language comprehensible and free from ambiguity." (p.45)
He has a chapter on the use of the wrong word (in which he points out the result of dishonesty in the use of the wrong word) and another on the wrong tone. The highlight of the book may be his chapter on "The Essence of Good Style", but I enjoyed the two chapters that that was wittily placed between - "Three Sinners" (state officials, academics, and lawyers and their verbose and obscure style of writing) and "Three Saints (George Orwell, Barbara Pym, and Enoch Powell). Every one of the 309 pages in this book is a joy to read.