Customer Review

140 of 145 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a joy!, 31 Oct. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Mind the Gaffe: The Penguin Guide to Common Errors in English (Penguin Reference Books) (Hardcover)
For all of us language nerds, it is immensely reassuring to find that someone else cares as much as we do, knows a lot more than we do, and is better at presenting his material than we could ever hope to be. This book is alphabetically arranged (is there any other way, for us nerds?) and covers a selection of pitfalls in the English language, both at word and syntax level. Does it tell me things I didn't already know? Certainly, but I'm afraid any dull grammar does that - the winning ingredient in this book is its dry (dare I say acerbic?) humor, which mocks pretentiousness and reveals how muddled language is always a symptom of muddled thinking, no matter how many syllables or buzz-words have been used. Another plus is its willingness to take a stand, and tell the reader which solution is the preferable one. Of course, in an academic language study, the descriptive approach is the only one, but when it comes to usage guides, prescription is definitely called for, even if it smacks of school-marmish pontificating, and the author sits bravely, but securely, in the saddle of his language high horse.
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