Why is Q Always Followed by U?: Word-Perfect Answers to the Most-Asked Questions About Language Hardcover – 2 Jul 2009
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'He tracks down a phrase and pins it down with a wit as sharp as a tack' Metro 'Like being drawn into a great detective story, full of red herrings and bogus alibis' Mail on Sunday 'A marvellous and original book, erudition without tears' Spectator
About the Author
Michael Quinion, author of the bestselling Port Out, Starboard Home, has always been fascinated by language. His lexophilia really began in earnest in 1991, when, realising so many new words were missing from the Oxford English Dictionary, he started sending examples of them to the editors. He eventually became an official freelance reader and in the past sixteen years, he has sent in over 160,000 citations. Not satisfied with merely helping the OED, Michael Quinion set up his own language website in 1997, worldwidewords.org. The site has become a huge success as people all over the world ask Michael to tease out the truth behind the quirks of our language.
Top customer reviews
Downside: a number of queries about meanings or origins had a response that devolved to the equivalent of, "Don't know."
Re: Amazon.uk. Ordering, shipping and receipt were easy and quick. It also seems Amazon maintains a global sign-on that helps.
This book is a collection of some of the queries that have been sent in to him for that newsletter. For most of us it isn't something to sit and read through start-to-finish, rather something to dip into for a few minutes at a time - but those minutes will be well spent. You'll learn a lot, and enjoy yourself at the same time.
The difference to many other books on the subject is that you know the entries are properly researched.
Seek out Michael Quinion's other books, and visit his website <www.worldwidewords.org> where you can find a search function if there are any etymologies you'd like to check.
I'd also recommend subscribing to his weekly newsletter, which you can do via the website.
The 2-star review here 'Non-answers to questions' completely misses the point. My reply to that review was:
I don't buy linguistic works to plough through..." ... bunkum, hearsay and under-researched 'facts & trivia' that appear to be copied from e-mail chains. I want to read books on word and phrase history that provide investigations and give full explanations.
It doesn't matter if we are yet to find the true etymology of a word or phrase; I'm more than pleased to see claptrap from other books disproved.
To be fair I've mildly enjoyed dipping into it - but I'm glad it was given to me by a friend rather than my forking out good money for it.
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