One of the English languageâs most skilled and beloved writers guides us all toward precise, mistake-free usage.As usual Bill Bryson says it best: âEnglish is a dazzlingly idiosyncratic tongue, full of quirks and irregularities that often seem willfully at odds with logic and common sense. This is a language where âcleaveâ can mean to cut in half or to hold two halves together; where the simple word âsetâ has 126 different meanings as a verb, 58 as a noun, and 10 as a participial adjective; where if you can run fast you are moving swiftly, but if you are stuck fast you are not moving at all; [and] where âcolonel,â âfreight,â âonce,â and âacheâ are strikingly at odds with their spellings.â As a copy editor for the London Times in the early 1980s, Bill Bryson felt keenly the lack of an easy-to-consult, authoritative guide to avoiding the traps and snares in English, and so he brashly suggested to a publisher that he should write one. Surprisingly, the proposition was accepted, and for âa sum of money carefully gauged not to cause embarrassment or feelings of overworth,â he proceeded to write that bookâhis first, inaugurating his stellar career.Now, a decade and a half later, revised, updated, and thoroughly (but not overly) Americanized, it has become Brysonâs Dictionary of Troublesome Words, more than ever an essential guide to the wonderfully disordered thing that is the English language. With some one thousand entries, from âa, anâ to âzoom,â that feature real-world examples of questionable usage from an international array of publications, and with a helpful glossary and guide to pronunciation, this precise, prescriptive, andâbecause it is written by Bill Brysonâoften witty book belongs on the desk of every person who cares enough about the language not to maul or misuse or distort it.From the Hardcover edition.
Reference, Dictionaries & Thesauruses, Synonyms & Antonyms,