|About the Book|
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 seemMoreOne of the English languageâ��s most skilled and beloved writers guides us all toward precise, mistake-free usage.As usual Bill Bryson says it best: â��English 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 â��cleaveâ�� can mean to cut in half or to hold two halves together- where the simple word â��setâ�� 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 â��colonel,â�� â��freight,â�� â��once,â�� and â��acheâ�� 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 â��a sum of money carefully gauged not to cause embarrassment or feelings of overworth,â�� he proceeded to write that bookâ��his first, inaugurating his stellar career.Now, a decade and a half later, revised, updated, and thoroughly (but not overly) Americanized, it has become Brysonâ��s 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 â��a, anâ�� to â��zoom,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, andâ��because it is written by Bill Brysonâ��often witty book belongs on the desk of every person who cares enough about the language not to maul or misuse or distort it.