Write It Right: A Little Blacklist of Literary Faults (Google eBook)

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Courier Dover Publications, Mar 5, 2012 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 80 pages
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Amusing and thought-provoking, this A-to-Z compendium outlines common oral and written gaffes. Ambrose Bierce, a celebrated literary wit, assembled his informative compilation in 1909 from many years of observations and notes. He advocates precision in language, offering alternatives to grammatical lapses and inaccurate word choices.
  • Moneyed for Wealthy: "The moneyed men of New York." One might as sensibly say, "The cattled men of Texas," or, "The lobstered men of the fish market."
    Name for Title and Name: "His name was Mr. Smith." Surely no babe was ever christened Mister.
    Juncture means a joining, a junction; its use to signify a time, however critical, is absurd. "At this juncture the woman screamed." In reading that account of it, we scream, too.

    Times and usages have changed considerably in the past century. Bierce's strict rules remain, however, a timeless source of interest for wordsmiths and lovers of language.
  

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About the author (2012)

Ambrose Bierce was a brilliant, bitter, and cynical journalist. He is also the author of several collections of ironic epigrams and at least one powerful story, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." Bierce was born in Ohio, where he had an unhappy childhood. He served in the Union army during the Civil War. Following the war, he moved to San Francisco, where he worked as a columnist for the newspaper the Examiner, for which he wrote a number of satirical sketches. Bierce wrote a number of horror stories, some poetry, and countless essays. He is best known, however, for The Cynic's Word Book (1906), retitled The Devil's Dictionary in 1911, a collection of such cynical definitions as "Marriage: the state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress, and two slaves, making in all, two." Bierce's own marriage ended in divorce, and his life ended mysteriously. In 1913, he went to Mexico and vanished, presumably killed in the Mexican revolution.

Paul Dickson has written eight bat and ball books (one on softball, seven on baseball) and is working on the third edition of his Dickson Baseball Dictionary, as well as a new work, The Unwritten Rules of Baseball. He also writes narrative 20th century American history and compiles word books. He lives in Garrett Park, Maryland, with his wife, Nancy.

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