Word Court: Wherein Verbal Virtue is Rewarded, Crimes Against the Language are Punished, and Poetic Justice is Done

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Harcourt, Jan 1, 2000 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 368 pages
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In 1993, the Atlantic Monthly's senior editor Barbara Wallraff began answering grammar questions on America Online. Instantaneously the site became one of AOL's most popular forums, as questions, and responses to Wallraff's responses, came flooding in. This vibrant exchange became the bimonthly "Word Court" in the Atlantic Monthly, and the "Miss Manners of Grammar" was born. In Word Court, Wallraff moves beyond her column to tackle common and uncommon items, establishing rules for such issues as turns of phrase, slang, name usage, punctuation, and newly coined vocabulary. With true wit, she deliberates and decides on the right path for lovers of language, ranging from classic questions-is "a historical" or "an historical" correct?-to awkward issues-How long does someone have to be dead before we should all stop calling her "the late"? Should you use "like" or "as"-and when? The result is a warmly humorous, reassuring, and brilliantly perceptive tour of how and why we speak the way we do.

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Word court: wherein verbal virtue is rewarded, crimes against the language are punished, and poetic justice is done

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Here are two new books by well-known columnists/language mavens. Safire is funny, thought-provoking, and, after 20 years of writing columns for the New York Times Magazine, an American institution ... Read full review


Introduction by Francine Prose
Diagramming Sentences
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About the author (2000)

Barbara Wallraff (right) is a senior editor at the Atlantic Monthly, where she has worked since 1983. She lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

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