Bad English: A History of Linguistic Aggravation

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Penguin, Jun 3, 2014 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 272 pages
3 Reviews
The author of Reading the OED presents an eye-opening look at language “mistakes” and how they came to be accepted as correct—or not.

English is a glorious mess of a language, cobbled together from a wide variety of sources and syntaxes, and changing over time with popular usage. Many of the words and usages we embrace as standard and correct today were at first considered slang, impolite, or just plain wrong.

Whether you consider yourself a stickler, a nitpicker, or a rule-breaker in the know, Bad English is sure to enlighten, enrage, and perhaps even inspire. Filled with historic and contemporary examples, the book chronicles the long and entertaining history of language mistakes, and features some of our most common words and phrases, including:

Decimate
Hopefully
Enormity
That/which
Enervate/energize
Bemuse/amuse
Literally/figuratively
Ain’t Irregardless
Socialist
OMG
Stupider

Lively, surprising, funny, and delightfully readable, this is a book that will settle arguments among word lovers—and it’s sure to start a few, too.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ChristineEllei - LibraryThing

Mr. Shea takes an in-depth look at the evolution of our English language. Traveling along an easily understood timeline he looks at words and phrases that began as mistakes and misspeaks yet have now ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - MartinBodek - LibraryThing

Inter alia, ain't this book very something fun? Hopefully, it literally, in the figurative sense, enervates the naysayers who belittle what they feel is the stupider side of the impactful drift of ... Read full review

Contents

Praise for Ammon Shea
Notes
Words That Are Not Words
Sins of Grammar
Index
The Continuing Deterioration of the Language
Defending English
Words That Were Once Frowned Upon
Acknowledgments
About the Author
Copyright

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About the author (2014)

Ammon Shea is the author of Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages along with Depraved English, Insulting English, and The Phone Book. A dictionary collector, he has worked as a consulting editor of American dictionaries at Oxford University Press. He has also contributed to the "On Language" column in Sunday's New York Times and has reviewed language books for the New York Times Book Review. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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