Write It Right: A Little Blacklist of Literary Faults
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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abbreviating absurd action adjective adverb adverbial form afﬁrm alleged Ambrose Bierce American Approve assassin Bar sinister battle better Bierce’s BLACKLIST OF LITERARY cholera coat Colloquial common commonly custom Defalcation definite denied a standing dépôt Devil’s dictionaries direct attention disagreeable dollars English entail executive Feminine ﬁrst Genteel Goatee grammar Identiﬁed ignorant are alike implies incorrect indeﬁnite inﬁnitive intransitive kind language Latin less lexicographers literally LITTLE BLACKLIST lives loose locutions man-of-war man’s married matter means mend mense mind misuse Narrow etymons née needless noun obvi offensive Omit the preposition one’s Paul Dickson person plural point blank presided properly proposition reasonless respect riﬂe scholar and loose seems seldom sensation sense sentence singular sion slang solecism speciﬁc speech spelling Stilted Supererogation supply synonymous taste thing tion tive transaction transitive verb transpired in 1906 triﬂing usage Vulgar exceedingly weather Whiskers word-of-all-work word’s Write It Right