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The Dictionary of Disagreeable English: A Curmudgeon's Compendium of Excruciatingly Correct Grammar

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An accessible and humorous guide to tricky grammar and usage problems provides a wealth of useful tips and sidebars that identify common grammar pitfalls and need-to-know information, in a resource that is presented in a witty and grouchy tone designed to engage both novices and word mavens. Origina


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An accessible and humorous guide to tricky grammar and usage problems provides a wealth of useful tips and sidebars that identify common grammar pitfalls and need-to-know information, in a resource that is presented in a witty and grouchy tone designed to engage both novices and word mavens. Origina

30 review for The Dictionary of Disagreeable English: A Curmudgeon's Compendium of Excruciatingly Correct Grammar

  1. 5 out of 5

    Charity

    We enjoyed reading this dictionary together. (Yes, we read dictionaries!) Shaking our heads over the loss of correct grammar usage, we discovered that even we, of the dictionary-reading types, were guilty of a few of the literary misdemeanors he cites. Obviously, it is time to keep a closer eye on our language usage.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sandy Young

    I love this book! I have never heard of some of the disagreeable words and expressions that he discusses, but the ones that are most onerous to me are there with explanations and examples: accept/except, bring/take, anxious/eager, amount/number, alright/all right, every day/everyday, etc. I also learned a new word, one that Fiske uses in almost every discussion: solecistic. Just in case you don't know the definition, here 'tis: a nonstandard usage or grammatical construction. I highly recommend I love this book! I have never heard of some of the disagreeable words and expressions that he discusses, but the ones that are most onerous to me are there with explanations and examples: accept/except, bring/take, anxious/eager, amount/number, alright/all right, every day/everyday, etc. I also learned a new word, one that Fiske uses in almost every discussion: solecistic. Just in case you don't know the definition, here 'tis: a nonstandard usage or grammatical construction. I highly recommend this book if you are an old retired English teacher!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bob Nichols

    The book claims up front that this collection of various misuses of the English language is not some "highbrow conspiracy" but is about "discriminating taste, good breeding, and refined sensibility." The book's commentary then puts down various misuses as "idiotic" and such, and states, for example, that those who confuse good and well are "soulless speakers and hopeless writers" and that the word, "issue," is "psychobabble." This book would benefit greatly by pointing out distinctions and preva The book claims up front that this collection of various misuses of the English language is not some "highbrow conspiracy" but is about "discriminating taste, good breeding, and refined sensibility." The book's commentary then puts down various misuses as "idiotic" and such, and states, for example, that those who confuse good and well are "soulless speakers and hopeless writers" and that the word, "issue," is "psychobabble." This book would benefit greatly by pointing out distinctions and prevailing uses without this commentary. Given the book's focus on strict word usage, I don't know why "grammar" is in the title. The writer seems locked in time. To toss off "dis" as "a prefix aspiring to be a word," while colorful, means nothing really as, among its users, the meaning is most likely understood. "Awesome" has clearly evolved, or devolved, to mean something that someone likes so, in spite of one's preference, it becomes definition number four or five in the dictionary. "Key" presents an image that the author's preferred words ("chief, main, prime") do not capture. People use "verbal contract" when they really mean, the author says, "oral contract." Good luck with that one. In a book like this, there's bound to be differences in perspective. The author says use of "quantum" to display "large leaps" is misuse because there are "tiny jumps," but he doesn't account for scale and the vast distances that separate interactions of quantum phenomena. At any rate, despite the literalness, we all pretty (though not literally "pretty") much know what is meant by "quantum leap" and the point is, after all, clear communication. Regarding "proactive," the author asks, "as opposed to anti-active?" Yes, exactly. The 50 best words in the appendix come off as rank words where the point is not to communicate well, but to impress. I prefer a walk or stroll to perambulate and a bald-headed man to a pilgarlic (although, I suppose, peeled garlic is rich in imagery). Here and there the author has a few saving graces. He clarifies that there is a distinction between "in behalf of" (in the interest of) and "on behalf of" (agent of) after all. But, overall, he seems to view correct English usage as a weapon, a stick to swat offenders, and it's not clear why he sees his view of misuse as so disagreeable.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Karlien

    Loved it. Book club 22 Oct 2016

  5. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    Yes, I read dictionaries for fun!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Pieck

    This book is definitely written in a grumpy style, but it's worth every grouchy gripe. While you're learning when to use e.g. versus i.e., or how to know whether to use "which" or "that" or "who," you'll also stumble on plenty of example sentences that will make you say, "Wow, I'm glad I don't write like that!" You'll find just as many that will make you cringe as you recognize the errors you've been making for years. It's not all gloom and doom, though. Learn fancy words for intestinal gas, fear This book is definitely written in a grumpy style, but it's worth every grouchy gripe. While you're learning when to use e.g. versus i.e., or how to know whether to use "which" or "that" or "who," you'll also stumble on plenty of example sentences that will make you say, "Wow, I'm glad I don't write like that!" You'll find just as many that will make you cringe as you recognize the errors you've been making for years. It's not all gloom and doom, though. Learn fancy words for intestinal gas, fear of the color purple, and much more. This book will be a permanent companion near my desk from now on.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Donald

    I haven't read this one cover to cover, though I started to. The author makes some good points regarding word usage. The dictionary is certainly a worthy addition to any bookshelf for the sake of reference. It is a book of word usage in extreme. If Mr. Fiske were to send a copy to every writer whose writing had been mentioned in a negative light, the first printing would likely have had to have been doubled. My bookmark, at this writing, is in the C's. Language has always been in a state of consta I haven't read this one cover to cover, though I started to. The author makes some good points regarding word usage. The dictionary is certainly a worthy addition to any bookshelf for the sake of reference. It is a book of word usage in extreme. If Mr. Fiske were to send a copy to every writer whose writing had been mentioned in a negative light, the first printing would likely have had to have been doubled. My bookmark, at this writing, is in the C's. Language has always been in a state of constant evolution. I get a sense that if Robert had his way, that would all end. His delivery comes across as condescending and pompous.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I didn't technically finish this book since it's not your standard reading book. However, I have moved to my desk at work. This way I can be totally sure when clients are being dumb and not fix incorrect language, etc. I didn't technically finish this book since it's not your standard reading book. However, I have moved to my desk at work. This way I can be totally sure when clients are being dumb and not fix incorrect language, etc.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    This book is pretty entertaining and enlightening, but may give some of us a complex when wondering if we are using our own language correctly or making a major fop aux with every word we utter.

  10. 4 out of 5

    CJ

    Though it calls itself a "Compendium of Grammar", it is a wonderfully sarcastic collection of commonly confused words throughout the English lexicon. Though it calls itself a "Compendium of Grammar", it is a wonderfully sarcastic collection of commonly confused words throughout the English lexicon.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nick Black

    this book was stupid, and i wish i'd never purchased it. this book was stupid, and i wish i'd never purchased it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Abigail

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bill Launder

  14. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

  15. 4 out of 5

    Zella Kate

  16. 4 out of 5

    Genine Franklin-Clark

  17. 5 out of 5

    Josh

  18. 5 out of 5

    Eric

  19. 4 out of 5

    Дарья

  20. 5 out of 5

    Al

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

  22. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    Good reference book for the correct use of words.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kristin Marie

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mrdowdle

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ljaytampa

  27. 5 out of 5

    Paula Plantier

  28. 4 out of 5

    John

  29. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

  30. 5 out of 5

    Janeen

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