New Stuff Tuesday – September 9, 2014


Bad English:
A History of Linguistic Aggravation
by Ammon Shea
Read by Mike Chamberlain
PE1460 .S5173 2014
New Arrivals, Audio, 2nd floor

Do you dangle your prepositions? Do you split your infinitives? Are you one of those who manages to artfully write – beg pardon – to write artfully, without such grammatical breaches and find yourself rankled when others do not? Ammon Shea, author of Reading the OED, turns the tables and takes a humorous approach to chiding those who enjoy imposing their linguistic pet peeves on others.

Shea draws on dictionaries, grammar and usage manuals, and literary classics written over the course of centuries, challenging the grammar police to consider the arbitrariness of many grammar rules. For those who don’t feel well about their grasp of the rules, he reassures them by providing examples of erstwhile grammar dictums that, when followed today, are considered incorrect or sound stilted at best. He points to the history of usage and structures that went unquestioned until the author of a nineteenth-century manual, for example, simply proclaimed them to be “vulgar,” yet, despite this, have managed to survive as grammar gospel. Humor and grammar make an entertaining pair in this audiobook.

About Ellen Latorraca

Reference & Instruction Librarian Liaison for the College of Education & Professional Studies
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