Far From the Madding Gerund: and other dispatches from the Language Log.
William James. 2006
This is a collection of selected posts from The Language Log, a lively blog about grammar and more. Each entry is a short, pithy commentary on some aspect of grammar that has annoyed the authors.
For example, Geoff Pullum clearly has issues with Strunk and White:
pp.39-40. Strunk and White’s toxic little book of crap
p68. If you want to see what the very worst of the usage and style recommenders say, it is always a good idea to turn to Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style first.
p322. Strunk and White’s poisonous little collection of bad grammatical advice, The Elements of Style
p279. it’s not just the existence of ignorant authoritarian prescriptivism in this culture that needs an explanation, it’s also the level of anger that accompanies its expression.
Many of the entries here are quite technical, using grammatical terms that I wasn’t previously aware of. But it’s all written in a witty, trenchant style. It ends up with some entries on Dan Brown’s writing style, which I had come across before when reviewing the film of The Da Vinci Code, and was the main reason I bought this book (and didn’t buy the Dan Brown book!).
For all my book reviews, see my main website.