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Original Essays | April 11, 2014

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I was sitting in a British and Irish romantic drama class my last semester in college when the idea for Shit Rough Drafts hit me. I was working... Continue »
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When You Catch an Adjective, Kill It: The Parts of Speech, for Better And/Or Worse

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When You Catch an Adjective, Kill It: The Parts of Speech, for Better And/Or Worse Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

< p> What do you get when you mix nine parts of speech, one great writer, and generous dashes of insight, humor, and irreverence? One phenomenally entertaining language book< i> .< /i> < /p> < p> In his waggish yet authoritative book, Ben Yagoda has managed to undo the dark work of legions of English teachers and libraries of dusty grammar texts. Not since < i> School House Rock< /i> have adjectives, adverbs, articles, conjunctions, interjections, nouns, prepositions, pronouns, and verbs been explored with such infectious exuberance. Read < i> If You Catch an Adjective, Kill It < /i> and: < i> < br> < /i> < br> Learn how to write better with classic advice from writers such as Mark Twain (& #8220; If you catch an adjective, kill it& #8221; ), Stephen King (& #8220; I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs& #8221; ), and Gertrude Stein (& #8220; Nouns . . . are completely not interesting& #8221; ). < br> < br> Marvel at how a single word can shift from adverb (& #8220; I did okay& #8221; ), to adjective (& #8220; It was an okay movie& #8221; ), to interjection (& #8220; Okay & #8221; ), to noun (& #8220; I gave my okay& #8221; ), to verb (& #8220; Who okayed this?& #8221; ), depending on its use. < br> < br> Avoid the pretentious preposition < i> at< /i> , a favorite of real estate developers (e.g., & #8220; The Shoppes at White Plains& #8221; ). < br> < br> Laugh when Yagoda says he & #8220; shall call anyone a dork to the end of his days& #8221; who insists on maintaining the distinction between < i> shall< /i> and < i> will< /i> .< br> < br> Read, and discover a book whose pop culture references, humorous asides, and bracing doses of discernment and common sense< i> < /i> convey Yagoda& #8217; s unique sense of the & #8220; beauty, the joy, the artistry, and the fun of language.& #8221; < /p>

Review:

"Yagoda (The Sound on the Page) isn't trying to reinvent the style guide, just offering his personal tour of some of the English language's idiosyncrasies. Using the parts of speech as signposts, he charts an amiable path between those critics for whom any alterations to established grammar are hateful and those who believe whatever people use in speech is by default acceptable. Where many writing instructors rail against the use of adverbs, for example, he points out that they can be quite useful for conveying subtle relationships ordinary verbs can't describe. Some of this territory is familiar — Yagoda even boils down the debate over 'hopefully' to outline form — but every chapter has gems tucked inside, like the section in pronouns on the 'third-person athletic,' the voice celebrity ballplayers use to refer to themselves in interviews. And he's definitely in love with his one-liners, such as the quip that the only acceptable use of 'really' is 'in imitations of Katharine Hepburn, Ed Sullivan and Elmer Fudd.' Readers won't toss their copies of Strunk & White off the shelf, but Yagoda's witty grammar will rest comfortably next to the masters." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

Not since "School House Rock" have adjectives, adverbs, articles, conjunctions, interjections, nouns, prepositions, pronouns, and verbs been explored with such infectious exuberance.

Synopsis:

What do you get when you mix nine parts of speech, one great writer, and generous dashes of insight, humor, and irreverence? One phenomenally entertaining language book.

In his waggish yet authoritative book, Ben Yagoda has managed to undo the dark work of legions of English teachers and libraries of dusty grammar texts. Not since School House Rock have adjectives, adverbs, articles, conjunctions, interjections, nouns, prepositions, pronouns, and verbs been explored with such infectious exuberance. Read If You Catch an Adjective, Kill It and:

Learn how to write better with classic advice from writers such as Mark Twain (“If you catch an adjective, kill it”), Stephen King (“I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs”), and Gertrude Stein (“Nouns . . . are completely not interesting”).

Marvel at how a single word can shift from adverb (“I did okay”), to adjective (“It was an okay movie”), to interjection (“Okay!”), to noun (“I gave my okay”), to verb (“Who okayed this?”), depending on its use.

Avoid the pretentious preposition at, a favorite of real estate developers (e.g., “The Shoppes at White Plains”).

Laugh when Yagoda says he “shall call anyone a dork to the end of his days” who insists on maintaining the distinction between shall and will.

Read, and discover a book whose pop culture references, humorous asides, and bracing doses of discernment and common sense convey Yagodas unique sense of the “beauty, the joy, the artistry, and the fun of language.”

About the Author

BEN YAGODA teaches English at the University of Delaware, and is the author of four books, including The Sound on the Page and About Town: The New Yorker and the World It Made. He has contributed to Slate.com, the New York Times Book Review, the American Scholar, Rolling Stone and Esquire, and writes an occasional column on language for the Chronicle of Higher Education. He lives in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780767920773
Author:
Yagoda, Ben
Publisher:
Broadway Books
Subject:
Grammar
Subject:
English language
Subject:
Vocabulary
Subject:
Form - Essays
Subject:
Grammar & Punctuation
Subject:
English language -- Grammar.
Subject:
Reference-Grammar and Style
Publication Date:
20070231
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
7.40x4.90x.90 in. .69 lbs.

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Related Subjects


Reference » Grammar and Style
Reference » Grammar and Usage

When You Catch an Adjective, Kill It: The Parts of Speech, for Better And/Or Worse New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$20.50 Backorder
Product details 256 pages Broadway Books - English 9780767920773 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Yagoda (The Sound on the Page) isn't trying to reinvent the style guide, just offering his personal tour of some of the English language's idiosyncrasies. Using the parts of speech as signposts, he charts an amiable path between those critics for whom any alterations to established grammar are hateful and those who believe whatever people use in speech is by default acceptable. Where many writing instructors rail against the use of adverbs, for example, he points out that they can be quite useful for conveying subtle relationships ordinary verbs can't describe. Some of this territory is familiar — Yagoda even boils down the debate over 'hopefully' to outline form — but every chapter has gems tucked inside, like the section in pronouns on the 'third-person athletic,' the voice celebrity ballplayers use to refer to themselves in interviews. And he's definitely in love with his one-liners, such as the quip that the only acceptable use of 'really' is 'in imitations of Katharine Hepburn, Ed Sullivan and Elmer Fudd.' Readers won't toss their copies of Strunk & White off the shelf, but Yagoda's witty grammar will rest comfortably next to the masters." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , Not since "School House Rock" have adjectives, adverbs, articles, conjunctions, interjections, nouns, prepositions, pronouns, and verbs been explored with such infectious exuberance.

"Synopsis" by , What do you get when you mix nine parts of speech, one great writer, and generous dashes of insight, humor, and irreverence? One phenomenally entertaining language book.

In his waggish yet authoritative book, Ben Yagoda has managed to undo the dark work of legions of English teachers and libraries of dusty grammar texts. Not since School House Rock have adjectives, adverbs, articles, conjunctions, interjections, nouns, prepositions, pronouns, and verbs been explored with such infectious exuberance. Read If You Catch an Adjective, Kill It and:

Learn how to write better with classic advice from writers such as Mark Twain (“If you catch an adjective, kill it”), Stephen King (“I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs”), and Gertrude Stein (“Nouns . . . are completely not interesting”).

Marvel at how a single word can shift from adverb (“I did okay”), to adjective (“It was an okay movie”), to interjection (“Okay!”), to noun (“I gave my okay”), to verb (“Who okayed this?”), depending on its use.

Avoid the pretentious preposition at, a favorite of real estate developers (e.g., “The Shoppes at White Plains”).

Laugh when Yagoda says he “shall call anyone a dork to the end of his days” who insists on maintaining the distinction between shall and will.

Read, and discover a book whose pop culture references, humorous asides, and bracing doses of discernment and common sense convey Yagodas unique sense of the “beauty, the joy, the artistry, and the fun of language.”

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