Synopses & Reviews
A short and entertaining book on the modern art of writing well by New York Times bestselling author Steven Pinker
Why is so much writing so bad, and how can we make it better? Is the English language being corrupted by texting and social media? Do the kids today even care about good writing? Why should any of us care?
In The Sense of Style, the bestselling linguist and cognitive scientist Steven Pinker answers these questions and more. Rethinking the usage guide for the twenty-first century, Pinker doesnand#8217;t carp about the decline of language or recycle pet peeves from the rulebooks of a century ago. Instead, he applies insights from the sciences of language and mind to the challenge of crafting clear, coherent, and stylish prose.
In this short, cheerful, and eminently practical book, Pinker shows how writing depends on imagination, empathy, coherence, grammatical knowhow, and an ability to savor and reverse engineer the good prose of others. He replaces dogma about usage with reason and evidence, allowing writers and editors to apply the guidelines judiciously, rather than robotically, being mindful of what they are designed to accomplish.
Filled with examples of great and gruesome prose, Pinker shows us how the art of writing can be a form of pleasurable mastery and a fascinating intellectual topic in its own right.
"While the volume is certainly handy to someone struggling with grammar basics...the "Verbal Abuse" section will appeal to language experts and purists." Booklist
"Lighthearted and funny...It's like Strunk and White combined with S.J. Perelman." New York Times Book Review
Includes bibliographical references (p. 231-232) and index.
The witty, bestselling grammar book that proved English could be fun is now revised, updated, and expanded. There are fresh dos and don'ts throughout, plus a whole new chapter on the ins and outs of e-mail. Woe Is I
is a delightfully down-to-earth field guide for anyone who wants to communicate more clearly, in the real world or the virtual one. Help is here, in eleven
- Woe Is I: Therapy for Pronoun Anxiety
- Plurals Before Swine: Blunders with Numbers
- Yours Truly: The Possessives and the Possessed
- They Beg to Disagree: Putting Verbs in Their Place
- Verbal Abuse: Words on the Endangered List
- Comma Sutra: The Joy of Punctuation
- The Compleat Dangler: A Fish out of Water
- Death Sentence: Do Clichés Deserve to Die?
- The Living Dead: Let Bygone Rules Be Gone
- Saying Is Believing: How to Write What You Mean
- E-Mail Intuition: Does Anything Go?
The witty, bestselling grammar book that taught a nation better English is revised, updated, and e x p a n d e d for the new millennium, with fresh dos and don'ts in every chapter. Plus a word to the wired-a whole new chapter on language in the age of e-mail.
Unlike, say, Latin, English is a living language-and, like all living things, it grows, it changes, and it can be messy and confusing. And now Woe Is I has grown and changed too. Here's the latest and greatest on the basics and subtleties of the language from America's beloved grammar guru Patricia T. O'Conner. She's renovated her classic, using plain English to un-tangle the knottiest of problems, skipping the kind of jargon that tempted you to cut your high school English class. Run, don't walk, to your local bookstore.
In this new edition of Woe Is I, Patricia T. O’Conner unties the knottiest grammar tangles and displays the same lively humor that has charmed and enlightened grateful readers for years. With new chapters on spelling and punctuation, and fresh insights into the rights, wrongs, and maybes of English grammar and usage, Woe Is I offers down-to-earth explanations and plain-English solutions to the language mysteries that bedevil all of us:
- Avoid the persistent (and persistently embarrassing) grammatical errors that bewilder the best and the brightest
- Pronounce and spell words that even the smartest people mangle
- Correctly use hundreds of woefully abused words and phrases
About the Author
Steven Pinker is the Harvard College Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. A two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and the winner of many awards for his research, teaching, and books, he has been named one of Time's 100 Most Influential People in the World Today and Foreign Policy's 100 Global Thinkers.