COMFORTABLE WORDS by Bergen Evans

COMFORTABLE WORDS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Similar in content though a little less formal in formal than A Dictionary of American House, this book attempts to answer some commonly asked questions about good, bad, and indifferent usage. As you might already of approach angers some people and enthuses others. Those that he makes awful mad ""ain't"", contrary to what he's always saying, necessarily those that live by and for rules they don't even know the reasons for. There's just some people who think there's certain rules that got to be adhered to, or else you could be meaning one thing and saying quite another; this may go in pregnant prose and certain poetry, but it don't make for the sort of effective usage that's the qua non sine of communication, does it? Another thing: if Evans is always claiming that might makes for right so far as usage is concerned right here and now in this best of all possible linguistic worlds, how come he's always going back to something by Chesterton to prove it? Just ain't relevant! And no matter what he says about two negatives not making no positive, they really do. Just stop and think of it. What really galls him, above all else, is people that's half-educated saying ""whom"" when it really don't belong. But it would seem that trying some is a damned sight better than not trying at all. It's all a matter of opinion, though. In any case, this here is good, casual reading and at least he's started people thinking about the language.

Publisher: Random House