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by Richard Lederer

Pub Date: March 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-671-70941-0
Publisher: Pocket

 A verbivore, according to this well-known author of fanciful and brainy books on language (Crazy English, Play of Words, etc.), makes a daily diet of words, taking delight in analyzing, tracing, defining, collecting, and playing with language. For Lederer, the fun of language and new experiences with it are everywhere: a Wonderful World of Words Weekend at Mohonk Mountain House; his son's poker tournament in Las Vegas; the ``oys and joys'' of Yiddish; the mysteries of ``Britspeak''; the ``slanguage'' of prep-school; or in the argot of ``Ghettoberg'' (Lederer taught for a year in a black inner-city school). The author shows the derivations of some words and invents others, as well as slogans, headlines, and puns, and he serves as a consultant in the wording of laws and regulations. His book on puns, Get thee to a Punnery, won the ``Punster of the Year Award'' from the International Save the Pun Association, dedicated to preserving this endangered species of expression. Lederer loves book tours, radio shows, dialects, and dictionaries. A selection of queries here (What is one flake called in a box of Wheaties?) addressed to him as the Grammar Grappler for Writer's Digest elicits his most resourceful and good-natured observations. With clever examples, quizzes, brain-teasers, grammatical problems (all answers included), Lederer's latest makes reading an interactive experience. It concludes with 50 memorable rules on ``writing good,'' each breaking the rule it describes: ``Who needs rhetorical questions?'' or ``Don't verb nouns.'' For anyone who savors language, enjoys puzzles and word games, is frustrated with learning vocabulary and grammar--or is in danger of forgetting the joy or just the simple fun of language.