DOS, DON'TS & MAYBES OF ENGLISH USAGE by Theodore M. Bernstein

DOS, DON'TS & MAYBES OF ENGLISH USAGE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Like Edwin Newman, Bernstein worries that ""English usage is becoming English loosage,"" and these laconic reworkings of his newspaper columns confront the culprits most responsible for the decline--in alphabetical order. He deplores Acronymania, remarks on collective nouns, and dishes up some curdled clichÉs (""a fragment of your imagination""). As in previous books, Bernstein makes distinctions between frequently confused words (practically/virtually, persuade/convince, ingenious/ingenuous, gantlet/guantlet) and asks ""should nouns be verbed"" (yes to tabled and gardened, no to officed and authored). And he often cites that favorite purist, Miss Thistlebottom, to support his case. Also included: tricky questions (does a house burn up or burn down? do you fill in or fill out a form?) and a reprint from the New York Times Magazine, a cheeky article on ""Whore's Doom."" No cure for lethologica but surefire verballistics for his fans.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1977
Publisher: Times Books (formerly Quadrangle/New York Times)