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Bryson's Dictionary of Troublesome Words


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About the Author

Bill Bryson's bestselling books include A Walk in the Woods, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, and A Short History of Nearly Everything (which won the Aventis Prize in Britain and the Descartes Prize, the European Union's highest literary award). He was chancellor of Durham University, England's third oldest university, from 2005 to 2011, and is an honorary fellow of Britain's Royal Society.


Before he wrote best sellers like A Walk in the Woods, Bryson was a copy editor at the London Times. The book that actually launched his career was the dictionary that grew out of that experience here updated and revised for a U.S. audience. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Bestselling author Bryson's latest book is really his first: this guide to usage, spelling and grammar was first published in 1983 when Bryson (In a Sunburned Country, etc.) was an unknown copyeditor at the London Times, and has now been revised and updated for use in the U.S. Alphabetically arranged entries include commonly misspelled and misused words. He also includes common problems with grammar, as well as an appendix on punctuation. Bryson often cites the 1983 edition of H.W. Fowler's A Dictionary of Modern English Usage as an authority, though he also makes a handful of references to recent texts, such as the Encarta World English Dictionary and Atlantic Monthly columnist Barbara Wallraff's "Word Court." Despite the revisions, the book often betrays its origins as a British text, as in citing words in common usage throughout the U.K. and British Commonwealth, but rarely used by American writers, such as Taoiseach, the Prime Minister of Ireland or City of London vs. city of London. In addition, Bryson avoids taking on computer lingo, such as distinguishing between the Internet and the World Wide Web. Despite these shortcomings, Bryson's erudition is evident and refreshing. His passage on split infinitives, for example, asserts that it is "a rhetorical fault a question of style and not a grammatical one." Readers looking for the author's trademark humor will not find it here. Instead they will find a straightforward, concise, utilitarian guide, albeit one listing Bryson's "suggestions, observations, and even treasured prejudices" on newspaper writing primarily in Britain, circa 1983. (On sale Aug. 13) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

"A worthwhile addition to any writer's or editor's reference library."
--Los Angeles Times

"[Bryson is] a world-class grammar maven." --Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times "A usage book with a nice sense of differentiation."
--William Safire, New York Times Magazine "Bryson's erudition is evident and refreshing . . . a straightforward, concise, utilitarian guide."
--Publishers Weekly

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