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Robert Hartwell Fiske's Dictionary of Unendurable English: A Compendium of Mistakes in Grammar, Usage, and Spelling with commentary on lexicographers and linguists
by:Robert Hartwell Fiske
Today's popular dictionaries often fail to define words correctly or to distinguish between them; some dictionaries even maintain that one word means the same as another simply because people who do not know the correct meanings of the words confuse them.Robert Hartwell Fiske's Dictionary of Unendurable English-- a supplement to whatever dictionary you...
Today's popular dictionaries often fail to define words correctly or to distinguish between them; some dictionaries even maintain that one word means the same as another simply because people who do not know the correct meanings of the words confuse them.Robert Hartwell Fiske's Dictionary of Unendurable English-- a supplement to whatever dictionary you own or use -- is an attempt to combat this nonsense, to return meaning and distinction to the words we use.Robert Hartwell Fiskerails against "laxicographers and ding-a-linguists" who, with their misguided thinking, actually promote the dissolution of the English language. He also illustrates why dictionaries don't always provide the correct meaning or usage of a word. With concise instruction and numerous examples of misused words, Fiske makes it easier than ever to learn from others' mistakes. Author's Statement:For many years now, lexicographers and descriptive linguistshave been fervently promoting the idea that a dictionary should record the language as it is used instead of as it ought to be used.Most intelligent people, however, I dare say, want to know how to speak and write well, clearly, persuasively, compellingly, perhaps even beautifully. Collecting tripe from Twitter and other dubious sources, as lexicographers are wont to do, helps ensure that we -- or those people who still, for what reasons we can only wonder, pay any attention to the dictionary -- speak and write like every other ignoramus.Lexicographers and linguists are eager to regard their nemeses, prescriptivists -- those who feel as though standards of English-language use ought to be maintained -- as socially and politically conservative. And some prescriptivists certainly are. The modern prescriptivist, however, is, or strives to be, as just in his social and political views as he is exacting in his grammar and usage. Upholding the values of accuracy, clarity, and elegance goes beyond speaking and writing the language well; it also means upholding the values of honesty, grace, and justice.The modern prescriptivist is concerned with speaking and writing well -- and with having the language, the usage and grammar, with which to do so.
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