30 August 2010

Strictly English: The Correct Way to Write...and Why it Matters (Simon Heffer)

"Be in no doubt: the beer was drunk but the man drank the beer." "We must avoid vulgarities like 'front up'. If someone is 'fronting up' a television show, then he is presenting it." Simon Heffer's incisive and amusingly despairing emails to colleagues at the The Daily Telegraph about grammatical mistakes and stylistic slips have found their way on to the internet and have attracted a growing band of ardent fans over recent years. Now, in his new book Strictly English, he makes an impassioned case for an end to the sloppiness that has become such a hallmark of everyday speech and writing, and shows how accuracy and clarity are within the grasp of anyone who is prepared to take the time to master a few simple rules. If you wince when you see "different than" in print, or are offended by people who think that "infer" and "imply" mean the same thing, then this book will provide reassurance that you are not alone. If you have a suspicion that it is wrong to say "the car collided with the tree" but are not quite sure why, then it will set you straight. And if you believe that precise and elegant English really does matter, then it will prove required reading.

5 comments:

Hilton said...

Thanks, I will pick this up when it is released in the fall as my writing could always use some improvement.

Anonymous said...

In fact, lots of complicated rules if you want to be any good. Simon Heffer's a decent fellow, though; I certainly recommend his book to the Trader.

Fatfriend.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for calling this book to my attention.

It's not listed, yet, on Amazon. I checked Borders and Barnes & Noble. Barnes & Noble offers it for $7 less. I've preordered.

Death Bredon said...

Should not the title be "Strict English," which implies English written correctly; not "Strictly English," which implies English rather than other languages. Or, is Mr. Heffer intentionally ironical; sending up pedantry, not embodying it?

Laguna Beach Trad said...

DB ~ Excellent point. I had the same thought. Maybe he meant 'Strictly English' as opposed to Bad English, Chav English, American English, Pidgin English, etc. ? Or, it could simply be a pun or play on words, e.g., 'English, Strictly'. I don't know.