9780312186012 / 0312186010

The King's English: A Guide to Modern Usage


Publisher:Thomas Dunne Books



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About the book:

Kingsley Amis's The King's English is as witty and biting as his novels. Modestly presented as a volume "in which some modern linguistic problems are discussed and perhaps settled," Amis's usage guide is a worthy companion to his revered Fowler's. The King's English is distinctly British, but never mind: it is sensational. And unlike many of his countrymen, Amis is decidedly pro-American, even admitting a "bias towards American modes of expression as likely to seem the livelier and ... smarter alternative." In a world populated by usage mavens too willingly to waffle, Amis is refreshingly unequivocal. On the expression meaningful dialogue? It "looks and sounds unbearably pompous. Nevertheless one would not wish to be deprived of a phrase that so unerringly points out its user as a humourless ninny." To cross one's 7's, he says, "is either gross affectation or, these days, straightforward ignorance." And the frequently misused word viable, he claims, "should be dropped altogether ... simply because it has taken the fancy of every trendy little twit on the look-out for a posh word for feasible, practicable." Forget Amis's protestations of being unfit for the position of language arbiter; after all, as he says, "the defence of the language is too large a matter to be left to the properly qualified." --Jane Steinberg

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