9780679423874 / 0679423877

Watching My Language:: Adventures in the Word Trade


3.94 avg rating16 ratings by GoodReads

Publisher:Random House, 1997



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About the book:

"The ninth volume of tidbits of stylistic wit and wisdom from a man willing to display his grammar in public. . . . Yet again, readers will find that William Safire's apparently endless capacity to be fascinated by language is highly contagious. "
-- Kirkus Reviews

America's most entertaining language maven is back with more words to live by in his latest exploration of hot catchphrases, syntactical controversies, and other matters of national linguistic importance.

Before you scratch that seven-year-itch, you might want to know where it came from. And before someone blurts, "You just don't get it,"  perhaps you should consult the Pulitzer Prize winning language columnist on the origins of that snappy feminist motto.

In Watching My Language, William Safire investigates these questions and many others, including:

What language was Bill Clinton speaking when he fumed, "I want to put a fist halfway down their throats with this. . . . I want their teeth on the sidewalk ?"
Why is Ukraine no longer the Ukraine? Should there be an insurrection against this usage?
Did baseball manager Leo Durocher really say, "Nice guys finish last" ?
Who deserves credit for coining the expressions policy wonk, digerati, and Not!?

William Safire, a man hip enough to explore the meaning of hip-hop, answers these questions and many more in this witty and enlightening collection.

Praise for William Safire
"Safire infuses his verbiage with humor, timely examples, and quotes, resulting in mini-essays that are informative and intriguing. "  
-- Nashville Banner

"Wonderful. . . . Where once stood your seventh-grade English teacher guarding the narrow gates of good usage and correct grammar now stands William Safire. . . . His true calling is chasing down first-time uses of a trendy phrase, spotting literary allusions, and most of all, keeping the American language on the straight and narrow. . . . Your old English teacher would approve."    
-- The Dallas Morning News

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