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The King's English (Penguin Modern Classics) (edition 2011)

by Kingsley Amis

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Member:adammulvey
Title:The King's English (Penguin Modern Classics)
Authors:Kingsley Amis
Info:Penguin Classics (2011), Paperback, 272 pages
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The King's English: A Guide to Modern Usage by Kingsley Amis

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Not a useful handbook, per se, but Amis' pet peeves collected and arranged in 'alphabetical' order. I put the word alphabetical in scare-quotes because sometimes the choices are rather arbitrary - would the mini-essay differentiating Uninterested and Disinterested belong in D or U?

Many of the things that bother him relate to the difference between British and American English, but he does have both good and bad things to say about both. Many of the other things that bother him are either fads already faded, or fully established by now. And of course I disagree with many of his opinions.

But he's always witty, and each entry is an enlightening read. I'm glad I'm only reading it in odd moments, a few entries at a time, so that I can savor it.

As it happens, this is my first exposure to the author. This book was lauded in the bibliography to [b:Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation|8600|Eats, Shoots & Leaves The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation|Lynne Truss|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1392135387s/8600.jpg|854886] and that's the only reason I picked it up. Now that I know more about how the man writes, I will see if there's anything else he's done that appeals to me.
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Finally done. The above stands. One addendum - there is a glossary, but it seems incompletely proofread, unclear, and unhelpful. However, the book as a whole is highly recommended to all grammar nerds, novice to advanced. And to writers. And to readers translating from British to American or vice-versa.

Oh, and I'm keeping (!) my copy, and am going to reread (!) it with pen in hand (!) when I need a diversion. The man makes me want to break all the rules about what to do with books I've read.... ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
In all his work, and throughout his life, the use and abuse of the English language was one of Kingsley Amis's principal concerns. This text conveys his love and knowledge of the subject to new generations of readers and writers.
  antimuzak | Nov 30, 2005 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312206577, Paperback)

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 willing 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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:28 -0400)

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Intended as a companion to Fowler's 'Modern English Usage', this guide contains Kingsley Amis' thoughts on the use and abuse of the English language, a subject he felt passionately about. Originally published: 1997.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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