500 mistakes of daily occurrence

Today, I managed to get hold of a copy of the first edition of Walton Burgess’s Five Hundred Mistakes of Daily Occurrence in Speaking, Pronouncing, and Writing the English Language, Corrected, New York. It was published in 1856, and it is, to my knowledge at least, the first American English usage guide. The text itself can be found in Project Gutenberg, and I refer to it in my Introduction to Late Modern English (Tieken-Boon van Ostade 2009:5; Edinburgh University Press).

500 mistakes

I’d be interested to hear if other people have written about it.

The book is also available, in pdf, in Google Books. (Thanks to Robin for this.)

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7 Responses to 500 mistakes of daily occurrence

  1. Robin Straaijer says:

    The book is also in Google Books and can be downloaded as a pdf

  2. fascinating!: “23. “I prefer the _yolk_ of an egg to the white:” the more common word is
    _yelk_, with the _l_ sounded; but if _yolk_ be used, it should be
    pronounced like _yoke_.”

  3. Hello =),
    Does anyone know where in the book the subject of multiple negation is dealt with? I tried typing all the similar terms “negation, negatives, not, no, neither, never” etc. and I still can’t find anything on this particular subject. I couldn’t find it at first in Baker’s Reflections on the English language, but then I typed “no” etc. and I could see that he dealt with the subject of double negation without naming it as such.. just by saying “two no’s”…
    Thank you so much =). This is very important, I’m writing a paper on multiple negation.

    • Dear Marine,

      That is a big subject! I’ve written a book about it and various articles as well. You could try searching under my name. As for Baker: perhaps it will work if you search for “neither”.

      Btw: 500 Mistakes does not discuss double negation.

      Good luck with your paper, and let us know what you found!

      Ingrid Tieken

  4. Travis says:

    Is this book worth anything?? I have the exact same book in about same condition.

    • I don’t know to be honest. I can’t remember what I paid for it at the time, not much I imagine. I think there may be a lot of copies around. My own copy has notes from the owner in it, including a recipe for lemon pie. So it seems that it was of some use. How about yours?

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