Sexy usage advice

Comma Sutra proved my husband’s favourite St Nicholas present this year. Good for me, because I was the one who bought it for him. The reason I did is that it neatly combines our respective research interests – mine in usage guides, and his in the Kamasutra, of which he produced the first Dutch translation from Sanskrit in 2008.

Other than through the title there is no Indian connection. The book was published in the US, and its author is Laurie Rozakis, who is described on Wikipedia as “a writer of the Complete Idiots books and an expert on writing, grammar, usage, test preparation, and coaching writers”. Another usage guide writer, in other words. The book was published in 2005, and we might well have included it in our HUGE database if we had known about it before.

Is it funny, and hence effective? It would be interesting to find out! Let us know: copies are very cheaply available: I’ve seen it advertised at one dollar cent only. Extremely good value for money, I would say.

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2 Responses to Sexy usage advice

  1. Or you could start a sub-collection of usage guides with jokey titles… I am reminded of “Eats, shoots and leaves” by Lynne Truss. Although perhaps William Safire’s “I stand corrected” does not qualify.

  2. Paul Brians says:

    In 2007 NPR’s Scott Simon provided this blurb, now printed on the back of “Common Errors in English Usage”: “I’d call Paul Brians’ book incredible, fabulous, or fantastic, except thanks to him, I know now that none of those words are what I really mean. Let’s just say that Common Errors in English Usage is the most cheerfully useful book I’ve read since the Kama Sutra.”

    My publisher and I liked the quotation and used despite the fact that it slightly distorts my attitude toward such terms. See http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/incredible.html. I don’t think people should avoid them entirely, just be aware when the context makes them seem odd.

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