Search Results for: pinker

Pinker’s Sense of Style translated into Dutch

Yesterday, I accidentally came across the translation into Dutch of Pinker’s The Sense of Style in a bookshop here in The Hague. Amazing, an English style-cum-usage guide translated into Dutch. A much earlier similar attempt, the translation of Lynne Truss’s Eats Shoots … Continue reading

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Taggart vs. Pinker: and the winner is …

I’d really like to be able to find out how well “our” usage guides, those in the HUGE database that is, have been selling over the years. This is confidential information, I was recently told by the firm handling the estate of … Continue reading

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On November 7, The Washington Post published my review of Steven Pinker’s The Sense of Style. You can read it on their website here. It also appeared in the print newspaper on the same day under the title ‘The Sense of Style,’ … Continue reading

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Steven Pinker’s Sense of Usage

Last month, Steven Pinker’s The Sense of Style was published in Britain and the US. As a specialist on books of usage advice, and as someone who needs to write for a living, I find The Sense of Style interesting because it … Continue reading

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2016/12 Prescriptivism in English literature?

Here is the last feature by a member of our project in the new issue of English Today. It is republished on this blog with permission from Cambridge University Press, which owns the copyright to this piece. The original is available at Cambridge Journals Online. To … Continue reading

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Nucular a British usage problem too

I always thought nucular (for nuclear: hard to pronounce!) was an American usage problem. Though I must admit I had never heard of it until 2009, when I was at a conference on prescriptivism in Toronto, organised by Carol Percy, … Continue reading

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Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen

Editors and language advice seem to go hand in hand. When in doubt about language matters, who better to consult than those whose job description includes improving style, formatting, and proofreading.  Mary Norris of The New Yorker has joined the … Continue reading

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On Microsoft’s Grammar Checker again

A few years ago, Robin Straaijer wrote a blog post about Microsoft’s Grammar Checker. He had been inspired to write the post after hearing Anne Curzan speak on the topic during the ICEHL-17 conference at Zürich in 2012. Reading Anne Curzan’s … Continue reading

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David vs Goliath: Oliver Kamm’s take on English usage

I have to admit that reading usage guides can get somewhat boring. Their authors, most of them prescriptivists and literally old-school, frequently use a similar set of usage problems discussing them in a similar manner and expressing similar attitudes. If … Continue reading

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How many usage problems are there, Emily?

Yesterday, I commented on what looks like the omnipresence of the split infinitive in usage guides and other books that provide usage advice: Steven Pinker’s The Sense of Style (2014) and Cherry Chappell’s How to Write Better Letters (2006). The split infinitive is also … Continue reading

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