Accidence Will Happen: The Non-Pedantic Guide to English Usage

 
9780297871934: Accidence Will Happen: The Non-Pedantic Guide to English Usage
Review:

My new style hero is Oliver Kamm for putting his head above the pedantry parapet and taking on the sticklers in Accidence Will Happen... Kamm celebrates the elasticity of our wonderful English language, and demonstrates that it is precisely the fluidity which makes reading literature - in all its various forms and styles - so exciting (Caroline Sanderson THE BOOKSELLER 'Book of the Month')

This is the most intelligent and entertaining book about the English language I've ever read, one that has transformed how I think about usage. It should be required reading for anyone who loves the language, especially those entrusted to teach it. Pedants are going to hate this book - and quietly take its lessons to heart (James Shapiro, Professor of English at Columbia University and author of 1599: A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE)

ACCIDENCE WILL HAPPEN is a unique and indispensable guide to usage. It's distinguished by the author's keen discernment, his reliance on scholarship rather than dogma and superstition, and an ability to cite literary examples of contested constructions that is literally (yes, literally) awesome (yes, awesome) (Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of THE SENSE OF STYLE: THE THINKING PERSON’S GUIDE TO WRITING IN THE 21st CENTURY)

The English language is not your enemy and Oliver Kamm is your best friend to help you navigate it. Never has a book on language been so illuminating and funny (Agnès Poirier, author of TOUCHÉ! A FRENCH WOMAN’S TAKE ON THE ENGLISH)

Review:

Entertaining and refreshing... [Kamm's] book is a welcome corrective to the notion that there is an objective standard we should strive for, and a celebration of a language in flux (Ian Critchley THE SUNDAY TIMES)

English language sticklers should relax and give our language the freedom it needs to flourish. It sounds a liberating project and he really does manage to make pedants look ridiculous (Tom Payne THE DAILY TELEGRAPH)

Kamm's tolerance is certainly more preferable to the bigotry of sticklers who treat grammatical lapses as crimes or sins (Peter Conrad THE OBSERVER)

[Kamm's] case against the pedants is compelling: peddling made-up rules, they either stray into contradiction or are forced to denounce Milton as sloppy ( THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

Accidence will Happen is a joyous and joyously liberating assault on the 'rules' of grammar which are little more than a hodgepodge of contradictory superstitions. Kamm's weapons are erudition and raw polemical vigour... No serious scholar believes that a language is anything you write and speak. In language you cannot be right against the world. If an 'incorrect' form is more widely understood than its alternative, it cannot be 'wrong'... It is the most sensible style guide I have read, not least because Kamm always puts clarity first... its monument will be the liberated prose of the writers Kamm has freed. (Nick Cohen THE SPECTATOR)

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Kamm, Oliver
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