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review 2019-01-10 10:19
That Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means: The 150 Most Commonly Misused Words And Their Tangled Histories
That Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means: The 150 Most Commonly Misused Words And Their Tangled Histories - Kathryn Petras,Ross Petras

My 'discovery' of this book is a perfect example for the argument of using a continuity of style on book covers.  A year or two ago, I bought and read You're Saying it Wrong, book about commonly mispronounced words, and loved it (I've been saying Turmeric and Van Gogh wrong all. my. life.)  I recognised the similar cover on this, the authors' newest, and immediately snatched it up.

 

I should really rate this 4.5 stars, because in retrospect, I can recall several typographical and at least 1 grammatical error in the text, which seems especially egregious in a book about grammar.  But I suppose perfection is an unreasonable expectation even for a grammar book.  Actually, I don't believe that, but I am too lazy to adjust my rating.

 

Other than that, it's an excellent reference for word pairs that are often confused with each other, including the obvious affect/effect as well as some I'd never thought about before but were obvious when I saw them, like trooper/trouper, flair/flare and flout/flaunt. Also included are words/terms that are just used wrong, like epicentre and ambivalent.  

 

Scattered throughout the list are a few spreads that cover when to use who/whom, the correct usage of lay/lie (I found their explanation for this the most useful I've ever read), and a general guide for latin and greek plurality: when to use 'i', 'a', 'ae', and 's'.  This one sort of cleared up a running debate MT and I have had concerning the plural of 'platypus' - while we both favoured 'platypi' on aesthetic grounds (it sounds better than 'platypuses', which is what the local sanctuary has settled on), it would seem logical to follow the same rule used for 'octopus', which is 'octopodes'.  I find this a happy compromise (MT is stubbornly sticking to the incorrect but more melodious platypi).

 

Each entry includes an example of the incorrect usage, the etymological history of the word/words, and most of the time, examples of correct usage for each word as well as basic definitions of each (nb: the author's state upfront that this is based on the North American dialect of English).  It's well written, not dry, and informative.  It will be a handy reference in the future when I'm unsure which word to use.

 

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photo 2018-12-31 17:45

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text 2018-12-27 07:06
Spoken English Training in Madurai-English Training Classes Kochadai

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review 2018-12-10 01:36
A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns (nonfiction graphic novel) by Archie Bongiovanni & Tristan Jimerson
A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns - Archie Bongiovanni,Tristan Jimerson

A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns is a 60-page guide, in comic form, to using singular they/them pronouns, including how to handle it if you mess up, a script for introducing yourself with your pronouns and asking others for theirs, ideas for trying to move away from gendered language in your workplace, and more. Archie Bongiovanni identifies as non-binary and uses they/them pronouns, while Tristan Jimerson identifies as male and uses he/him pronouns, so the work includes a couple different perspectives.

I had seen a bunch of mentions of this online and picked it up thinking that it would primarily be an introduction to they/them pronouns geared towards employers and employees. It can function that way, and from that perspective, I particularly liked the last few pages (quick and easy pronoun reference chart, scripts for asking about someone's pronouns and what to say when you mess up someone's pronouns, quick and easy ideas for using gender neutral language). They sum things up nicely and could serve as handouts in trainings.

I also liked the idea about group leaders starting things off by having everyone introduce themselves with their names and pronouns, and Jimerson's section about trying to train himself out of using gendered language in his workplace (he runs a small restaurant) made me realize there's a lot more to it than pronouns. For example, employees will often refer to customers as Sir or Ma'am, something that, in my area, would be culturally ingrained as well.

About two thirds of the book was geared towards folks who probably don't use they/them pronouns and may be trying to incorporate them into their language. The other third was geared more towards non-binary readers - basically advice and pep talks about dealing with people who've never used singular they and didn't even know it was a thing, and people who aren't fully supportive or who are consistently rude or awful.

There was one part of the book that gave me pause. In the section on how to find out someone's pronouns, the authors provide one sample script and then include a couple questions not to ask. One of those questions is "What pronouns do you prefer?" because "By using the word 'prefer,' you're suggesting that gender is a preference" (29). Although gender is not a preference, there are enough pronoun options that I don't think it's out of line to consider pronouns a preference.

Overall, it's a nice little guide, but the title really means it when it says it's quick. It doesn't dig very deeply into any of the topics it covers, and it doesn't point readers to any particular more in-depth resources (no "Recommended Resources" section).

 

Rating Note:

 

I debated over whether to give this 3.5 stars or 4. I settled on 3.5 stars because there were times when a few more pages of info would have been nice, even considering that this was written to be a quick guide. At the very least a "recommended reading" section should have been included.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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