Call Number
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PE1460 .W227 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



If you have a language question, where do you go for the answer? How do you keep proper syntax from sounding stiff, and, on the other hand, how do you keep conversational language from being embarrassingly incorrect? Barbara Wallraff, the author of The Atlantic Monthly's Word Court column, offers answers to these crucial questions. On one level, Your Own Words is a guide to using and understanding language references-dictionaries, thesauruses, stylebooks, usage guides, grammars, writing guides, and the Internet-with emphasis on how the different kinds of resources can help you answer different kinds of questions. On a deeper level, however, Your Own Words is about how to make good form your own. It helps you turn these various, often contradictory references into the tools that every experienced and confident user of language needs.In the world of language commentary, Barbara Wallraff offers an unequaled combination of authority, accessibility, and popularity. Her book shows you how to develop a genuine style that's both correct and personal-a style that expresses you at your best. Illuminated throughout with anecdotes and selections from the Word Court columns, Your Own Words does what very few books on usage even attempt: It shows every reader-amateur, professional, student, or graduate -how to think about what goes into good style.I think her judgment is flawless. I never disagree with her. -Jack Miles, author of God: A Biography

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Wallraff, the author of Word Court (2000) and a columnist for the Atlantic Monthly, tells readers how they can answer language questions for themselves. She posits that not even the leading authorities on language agree on many things and that respected reference works don't always agree on how to spell hundreds of words, on what some words mean, and on how to use them properly. Your own words , Wallraff insists, is about having informed opinions of your own. She explains how to develop a genuine style that's correct and personal, how to choose a dictionary that suits you, and how to seek guidance from sources such as the Internet, newpaper and news organizations' stylebooks, and thesauruses. Wallraff offers this tip for bon vivants: Curling up with a nice hot cup of cocoa or tea or even a martini can transform reading a new dictionary's front matter from a chore into a rarefied pleasure. --George Cohen Copyright 2004 Booklist

Library Journal Review

Using examples from her column in the Atlantic Monthly, Wallraff shows the reader how to become an expert wordsmith. Her entertaining approach makes the text quick and easy to absorb. Wallraff explains how common usage, history, and verification procedures play a part in determining the validity of using a word or phrase in our intended context. She also reviews the methods used by dictionary writers to determine whether they will include a word and explains the differences among dictionaries, their appropriate use, and the cr?me de la cr?me. A wonderful chapter on using the Internet as a reference tool shares sites and methods of interpreting search results. Thus, after searching for wordsmith on www.yourDictionary.com, this reviewer found a definition and even a download to hear the proper pronunciation. Wallraff's book is a wonderful teaching tool for any library.-Ann Schade, Powers Memorial Lib., Palmyra, WI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.