Cover image for Fumblerules : a lighthearted guide to grammar and good usage
Fumblerules : a lighthearted guide to grammar and good usage
Safire, William, 1929-2009.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Doubleday, [1990]

Physical Description:
153 pages ; 17 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PE1106 .S25 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Several years ago William Safire devoted one of his newspaper columns to a list of fumblerules--a mistake that calls attention to the rule. Here, culled, winnowed, beefed up and edited, are the best fumblerules he has collected in the interim. An entertaining treasure, Fumblerules is the perfect gift for lovers of language.

Author Notes

William Safire was born on Dec. 17, 1929. He attended Syracuse University, but dropped out after two years. He began his career as a reporter for The New York Herald Tribune. He had also been a radio and television producer and a U.S. Army correspondent. From 1955 to 1960, Safire was vice president of a public relations firm in New York City, and then became president of his own firm. He was responsible for bringing Nixon and Nikita Khrushchev together in 1959. In 1968, he joined the campaign of Richard Nixon as a senior White House speechwriter for Nixon. Safire joined The New York Times in 1973 as a political columnist. He also writes a Sunday column, On Language, which has appeared in The New York Times Magazine since 1979. This column on grammar, usage, and etymology has led to the publication of 10 books and made him the most widely read writer on the English language. William Safire was the winner of the 1978 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary. He is a trustee for Syracuse University. Since 1995 he has served as a member of the Pulitzer Board. He is the author of Freedom (1987), a novel of Lincoln and the Civil War. His other novels include Full Disclosure (1977), Sleeper Spy (1995) and Scandalmonger (2000). His other titles include a dictionary, a history, anthologies and commentaries.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

A fumblerule is "a mistake that calls attention to the rule." For example: "No sentence fragments." Each chapter is headlined by a separate example that is followed by a brief explanatory passsage illuminating the grammatical rules that have been so cavalierly broken. Miraculously, Safire has created this little book out of a single New York Times column and the ensuing barrage of mail he received. A clever and enjoyable language guide. --Denise Perry Donavin