Sunday, October 2, 2011

Words vs. Words; the fight is on!

First I want to share a note from Zoe Winters, author of Smart Self-Publishing: Becoming an Indie Author:

   Thanks for the review! Glad you found it helpful and engaging. It was originally meant to be the first of a series and other books were going to go in depth about each topic. But then I decided I didn't want my image/brand to be about teaching writers how to publish. I wanted to stay focused on the fiction. And while I do make some pretty decent change each month off this title, the bulk majority of the money I make (six figures this year), is from the fiction. Both with my Zoe Winters pen name, and another pen name.

I suspected this was true. I have not read any of her other books YET but I can tell, just by reading her non-fiction book, I WANT to read her books, even if they are outside of my genre. Yes, her writing style is that engaging. 

DraculaNow forward (Sunday, football) to the next review. I want you to know we are still working on what genre will be featured on Sunday and have kicked around Sensual Sunday as a title. I considered doing Dracula by Bram Stoker as it has what I believe (at 15 years old) to be the most sensual scene I have ever read. However I have covered several older books and thought I should cover something more contemporary today. To that end, we have another non-fiction:

Grammar Girl's 101 Misused Words You'll Never Confuse Again
Words versus Words
Grammar Girl's 101 Misused Words You'll Never Confuse Again
by Mignon Fogarty
Published by St. Martin's Griffins
ISBN 987-0-312-57337-9

From amazon:

    Millions of people around the world communicate better thanks to Mignon Fogarty, aka Grammar Girl, whose top-rated weekly grammar podcast has been downloaded more than 30 million times. After realizing her fans were asking the same questions over and over, Mignon decided to focus her attention on those words that continuously confound the masses.

About the book:
    This is a short book that covers many of the words people confuse when writing such as 'farther and further'. It takes on some grammar confusions including 'I versus me' as well as words that are simply used improperly. Each page is dedicated to one word or one group of confused words. A tip appears at the bottom of the many pages to help the reader remember the distinction between the use of the words.

My take:
     This is a handy book, easy to carry, and much better than a dictionary when you are wondering how to describe the ice cream you had last night (dessert)versus what your boyfriend did when he found out there was a plus sign on your test strip at that same meal (desert). The tips are extremely helpful, mostly because we tend to remember something more involved. Memory tricks have you imagining a money wear your dry cleaning climbing a pole hold a pound of butter and fly paper, for instance.
     The book also contains some interesting information about the word roots as well. Consider hanged versus hung:
        "We have to deal with two forms because there were at least two separate words for hang in Old English. They eventually merged into one, but the separate past tense forms remained. Hung  became the word for most uses, but the losing form (hanged) stuck around for executions, probably because it was used in legal language, which is less likely to change than common language."

   Grammar Girl does say there are so many more confusing words than the book had room for and indeed has added another seventeen words in a grid at the end of the book.  Some interesting word groups are missing; good and well come to mind (probably because I just heard a football player on TV use the wrong word).

    One thing that bothers me, having seen gray/grey, is when did we lose some our Old English spellings and when does the change become permanent with the old spelling wrong? For instance, when I was a child, colour and honour were acceptable spellings as well as grey. Now those spellings are not only chiefly British but are considered wrong. Another change we are witnessing during our lives is the acceptance of further in place of the word farther. My dictionary is showing further as an acceptable substitute for farther (shudder) but dictionaries reflect the actual language in use, not necessarily the proper use or we would still be speaking 14th century English.

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