May I Quote You on That?: A Guide to Grammar and Usage

May I Quote You on That?: A Guide to Grammar and Usage

Stephen Spector

Language: English

Pages: 416

ISBN: 0190215283

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


We all use language in different ways, depending on the situations we find ourselves in. In formal contexts we are usually expected to use a formal level of Standard English-the English codified in grammars, usage guides, and dictionaries.

In May I Quote You on That? Stephen Spector offers a new approach to learning Standard English grammar and usage. The product of Spector's forty years of teaching courses on the English language, this book makes the conventions of formal writing and speech easier and more enjoyable to learn than traditional approaches usually do. Each lesson begins with humorous, interesting, or instructive illustrative quotations from writers, celebrities, and historical figures. Mark Twain appears alongside Winston Churchill, Yogi Berra, Woody Allen, Jerry Seinfeld, Stephen Colbert, Oprah, Lady Gaga, and many others. These quotations allow readers to infer the rules and word meanings from context. And if they stick in readers' memory, they can serve as models for the rules they exemplify. The lessons then offer short essays, written in a conversational style, on the history of the rules or the words being discussed. But because English is constantly changing, the essays offer not only the traditional rules of Standard English, but also the current opinions of usage panelists, stylists, and language specialists. When rules are controversial, Spector offers advice about stylistic choices. A companion website features a workbook with practice drills.

This book will appeal to anyone who wants to write well. It's aimed at those who are applying to college, taking the SAT, or writing a job application, an essay, or anything else that requires clear and effective communication.

Time USA (2 February 2015)

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sentence, though, it can get a little tricky. You wouldn’t say, “Me kissed a girl,” for example— unless you happen to be Cookie Monster, or maybe Tonto. So Katy Perry was right, of course, to title her 2008 hit song “I Kissed a Girl.” When they talk about two or more people, however, speakers sometimes casually say me when the traditional rule requires I. The result is nonstandard English: Nonstandard: Me and her still love each other. Standard: She and I still love each other. Nonstandard: Me

read all the books you like, but unfortunately, none of our kids have read the books, so they don’t care. You’re basically making it up as you go along.” Hugh Jackman, in John Mather, “Hugh Jackman’s 5 Life Lessons,” menshealth.com, Sept. 28, 2012 Many usage rules were invented in the eighteenth century or later, often by analogy to Latin grammar. With the word none, though, a rule was born mysteriously, adopted by teachers, and accepted as a law—all with no known authority or any good reason.

consensus shifts, how can we be sure which stylistic choices are in favor right now? Well, one way is to read recent usage and style guides and grammars, including ones that track the actual usage of educated speakers and writers. We also can check the usage notes in the Oxford English Dictionary and the major American dictionaries. And we can look at the opinions of large usage panels consisting of professional authors, scholars, journalists, teachers, editors, and others. The miniessays in this

substitute anyone’s judgment for your own.” Dr. Phil (Phil McGraw), American TV host, psychologist, and author, Self Matters: Creating Your Life from the Inside Out (2001) Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, asked whether he still enjoyed playing live: “There’s no substitute for live work to keep a band together.” Keith Richards on Keith Richards: Interviews and Encounters, ed. Sean Egan (2013) Have you ever heard anyone say substituted by to mean “replaced by”? The traditional use of

house.” 168 may i quote you on that? Ellen DeGeneres, quoted in David Hochman, “Nice Girls Finish First,” Good Housekeeping, Oct. 2011 “My parents thought all actors were secretly drug addicts, except for Clint Eastwood, whom they admired.” Ethan Hawke, American actor, writer, and director, quoted in nypost.com, Mar. 24, 2012 When was the last time you said whom in conversation? I say it every now and then, but I’m very peculiar that way. Most of us don’t use it much, if at all, when we

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