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On the Shelves – Personal Prejudice in the Use of English

John Harrison (B1 1958-62) has published Personal Prejudice in the Use of English.

“The slow development of the use of English since Middle English has recently become a torrent of inappropriate uses of old words that had precise meanings. The true meanings of many words are becoming lost in the rush to sound up to date and trendy. Specific words have become generalised to the point, sometimes, of losing their actual meaning in the pursuit of vogue expressions.

This little book is an attempt to highlight some of these common abuses with ridicule and, perhaps, sensitise its readers to these solecisms and abuses to which it is easy to become inured. So, going forward, very clearly we need to hold hands on this one and sing from the same hymn sheet in another Ball Park and create a new perspective on words and phrase that resonate with all of us and pressure the community at every level when we head out to go on a journey at the end of the day.

The book is divided, like Gaul, into three parts. The first is a short resumé of some of the worst schoolchild howlers in basic English grammar – confusing subjects with objects or adjectives with adverbs for example. The second tries to classify words and phrases into a number of categories with many overlaps and cross-references. The third has a witty look at pronunciation and the rules (and contradictions) that the author tries to follow. It has an index.

This is not an academic work, but a working reference book for the general reader and for students of English with examples taken mainly from broadcast radio and television and what used to be called the ‘broadsheet’ press.”

It is available on Kindle and in paperback.