Friday, 6 March 2009

The Guardian Book of English Language edited by David Marsh and Amelia Hodson

Is it sad to like reading guides to grammar and spelling? Probably!

This one is a 100-page extract from Guardian Style, as used by the paper's journalists. Wisely, the editors admit to the "Grauniad" image of misprints and misspellings straight away, and then get on with the job of giving guidelines to their journalists. Fifers will be happy to know that the correct spelling of Kirkcaldy is included (thanks to Gordon Brown, we presume). This isn't as easy to read as The Elements of Style, but it does have some funny moments. For example there's this entry (which I should probably heed) for Exclamation marks: Do not use! Or when spelling this singer's name: Meat Loaf sings, meatloaf doesn't. They also reckon that the prejudice against split infinitives goes back to 19th century Latin teachers who felt that as the Latin infinitive was all one word, the English one shouldn't be split by another word inbetween. They give another couple of examples then say, "As the Guardian is written in English, rather than Latin, do not worry about any of this even slightly".

Day 149; Book 147


  1. 1... yes, it is a little sad...
    2... how could you spell Kirkcaldy wrong??? that's just how it is! Apparently Gordon Brown is in Dundee today... apparently! I may have misheard..

  2. Even people FROM FIFE have been known to spell it wrong!

  3. Thanks Eddie, I'll bookmark that.