Everything You Know About English Is Wrong
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
I don't know how else to tell you this...everything you know about English is wrong.
"If you love language and the unvarnished truth, you'll love Everything You Know About English Is Wrong. You'll have fun because his lively, comedic, skeptical voice will speak to you from the pages of his word-bethumped book."
-Richard Lederer, author of Anguished English, Get Thee to a Punnery, and Word Wizard
Now that you know, it's time to, well, bite the mother tongue. William Brohaugh, former editor of Writer's Digest, will be your tour guide on this delightful journey through the English language, pointing out all the misconceptions about our wonderful-and wonderfully confusing-native tongue. Tackling words, letters, grammar and rules, no sacred cow remains untipped as Brohaugh reveals such fascinating and irreverent shockers as:
- If you figuratively climb the walls, you are agitated/frustrated/crazy. If you literally climb the walls, you are Spiderman.
- "Biting the Mother Tongue": English does not come from England.
- The word "queue" is the poster child of an English spelling rule so dominant we'll call it a dominatrix rule: "U must follow Q! Slave!"
- So much of our vocabulary comes from the classical languages-clearly, Greece, and not Grease, is the word, is the word, is the word.
-Emoticons: Unpleasant punctuational predictions
"Better plotted than a glossary, more riveting than a thesaurus, more filmable than a Harry Potter index-and that's just Brohaugh's footsnorts... Imean, feetsnotes...umfeetsneets?...good gravy I'mglad I'mjust a cartoonist."
-John Caldwell, one of Mad magazine's Usual Gang of Idiots
This book guarantees you'll never look at the English language the same way again-if you write, read or speak it, it just ain't possible to live without this tell-all guide. ("Ain't," incidentally, is not a bad word.)
is far more common than using can. If a teenager said, “I just scratched the car—what will I tell my dad?,” his pal is more likely to reply, “Well, you could not tell him” than he would “You can not tell him.” Given that greater usage, wouldn’t those who insist on cannot even more vigorously call for bringing the nonexistent couldnot into the language? Now, if it weren’t for the fact that cannot has been in use since around the thirteenth century, I’d suggest that perhaps the conjoining of
any of the following claims pop up on your screen while you’re online, disregard them, or—if you believe them—forward me your social security number and all your passwords: 5:06 PM Page 68 EverythingYouKnowAboutEnglish_int.qxp:Between You _ I internals.qxd Everything You Know About English Is Wrong 4/2/08 5:06 PM 69 • 315 entries in Webster’s 1996 Dictionary were misspelled. Cool. Which Webster’s? The Webster’s name is in the public domain, meaning I could have called this book Webster’s
above.24 24 See also silver and purple. Those two and orange and month all rhyme. Honest! I read it on the Internet! Page 71 EverythingYouKnowAboutEnglish_int.qxp:Between You _ I internals.qxd 72 4/2/08 Bill Brohaugh • The phrase “rule of thumb” is derived from an old English law which stated that you couldn’t beat your wife with anything wider than your thumb. Oh, please. This one is another quintessential bit of disinformation, misinformation, or pure mischief, depending on the
EverythingYouKnowAboutEnglish_int.qxp:Between You _ I internals.qxd Everything You Know About English Is Wrong 4/2/08 5:06 PM 187 not monquey). Qoph the monkey (Creationist-inclined folks, avert your eyes for a second) evolved from its Phoenician origins through Greek and Latin and etc. and etc. into the modern entity it is today: standing tall, and alone, as . . . our letter Q. LETTERS File under “Dotting your T’s and crossing your eyes”: The cliché “Make sure to dot your I’s and cross
come in? Ultimately, the word comes from Old French and retains its imported pronunciation. Interestingly, when the word was brought into English around the late 1300s, it was spelled resoun, but the spelling eventually changed in analogy of the word sound. So we changed the spelling to conform to the word sound, but we didn’t change the pronunciation to conform to the word sound. Therefore, to properly pronounce resound, think of the pronunciation of its close relative, resonate. 5:06 PM Page