Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I'm having a bad week. The weather is oppressive; 38 degrees Celsius today, with a hot westerly wind blowing. No airconditioning at school or at home and three classes worth of reports due, well, yesterday. There has been no real time to read, let alone compose a nice coherent post.

So I thought I'd let someone else do the talking. Why not Kingsley Amis? A great book of his that I came across a couple of years ago is The King's English, a guide to English usage that takes its name from Fowler's earlier guide.

Amis is funny and witty and often totally priggish, but I love him for it. Here is a typical extract:

Ere: I mention this dead and unlamented word only to note that its ghost is sometimes raised by jocular chaps who effect phrases like 'ere long' and 'ere now'. I have two messages for such chaps: one is unprintable, the other goes, If you must write this shred of battered facetiousness, for Christ's sake get it right. The word is ere, not e'er.

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