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Troublesome Words (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 1. Oktober 2009

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Der US-Amerikaner Bill Bryson wurde 1951 in Des Moines, Iowa, geboren. Als Rucksacktourist lernte er 1973 in England seine zukünftige Frau kennen und entschied sich zu bleiben. Zunächst schrieb er für die englischen Zeitungen "The Times" und "The Independent" und besserte mit Reiseberichten sein Einkommen auf. Mit einem Buch über die englische Insel, "Reif für die Insel", gelang Bryson 2003 der Durchbruch. Seither verfasste er viel beachtete Reiseliteratur, u. a. über eine Fahrt mit dem Chevy seiner Mutter durch amerikanische Kleinstädte, Reisen in Europa, Afrika oder Australien bis hin zu "The Road Less Travelled" mit 1.000 alternativen Reiseempfehlungen fernab ausgetretener Touristenpfade. Von North Yorkshire zog Bryson 1995 mit seiner Frau und den vier Kindern in die USA nach New Hampshire, bis die Familie 2003 nach England zurückkehrte.

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It is nearly 20 years since Bill Bryson first penned his deliciously witty paean to precision Troublesome Words. Now he has revised it and 60 per cent of the content is new so it's well worth another browse and a place on the desk corner of anyone who likes words and who wants to get things right.

Once a sub-editor at The Times, Bryson is irresistibly drawn to knowing that "to flaunt" means to display ostentatiously but "to flout" means to treat with contempt. Or that a straitjacket may be straight but its name means that its occupant is confined and restricted--in straitened circumstances, perhaps. And can you explain the difference between a Creole and a Pidgin or between egoism and egotism? If not consult Bryson. Then you'll be able to. There's no pedantry or pomposity in Bryson's writing. But he argues: "Just as we all agree that clarity is better served if 'cup' represents a drinking vessel and 'cap' something you put on your head, so too I think the world is a fractionally better place if we agree to preserve a distinction between 'its' and 'it's', between 'I lay down the law' and 'I lie down to sleep', between 'imply' and 'infer' and countless others."

Bryson modestly jokes that this alphabetically arranged book could be subtitled "Even More Things in English Usage That the Author Wasn't Entirely Clear about Until Quite Recently". If only most of us were sure about a fraction of the things Bryson clearly understands very well we might all be more effective writers and speakers. --Susan Elkin -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.

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'Combines the virtues of a first class work of reference with the pleasure of a good read' The Times

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39 von 42 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von A. Hofmann am 13. Juli 2003
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
English is not my native language, so it is often troublesome for me to see the difference between two words that have the same meaning in german. The book helps to better understand and use words that are easy to put in a wrong place. It gives you, for example, the information if a word, such as data, is actually singular or plural or how to use words as "admit" correctly. I love the book, as it shows false examples and corrects them giving a very good explanation. Reading the examples it can be interesting for native speaker as well.
So, from my point of view it is very recommendable.
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7 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von Amazon Customer am 15. Dezember 2010
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Ich hatte hier ursprünglich eine weitere Sammlung von Anekdoten oder Artikeln ähnlich den "Notes from a big country", "Life and times of the Thunderbolt Kid" oder der "Short history of nearly everything" erwartet. In dem wurde ich etwas enttäuscht und fand stattdessen ein richtiges, klassisches Wörterbuch in meinem Briefkasten. Die Praxistauglichkeit für einen Journalisten oder andere Vielschreiber des Englischen kann ich dabei nicht beurteilen, möchte sie jedoch anzweifeln, da sich der/die Schreibende ja meist der gemachten Fehler nicht bewusst ist, also kaum auf Verdacht in Bryson's Nachschlagewerk stöbern wird. Für den Lehrenden und Lernenden jedoch ist "Troublesome Words" nicht nur eine hilfreiche, sondern dank des typischen Bryson-Humors auch recht unterhaltsame Lektüre. Da ihm aber jeglicher Erzählstil fehlt, eignet es sich wohl kaum als Entspannungslektüre am Samstagabend im Ohrensessel mit Tee und Keksen...
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Bill Bryson can help you to make the right use of English vocabulary that may be difficult but is not.
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Amazon.com: 85 Rezensionen
181 von 187 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A useful, and highly personal, reference 6. März 2003
Von Andrew S. Rogers - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Not to gild the lily, this is to all intents and purposes a basically good book. Hopefully, it will be utilized to put an end to grammatical and usage errors, as well as misuse of apostrophe's, "quotation marks" and other punctuation.

If that paragraph above does not give you the dry heaves, you need to read Bill Bryson's "Dictionary."

Unfortunately, much as I enjoyed this book, I'm afraid it will appeal primarily to people who already know a lot of this information, instead of to the many who would benefit from reading it. And that's too bad ("The belief that *and* should not be used to begin a sentence is without foundation. And that's all there is to it." [p. 13]).

As Bryson notes, this book is not a style or usage guide. For that, I would recommend Fowler and Wallraff, sources Bryson often cites, and especially Bill Walsh's Lapsing Into a Comma : A Curmudgeon's Guide to the Many Things That Can Go Wrong in Print--and How to Avoid Them. What this book does provide is a useful guide to clarity of expression through precise use of language. While many people may not know, or care, about the distinctions between "lectern," "podium," "dais," and "rostrum" (p. 119), for example, the distinctions are nevertheless important, and Bryson helps nail them down.

He makes the important point that English is a language without a governing authority. Tradition and usage define what's proper. Language is evolutionary -- an example, as Hayek noted, of spontaneous order. However, it's possible to take this idea too far. In the Introduction (a passage quoted on the back cover as well), Bryson says, "If you wish to say 'between you and I' or to use *fulsome* in the sense of lavish, it is your privilege to do so...". I'm not certain this is the sort of advice people necessarily need to hear, unless of course you add the important corollary that the rest of us have the privilege of considering you an idiot for doing so.

Apart from that, though, this is an entertaining as well as useful read, and one I encourage writers both professional and casual to keep handy.
46 von 47 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
An Interesting Reference Book 25. September 2002
Von Paul N. Walton - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Bill Bryson's Dictionary of Troublesome Words is a fun read for word enthusiasts. Written in his usual humorous style, it is full of interesting and in many cases unusual examples of correct English usage, as well as the basics, such as the difference between less and fewer for the surprisingly many that still don't know. Well worth having in your personal reference library.
34 von 35 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A Great Book for All Those Tricky Words 6. Juli 2003
Von Stephen J. Carlson - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This is an excellent book that every serious writer should have in his or her collection. It is an excellent insight into the English language from "a" to "zoom." This book is an update of the 1983 version, and has been substantially improved both in length and in quality.
Bryson's Dictionary is useful when you want to decide whether to use "lay" or "lie," to know the plural of "faux pas," to spell the word "rottweiler," or any of a number of other confusing aspects of the English language.
In addition to the dictionary, the appendix has some rules of getting your punctuation right, which is followed by a bibliography and list for suggested reading (in case this book inspires you to go even deeper into the intricacies of the English language).
My only complaint is that there are some words that I would have liked to see included, but of course it would be impossible to write a book with every single confusing word.
Nonetheless, this book is an invaluable resource to anyone who enjoys writing and enjoys writing well.
32 von 34 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
An enjoyable reference not just for editors 12. Januar 2005
Von Jon H. - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
If you are one of those people who actually care about your writing, then this book is for you. I picked up a copy recently at a bookstore and I've browsed through most of it. I'm embarrassed to say that I found a few words that I had been using incorrectly!

I don't know if I'd really use this book over a 'real' dictionary, but I would definitely consider it if I'm unsure of a definition or the proper usage of a word. I expect that I'll be reviewing this book occasionally to make sure that there isn't some word that I'm slipping up on.

If you are self conscious and concerned about your writing, then pick up this valuable resource. I guarantee you'll be able to find something in the book that you haven't been using properly or misspelling (if that's not the case, then congratulations).
13 von 13 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A Fun Guide to Good English 23. Februar 2001
Von "serracus" - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
This book is entitled either plain "Troublesome Words" or in older editions, "The Penguin Dictionary of Troublesome Words".
For most of us non-Grammarians whose English is instinctive rather than based on intimate knowledge of linguistic rules, trying to improve our English by reading books in grammar or English usage can be quite an ordeal, as most of them are dry and technical. Bill Bryson's book is slim (192 pages in my edition), palatable and great fun. Alphabetically, Mr Bryson sets out the most common mistakes in English spelling, grammar and usage which he has come across. Most of the more obvious "troublesome words" are covered succinctly, clearly and with lashings of humour. Examples: "VERY should be made to pay its way in sentences"; "VARIOUS DIFFERENT is inescapably redundant"; "The Oxford English Dictionary contains 414,825 words. IRREGARDLESS is not one of them." At the end of the book is a section on punctuation. Illustrations of correct and incorrect usage are helpfully given. What adds to the fun is that most illustrations of wrong usage are taken from leading US and UK newspapers and periodicals, and even occasionally from an authority on the language; how nice to see their feet of clay. Another point in this book's favour; Mr Bryson being an American who has spent much of his professional life in the British journalistic profession, sees things from both sides of the Atlantic and does not have an overt bias one way or the other. (Unlike many British who have an almost hysterical aversion to Americanisms.)
While admirable and enjoyable, this book is too short and too personal to serve as a good reference. If you have a particular problem, it may or may not be addressed in this book. (This lack of comprehensiveness is why I give this four stars instead of five.) Nonetheless, anyone who studies and takes to heart the contents of this book will undoubtedly improve his English and will do his tiny part to stem the tide of sloppy and plain bad English which threatens to swamp us all today. It is a shame this book is out of print. I would love to send a copy to every journalist I know.
Finally, I must tell of how my edition of this book unwittingly demonstrates the pervasiveness of bad English and the desperation of the good fight against it. Mr Bryson says "FULSOME is one of the most frequently misused words in English. The sense that is usually accorded it - of being copious or lavish or unstinting - is almost the opposite of the word's dictionary meaning. FULSOME is related to FOUL and means odious and overfull, offensively insincere. 'Fulsome praise', properly used, isn't a lavish tribute; it is unctuous and insincere toadying." In my edition (1997 reissue of the second edition), the back page quotes the Guardian (a leading UK newspaper, for Americans who may not know), as saying "Deserves fulsome praise. Its merit is that it is trying to equate the rules prescribed by good English with the demands of the general consensus." Oh dear, indeed. Sabotaged by one's own publisher.
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