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4.6 out of 5 stars
Anguished English: An Anthology of Accidental Assualts Upon Our Language
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52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon September 6, 2007
This book contains headlines, malapropisms, school essays, parental notes to teachers, lawyer-witness dialogues, signs and other assaults on the English language that provide hours of chuckles and retelling to those who have not read it.

When you read a want ad that says: "Mixing bowl set designed to please a cook with round bottom for efficient beating," or the headline "Stiff Opposition Expected to Casketless Funeral Plan," you have to laugh.

It also reminds me of what a boss once told me: You can always deny what you said; you can never deny what you wrote.

This book is "overpriced, and worth every penny of it."

You can buy this at Amazon which is on sale for $7.95.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2000
Not only is this book side-splitting hilarious, but it is also a valuable tool for teaching my kids about grammar and English usage.
Every time our kids would read, "Missing masterpiece found by tree" (an actual headline) or "Texas Colleges still a Bargain, Education Extra," and go into paroxysms of laughter, I knew they were also learning something about sentence structure. So it's a great book to give to kids age 11 - 17.
Sometimes people are reluctant to buy humor books because they think that if they've read it once, it won't be funny enough to pick up again. Not so with this book. Crack it open at random and you'll laugh as hard as the first time.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2001
...and I've read lots of funny books. This book has me doubled over every time I read it. The intro suggests that you shouldn't read it all at one sitting, but do it anyway- as long as you haven't had stitches lately- you'll break them for sure. I heard Mr. Lederer speak at the Irving Public Library in Irving Texas and his talk was funny enough to convince me to buy books. But the books themselves are PRICELESS! I can't read it in bed if my husband is trying to read or sleep- I can't keep from laughing. Buy the rest of the series, too. Oh, but if you keep a copy in the bathroom people will wonder what you're doing in there.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2005
As a compendium of humorous ways that people misuse the English language, "Anguished English" is comprehensive, if not superb. Lederer treats various categories of language errors - bloopers, mixed metaphors, mistranslations , etc. - in separate chapters. "The World According to Student Bloopers" -- a running history of the world allegedly taken from real student written responses -- is often hilarious. Who knew that King Solomon had 300 wives and 700 porcupines, or that Sir Francis Drake *circumcised* the world with a 100-foot clipper? I also enjoyed the chapter on two-headed headlines, some of which took some work to uncover their second meaning. "IKE SAYS NIXON CAN'T STAND PAT" is fairly obvious, but "CARTER PLANS SWELL DEFICIT" took a second or two to puzzle out.

The biggest drawback to the book is that other than or Lederer's short and sometimes forced introductions to each chapter, the book is basically a series of lists, ordered by topic, with no indication of source. Though written in 1978 before the Internet truly got underway, the book often resembles the annoying "funny" e-mails that circulate today on the web. In Lederer's defense, I suspect that some of today's e-mails are actually rip-off's of "Anguished English." But it would have added to his efforts if he had described the process of accumulating his trove of malapropisms, informing us about the source, rather than just laying them out, naked on the ice, as it were. That would have given the reader a bit more to chew on than the warmed over fare offered here, some of which seem too perfect to be true. For instance, it's hard to believe that the journalist who wrote, "IS THERE A RING OF DEBRIS AROUND URANUS?" didn't know exactly what he/she was doing. Yet this headline is offered as an unintentional mistake.

For all its faults and excesses, "Anguished English" is fun and sometimes interesting. Consider it a good buy for a young person interested in learning the subtleties of the English language by studying its misuse
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 1999
I picked this one up at Borders and started to read at ramdom. Within seconds I was laughing out loud right there in the book aisle. I had to buy it. When I read it at home, I had to do it in short hops because my stomach would hurt from laughing. It's a keeper. Definitely a great one for all who love our language - and having fun with it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 1999
Great book! Truely one of the funniest books I have ever read -- and one of the few I purchase on a regular basis (I loose all my copies by lending them out to my friends). In particular, I remember reading this book in the Atlanta airport waiting for my next flight and within minutes was on the terminal floor in a siezure of laughter -- several people even stopped me to get the name of the book so they could get a copy too.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 22, 2000
Without a doubt if you were to pick up this book, it would definately be for the chapter of the History According to Student Bloopers. Some of the funniest bits of comedy you will come across in a long time. Who could forget such non-sensical thinking from students such as "Handel was half German, half Italian, and half English." Or "Beethoven expired in 1827 and later died for this." Just a great read and even funnier when read out loud to a few of your friends. Aside, there is the popular court case transcriptions of stupid lawyers who are too busy analyzing words and not realizing their lack of common sense. There are other funny, funny chapters that will have you rolling. Its actually tough to read in one sitting because you will be too busy laughing (and the author advises you should not read it all at once). A classic in the degradation of the English language and one you will read over and over with a chuckle every time!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2001
This book makes regular appearences at our house every holiday. Sooner or later someone pulls it off the shelf and starts reading choice bits aloud, and shortly the whole room is rolling on the floor. It's great fun to read by yourself, but for best effect try reading aloud to someone. Our rule is that when someone can't complete a quote because they're laughing too hard, they pass the book to the next reader, and it's rare for one person to keep the book more than about five minutes. Especially recommended for pun lovers.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2007
My mom has had this book for years, and it is no wonder she never got rid of it even though it is now brutally beaten up. Organized into sections, the bloopers people have made in essays, signs, even newspapers are worth buying this book for because of how shockingly hilarious they can be. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is fluent in English and has even a little sense of humor. It will keep you entertained for a long tme.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2005
This book is a great wonderful reminder that everyone makes mistakes, and the are often quite funny! Anguished English will keep you in stitches. The "History of the World" as given through student essays is particularly interesting. Until now, I had no idea that the residents of Moscow were called Mosquitoes! Even more outrageous "facts" can be found throughout this delightful look at the English language.
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