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Anguished English: An Anthology of Accidental Assualts Upon Our Language Mass Market Paperback – August 5, 1989


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Anguished English: An Anthology of Accidental Assualts Upon Our Language + More Anguished English: an Expose of Embarrassing Excruciating, and Egregious Errors in English + The Bride of Anguished English: A Bonanza of Bloopers, Blunders, Botches, and Boo-Boos
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Dell; Reprint edition (August 5, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044020352X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440203520
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 4.2 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Anguished English is the impossibly funny anthology of accidental assaults upon our language. From bloopers and blunders to Signs of the Times to Mixed Up Metaphors...from Two-Headed Headlines to Mangling Modifiers, here is an outrageous treasury of assaults upon our common language that will leave you roaring with delight and laughter.

From the Inside Flap

Anguished English is the impossibly funny anthology of accidental assaults upon our language. From bloopers and blunders to Signs of the Times to Mixed Up Metaphors...from Two-Headed Headlines to Mangling Modifiers, here is an outrageous treasury of assaults upon our common language that will leave you roaring with delight and laughter.

More About the Author

Richard Lederer is a fly-by-the-roof-of-the-mouth verbivore, logolept, and wordaholic, perhaps the most wordstruck, word bethumped wordaholic you may ever encounter.

Dr. Lederer is the author of more than 40 books about language, history, and humor, including his best-selling ANGUISHED ENGLISH series and his current books, AMERICAN TRIVIA, AMAZING WORDS, HILARIOUS HOLIDAY HUMOR, and THE BIG BOOK OF WORDPLAY CROSSWORDS. His works range from bloopers and puns to word origins and word games to pets and American history.

With Charles Harrington Elster, Richard Lederer is founding co-host of "A Way With Words" on National Public Radio. His language columns appear in newspapers and magazines throughout the United States, including the San Diego UNION-TRIBUNE.

Richard Lederer has been named International Punster of the Year and Toastmasters International's Golden Gavel winner.

Customer Reviews

I enjoy giving copies for gifts.
Judith Ford
You may have read a chapter of "Anguished English" already, as part of the famed chain e-mail and internet joke "History according to Students" or something like that.
charles morgan, music fanatic
I could not stop laughing once I started to read this book.
Indiana Jones

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Edwin C. Pauzer VINE VOICE on September 6, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
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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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Renee Thorpe on June 13, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
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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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Yellow on February 17, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
...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 By Jean E. Pouliot on August 23, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
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.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By "marble" on December 16, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
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 By Jason G. Taylor on December 6, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
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 By rareoopdvds VINE VOICE on November 22, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
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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