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On Language Paperback – December 1, 1981

ISBN-13: 978-0380564576 ISBN-10: 0380564572

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Avon Books (P) (December 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380564572
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380564576
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #418,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William Safire began his writing career as a reporter, became a speechwriter in the Nixon White House, and re-crossed the street to write an Op-Ed column in the New York Times for the next three decades. He also wrote the weekly "On Language" column in the New York Times Magazine. He was a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for commentary and the Medal of Freedom.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ted L. Glines on June 11, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
At the end of 1979, the late William Safire wrote the "On Language" column for the New York Times Magazine. Proper word-usage ["who" vs. "whom" ... etc.] was his realm of expertise, and his column contained essential style information for his readers, who often submitted comments and corrections. Both the column and the reader-feedback were combined alphabetically into a rich dialogue in this book, copyrighted 1980 and published by AVON BOOKS in December 1981. I am reminded that major publications often have an official style-sheet; lengthy and detailed word- and punctuation-usage which will be adhered to in material they approve for publication. What a shame it may be to have your excellent story or essay or poem rejected because it contained erroneous usage of punctuations or words. This can happen. Even though Safire's "On Language" was copyrighted in 1980, its guidelines still apply, and this book should be a must-read for writers who wish to be published today.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Claude Lambert on September 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Yes, yes it is full of good advice, but it is also very funny, not just thanks to Safire himself but to his readers. The book is indeed published with the comments of the readers, and it make me think that most were so much polite and smarter than the readers of the New York Times today, who are rude and not well informed.
For instance, there is a note by Safire on the use of the terms home and house. One commentator writes;" Dear Bill, you referred to Polly Adler as a courtesan. Would she not more properly be referred to as a Madam? Or do you know something about Polly that I don't?"
This comes about because Mrs. Adler of dubious fame wrote a book of memoirs entitled "A House Is Not a Home" in the 50s.
The comments on jargon, and the various words used or disused by the government are just instructive and very funny.
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Format: Paperback
This is a compilation of On Language NYT columns from around 1980, by the late and much missed William Safire. Amazingly, almost all the material has aged well and is relevant today. Moreover, the wit and humanity of the author (not just a "writer"; sorry, Mr. Safire, have to disagree with you on this one) clearly shine through.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Janice T. Uttley on November 2, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
William Safire was a genius with telling us what the English language was all about. And how to use it effectively.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Aureliano B on August 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been a faithful reader of Bill Safire's column for years and so, when I saw this deeply discounted I could not resist.
Problem is, language changes and a work such as this accurate as it is, is just not very relevant and can't take modern usage into account. If you love language, better pay full price for a contemporary guide to usage. Bill was the best in his time. But that time is past.
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