Spread the Word: Further Writings from the Popular "On Language" Column in the New York Times Magazine

Overview


As William Safire writes in his introduction to Spread the Word, the eleventh book collecting his "On Language" columns from The New York Times Magazine, in language matters "it's a comfort to have a rule." And yet, as he makes clear throughout this entertaining collection,
the question that confronts writers and public speakers daily is deciding when a rule should be applied rigorously to a linguistic ...
See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (29) from $1.99   
  • New (4) from $8.99   
  • Used (25) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing 1 – 3 of 4
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$8.99
Seller since 2009

Feedback rating:

(9)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
1999 Hard cover First edition. Illustrated. New in new dust jacket. Square and tight-Pages bright without marks or plates-Fast shipping Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 320 p. ... Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade. Read more Show Less

Ships from: Henniker, NH

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$32.35
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(257)

Condition: New
Brand New Item.

Ships from: Chatham, NJ

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$45.00
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(136)

Condition: New
Brand new.

Ships from: acton, MA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing 1 – 3 of 4
Close
Sort by
Sending request ...

Overview


As William Safire writes in his introduction to Spread the Word, the eleventh book collecting his "On Language" columns from The New York Times Magazine, in language matters "it's a comfort to have a rule." And yet, as he makes clear throughout this entertaining collection,
the question that confronts writers and public speakers daily is deciding when a rule should be applied rigorously to a linguistic dilemma, and when that rule is best sidelined by common sense.

In the two decades that Safire has entertained and enlightened readers of his weekly column, he has consistently enlivened our national conversation about what's new and what's acceptable in language. In Spread the Word, he adroitly dissects the evolution of current phrases, verbal trends, and the origins of colloquialisms that often go unexamined. He tackles all topics, from the habits of newspaper editorial writers to teenagers' argot to the often tortured speech of politicians.

Here, Safire examines such conundrums as the origin of There is no free lunch; the correct use of among and between; the evolution of the word babe; the subtle distinctions between diddly squat, diddle-daddle, and just plain diddle; the meaning of bad hair day, tough sell, hard love, and shoulda, coulda, woulda; the vogue status of such words as daunting, same-old-same-old, and dope; and the inherent humor of bananas.

In this vigorous and erudite assemblage, which is organized alphabetically by topic, Safire shares his infectious curiosity about how we use words with an approach that is often amusing and always thought-provoking. In fact, "On Language" columns often elicit passionate commentsfrom Safire's readers, the Lexicographic Irregulars. A lively selection of their letters on specific linguistic issues is interspersed throughout the book.

From a reader in Providence, Rhode Island, "on the indispensability of the hyphen: Personals ads seem to be a goldmine of casual usage, never proofread and seldom submitted to grammarians for grading. One gem was from a man who started describing himself as a BIG FIRM ATTORNEY."

And this from Fred Cassidy, chief editor of The Dictionary of American Regional English: "Your picture of the stupid dog not responding to the command 'sic 'em' reminds me of the corresponding cat story of the man who had made three holes in the bottom of his door so that his cats could come and go when the door was closed. An efficiency-minded neighbor asked him, Couldn't all your cats use a single hole? 'No!' he glared. 'When I say scat I mean scat!'"

Shown by the many letters included here—and in the delight that the Gotcha! Gang takes in correcting America's foremost language maven—readers take great enjoyment in the national dialogue that William Safire fosters about words every week.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Here are two new books by well-known columnists/language mavens. Safire is funny, thought-provoking, and, after 20 years of writing columns for the New York Times Magazine, an American institution. Gathering these columns and including many letters from readers, his book focuses on the way our language was used historically and how it is used now. The columns are clever and highly readable, and some of the letters from readers are just as much fun. Wallraff has been writing her witty column for The Atlantic Monthly for many years. Partly a style and usage manual that will be valuable for reference and on the corner of a writing desk, this book is also a written lecture by a great English teacher. Safire and Wallraff cover some of the same ground and sometimes differ, one notable example being the use of the article an before words that start with h such as historian. The best part of these books is, in most instances, that the "right" usage is not as important as reading about how the authors formed their opinions. Safire may have a slight edge owing to name recognition, but both books will put smiles on many a reader's face.--Lisa J. Cihlar, Monroe P.L., WI Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The 11th volume of the cunning linguist's New York Times Magazine "On Language" columns. Safire is more than a witty journalist covering grammar and usage, as his fiction (Sleeper Spy, 1995) and nonfiction (The First Dissident, 1992) attest. The Pulitzer-winning political pundit fuses politics and linguistics when discussing "the need to reject the no-longer-pertinent language of the cold war." In high-ranking Washington company, Safire hears America's newly global policies described as "enlargement," but he prefers the less pathological "engagement." He wonders whether pundits should call pro-Communist Russians left- or right-wingers. Elsewhere, his research outflanks a writer who deems the term "philistine" insensitive to Palestinians. Most of the book celebrates language for its own sake. Only Safire could contemplate the hole of a doughnut thus: "Where was I? Yes. Where is the toroidal quality in a nut? (Only a few moments ago, you would not have understood that question)." The reader soon confronts holey bagels and Life Savers, as well as a dunk into the etymology of the donut (a legitimate variant, we're told). Much of the fun of reading Safire's mail is the many "incorrections," or inaccurate corrections. With an ear to pronunciation, we learn that some say "PRAH-sess," while the more logical Brits say "PROH-sess." Quoting from TV Guide, Roseanne, or Hillary Clinton, Safire champions spoken language and attacks politically correct atrocities, like one that would turn zoos into Wildlife Conservation Parks. Not that Safire is opposed to new coinages. These articles are mad with serious and invented neologisms like "Pun jab" and new definitions, such as "news junkies" as"consumers of junk food for thought." In 20 years on the language beat, Safire has waged a delightful battle for correct but common English, taking on its petrifaction with such defiant phrases as: "You'd think the Brits invented it."
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812932539
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/1/1999
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.35 (w) x 9.48 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Meet the Author

William Safire, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary, has been a newspaper reporter, a White House speechwriter, a lexicographer, an anthologist, and a bestselling novelist. In addition to his weekly column, "On Language," for The New York Times Magazine, his primary post is political columnist for The New York Times.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)