Says Who?: A Kinder, Funner Usage Guide for Everyone Who Cares About Words (Hardcover)

Says Who?: A Kinder, Funner Usage Guide for Everyone Who Cares About Words By Anne Curzan Cover Image

Says Who?: A Kinder, Funner Usage Guide for Everyone Who Cares About Words (Hardcover)

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A kinder, funner usage guide to the ever-changing English language and a useful tool for both the grammar stickler and the more colloquial user of English, from linguist and veteran professor Anne Curzan
 
“I was bowled over, page after page, by the author’s fine ear for our language and her openhearted erudition. I learned a lot, and I couldn’t have enjoyed myself more.”—Benjamin Dreyer, New York Times bestselling author of Dreyer’s English

Our use of language naturally evolves and is a living, breathing thing that reflects who we are. Says Who? offers clear, nuanced guidance that goes beyond “right” and “wrong” to empower us to make informed language choices. Never snooty or scoldy (yes, that’s a “real” word!), this book explains where the grammar rules we learned in school actually come from and reveals the forces that drive dictionary editors to label certain words as slang or unacceptable.

Linguist and veteran English professor Anne Curzan equips readers with the tools they need to adeptly manage (a split infinitive?! You betcha!) formal and informal writing and speaking. After all, we don’t want to be caught wearing our linguistic pajamas to a job interview any more than we want to show up for a backyard barbecue in a verbal tux, asking, “To whom shall I pass the ketchup?” Curzan helps us use our new knowledge about the developing nature of language and grammar rules to become caretakers of language rather than gatekeepers of it. Applying entertaining examples from literature, newspapers, television, and more, Curzan welcomes usage novices and encourages the language police to lower their pens, showing us how we can care about language precision, clarity, and inclusion all at the same time.

With lively humor and humanity, Says Who? is a pragmatic and accessible key that reveals how our choices about language usage can be a powerful force for equity and personal expression. For proud grammar sticklers and self-conscious writers alike, Curzan makes nerding out about language fun.
Anne Curzan is the Geneva Smitherman Collegiate Professor of English Language and Literature, Linguistics, and Education and an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor at the University of Michigan, where she also currently serves as the dean of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.
Product Details ISBN: 9780593444092
ISBN-10: 0593444094
Publisher: Crown
Publication Date: March 26th, 2024
Pages: 336
Language: English
“Anne Curzan’s Says Who? is a thoughtful, charming tour of English as it is spoken, English as it is written, and English as it is fussed over and fought about. I was bowled over, page after page, by the author’s fine ear for our language and her openhearted erudition. I learned a lot, and I couldn’t have enjoyed myself more.”—Benjamin Dreyer, New York Times bestselling author of Dreyer’s English

Says Who? is truly a ‘kinder, funner’ grammar book, a refreshing and forgiving take on rules and convention, while also being an entertaining read.”—Abraham Verghese, author of The Covenant of Water

“Readers will be sighing in relief, because this kind, informative book quashes the grammar rumors that block the way to communication and art.”—Ellen Jovin, author of the national bestseller Rebel with a Clause

“Anne Curzan has accomplished the feat of addressing every possible language peeve anyone ever has, each one in tasty chapters not too short and not too long. No one could follow it: it's a mic-drop.”—John McWhorter, New York Times bestselling author of Nine Nasty Words

“Logophiles and the linguistically trepidatious alike will appreciate Curzan’s deep dives into the history of knotty constructions, as well as the commonsense and compassionate advice about navigating it all without shame—or without shaming others. Would that we all had a grammar teacher as approachable, knowledgeable, and excited by English as Anne Curzan.”—Kory Stamper, author of Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries

“A delightful exploration of the quirks and controversies in the English language . . . Whether you embrace your inner ‘grammando’ or inner ‘wordie,’ Says Who? is sure to satisfy anyone curious about language’s ever-shifting landscape.”—Ben Zimmer, language columnist for The Wall Street Journal

“As a guide through the labyrinth of language, Curzan provides a road map that makes for an enjoyable, informative journey.”Kirkus Review (starred review)

“Spirited . . . Chock-full of fascinating trivia and persuasively argued, this will give grammar sticklers pause.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Curzan lays forth her incomparable erudition with deft lightheartedness that will appeal to wordies at all levels.”Booklist (starred review)