Go ahead and enter “English” in Google, then click the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button. You’ll end up at Paul Brians’ “Common Errors in English” web site, the basis for the book Common Errors in English Usage.
We think this is significant. As a Pacific Northwest book publisher, we’re proud that a Washington State University professor has become the go-to guy on the web for straightforward answers to straightforward questions about English usage (Al Jaffee fans can get other kinds of answers elsewhere). On this point, at least, we can compete with Oxford and Cambridge, Harvard and Yale.
If you do any writing at all, this book belongs on your reference shelf, but for that matter, it may belong in your backpack. As one Amazon reviewer put it: “I bought this as a gift for my English major daughter as a pick-me-up, and it was a huge hit!”
Paul Brians has a knack for keeping his advice relevant and easy-to-digest; in many cases he points out that where some usage is perfectly fine among most users, it is still frowned upon only by the most tradition-bound users (and keep in mind, your teacher or your boss may be one of them!).
Most winning of all is Paul’s wry humor. If you’ve ever felt intimidated by a usage guide, it must not have been this one. As Jack Miles said, “When he gives you the right answer, he sends you off chuckling—a winning combination.”
Order Common Errors in English Usage online through William, James & Company on our secure site. We offer volume discounts, and shipping is free and timely in the continental U.S.