Accidence Will Happen

ebook / ISBN-13: 9780297871941

Price: £10.99

ON SALE: 12th February 2015

Genre: Language / Language: Reference & General

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Are standards of English alright – or should that be all right?
To knowingly split an infinitive or not to?
And what about ending a sentence with preposition, or for that matter beginning one with ‘and’?

We learn language by instinct, but good English, the pedants tell us, requires rules. Yet, as Oliver Kamm demonstrates, many of the purists’ prohibitions are bogus and can be cheerfully disregarded. ACCIDENCE WILL HAPPEN is an authoritative and deeply reassuring guide to grammar, style and the linguistic conundrums we all face.

‘A unique and indispensable guide to usage’ STEVEN PINKER

‘An immensely intelligent and playful polemic, cheeky and erudite by turns…certainly gets the blood pumping, so do read it’ THE TIMES

‘A superb book’ INDEPENDENT


This book came as a great relief. Although I feared I had a shaky grasp of formal grammar, Kamm reassures me that I have - in fact - acquired mastery as a native English speaker. With bracing confidence, he lays into pedants, sticklers and prescriptivists everywhere. Nevertheless, he's no anarchist: this book provides invaluable advice on writing with style, wit and verve
Informed by astonishing erudition on the history and grammar of the English language
Steven Pinker, OBSERVER
Entertaining and refreshing...a welcome corrective to the notion that there is an objective standard we should strive for, and a celebration of a language in flux
A clear and well-informed dismantling of some of the most frequent pedantic peeves. A handy book for anyone teaching English
Kamm's tolerance is certainly more preferable to the bigotry of sticklers who treat grammatical lapses as crimes or sins
Delights by its puncturing of pomposity...and its identification of pronouncements that have no foundation in scholarship. It leaves the reader clear that debate in print about English usage is a branch of both entertainment and politics
Kamm's case against the pedants is compelling ... and he really does manage to make pedants look ridiculous
[Kamm's] case against the pedants is compelling: peddling made-up rules, they either stray into contradiction or are forced to denounce Milton as sloppy
A superb book, and I challenge any pedant to read it and not emerge with a more liberal view on usage
A joyous and joyously liberating assault on the 'rules' of grammar which are little more than a hodgepodge of contradictory superstitions. Kamm's weapons are erudition and raw polemical vigour...It is the most sensible style guide I have read, not least because Kamm always puts clarity first. I have only had ACCIDENCE WILL HAPPEN for a week, and have already referred to it dozens of times