Accidence Will Happen

Accidence Will Happen

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
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Genre: Language / Language: Reference & General

On Sale: 22nd October 2015

Price: £9.99

ISBN-13: 9781780227955

Reviews

The most intelligent and entertaining book about the English language I've ever read, one that has transformed how I think about usage. It should be required reading for anyone who loves the language, especially those entrusted to teach it. Pedants are going to hate this book - and quietly take its lessons to heart
James Shapiro, Professor of English at Columbia University and author of 1599: A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
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
TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
A clear and well-informed dismantling of some of the most frequent pedantic peeves. A handy book for anyone teaching English
TEACHING ENGLISH
An immensely intelligent and playful polemic, cheeky and erudite by turns...certainly gets the blood pumping, so do read it
THE TIMES
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
THE SUNDAY TIMES
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
THE SPECTATOR
My new style hero is Oliver Kamm for putting his head above the pedantry parapet and taking on the sticklers in Accidence Will Happen... Kamm celebrates the elasticity of our wonderful English language, and demonstrates that it is precisely the fluidity which makes reading literature - in all its various forms and styles - so exciting
Caroline Sanderson, THE BOOKSELLER 'Book of the Month'
A unique and indispensable guide to usage. It's distinguished by the author's keen discernment, his reliance on scholarship rather than dogma and superstition, and an ability to cite literary examples of contested constructions that is literally (yes, literally) awesome (yes, awesome)
STEVEN PINKER
The English language is not your enemy and Oliver Kamm is your best friend to help you navigate it. Never has a book on language been so illuminating and funny
Agnés Poirier, author of TOUCHÉ! A FRENCH WOMAN'S TAKE ON THE ENGLISH
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
TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION SUPPLEMENT
Informed by astonishing erudition on the history and grammar of the English language
Steven Pinker, OBSERVER
Kamm's tolerance is certainly more preferable to the bigotry of sticklers who treat grammatical lapses as crimes or sins
OBSERVER
Kamm's case against the pedants is compelling ... and he really does manage to make pedants look ridiculous
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
A superb book, and I challenge any pedant to read it and not emerge with a more liberal view on usage
INDEPENDENT
[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
THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH