A journalist, teacher at St. Paul's School in Concord, N.H., and public-radio commentator, Lederer ( Anguished English ; Get Thee to a Punnery ) again adroitly mixes instruction with hilarity by showing that English, though the richest and most widely used of all the world's languages, is "crazy." The text is a dazzling collection of anagrams, alliterations, idioms, illogical spelling rules (bough, ghost, honor, rhyme) and larky oxymora (Chaucer's classic "hateful good," today's "military intelligence," "postal service") . Verses, quizzes and anecdotes accompany Lederer's essays on "the antics of semantics," greatly expanding the pleasure of what he correctly claims is "the ultimate joy ride through our language." Doubleday Book Club and Literary Guild alternates; author tour.
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