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Language Fears

Walter Nash

19 January 1989
Good English and the Grammarian 
by Sidney Greenbaum.
Longman, 152 pp., £6.95, February 1988, 0 582 29148 8
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Longman Guide to English Usage 
by Sidney Greenbaum and Janet Whitcut.
Longman, 786 pp., £10.95, June 1988, 0 582 55619 8
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Words in Time: A Social History of the English Vocabulary 
by Geoffrey Hughes.
Blackwell, 270 pp., £14.95, May 1988, 0 631 15832 4
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... themselves, but they are not taught to express themselves properly – that is, grammatically. Such wounding encounters have flustered me in the past, but now I shall be able to refer my accusers to SidneyGreenbaum’s Good English and the Grammarian, a collection of papers written with an enviable capacity to appeal alike to the scholarly specialist and the enquiring member of the general public ...
6 November 1980
Studies in English Linguistics for Randolph Quirk 
edited by Sidney Greenbaum and Jan Svartvik.
Longman, 304 pp., £18, September 1980, 0 582 55079 3
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... and before Anglicists throw up their hands in horror, let me assure them that the word is given in the Pocket Oxford Dictionary of Current English) is itself impressive: Noam Chomsky, Ruth Kempson, SidneyGreenbaum, Dwight Bolinger, P.H. Matthews, Sven Jacobson, M.A.K. Halliday, Rodney Huddleston, Geoffrey Leech, Jennifer Coates, F.R. Palmer, R.A. Close, John Sinclair, Jan Firbas, Nils Enkvist, David ...
7 August 1986
The Complete Plain Words 
by Ernest Gowers, edited by Sidney Greenbaum and Janet Whitcut.
HMSO, 288 pp., £5.50, May 1986, 0 11 701121 5
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Educational Linguistics 
by Michael Stubbs.
Blackwell, 286 pp., £25, June 1986, 0 631 13898 6
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... Words (1954), continuing happily into a second edition (1973) under the urbane guardianship of Sir Bruce Fraser; and here it is afresh, deftly revised, with much tact and adroit editorial craft, by SidneyGreenbaum and Janet Whitcut. ‘With this third edition,’ we are told, ‘it has become difficult to enumerate the precise contributions of Gowers, Fraser, Greenbaum and Whitcut. It would be ...

Rules, Rules

Hugh Kenner

18 July 1996
The Oxford English Grammar 
by Sidney Greenbaum.
Oxford, 652 pp., £25, February 1996, 0 19 861250 8
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... from its deadness. I’ve even heard analogies drawn with the way medical students get a fundamental education from the study of corpses. All this by way of prologue to what’s unique about the late SidneyGreenbaum’s Oxford English Grammar. It does not, to begin with, treat the grammar of English as a withered version of the grammar of Latin. Nor does it set forth some rules and then contrive neat ...

Who whom?

Christopher Ricks

6 June 1985
The English Language Today 
edited by Sidney Greenbaum.
Pergamon, 345 pp., £12.50, December 1984, 0 08 031078 8
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The English Language 
by Robert Burchfield.
Oxford, 194 pp., £9.50, January 1985, 9780192191731
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A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language 
by Randolph Quirk, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech and Jan Svartvik.
Longman, 1779 pp., £39.50, May 1985, 0 582 51734 6
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Words 
by John Silverlight.
Macmillan, 107 pp., £17.50, May 1985, 9780333380109
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Faux Amis and Key Words: A Dictionary-Guide to French Language, Culture and Society through Lookalikes and Confusables 
by Philip Thody, Howard Evans and Gwilym Rees.
Athlone, 224 pp., £16, February 1985, 0 485 11243 4
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Puns 
by Walter Redfern.
Blackwell, 234 pp., £14.95, October 1984, 0 631 13793 9
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Fair of Speech: The Uses of Euphemism 
edited by D.J. Enright.
Oxford, 222 pp., £9.95, April 1985, 0 19 212236 3
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... like John Simon, who sometimes seem not only not to mind being disliked but to thrive on it, do not shrink from such acts of authority as will promptly be branded authoritarian – a word wielded in SidneyGreenbaum’s tour de task-force The English Language Today. Conservatives need some of T.S. Eliot’s steeled insouciance: ‘I think the virtue of tolerance is greatly overestimated and I have no ...

Good enough for Jesus

Charlotte Brewer

25 January 1990
The State of the Language: 1990 Edition 
edited by Christopher Ricks and Leonard Michaels.
Faber, 531 pp., £17.50, January 1990, 9780571141821
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Clichés and Coinages 
by Walter Redfern.
Blackwell, 305 pp., £17.50, October 1989, 0 631 15691 7
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Rhetoric: The Wit of Persuasion 
by Walter Nash.
Blackwell, 241 pp., £25, October 1989, 0 631 16754 4
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... the status and possible future of English as a world language, partly about a variety of experiences of the relationships between English and another language. Professional linguists (among them SidneyGreenbaum and Randolph Quirk) jostle with poets and novelists (including Medbh McGuckian and Amy Tan). David Dabydeen writes ‘On Not Being Milton: Nigger Talk in England Today’, and discusses, in ...

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