Thursday, May 22, 2014

Yes, I Could Care Less

Yes, I Could Care Less: How to Be a Language Snob Without Being a Jerk
Bill Walsh
St. Martin's Griffing, 2013. 288 pages. Nonfiction.

Walsh, a seasoned copy editor, brings to light the crimes against the English perpetrated on a daily basis. He seeks to find the balance between a rigid adherence to the rules and complete linguistic anarchy, a middle ground that allows for error and yet still strives for greater accuracy.

I had high hopes for this book when I started it. I've done freelance copy editing and feel like I have a fairly good grammatical grasp of the English language. I've also read other recent books on grammar and punctuation that have been both informative and entertaining. This book fell short. The tone was very scholarly, yet he kept punctuating the text with jokes that weren't actually funny. And after a 25-page debate in the first chapter on whether it was more acceptable to use "I could care less" or "I couldn't care less," I found that I really could (or couldn't, depending on how you lean in the argument) care less what he said in the rest of the book, although I manfully struggled along to see if it would improve. A disappointing read.


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