Cover image for How to tell fate from destiny : and other skillful word distinctions / by Charles Harrington Elster.
Title:
How to tell fate from destiny : and other skillful word distinctions / by Charles Harrington Elster.
ISBN:
9781328884077
Publication Information:
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018.
Physical Description:
viii, 213 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm.
Abstract:
"If you have trouble distinguishing the verbs imitate and emulate, the relative pronouns that and which, or the adjectives pliant, pliable, and supple, never fear--How to Tell Fate from Destiny is here to help! With more than 500 headwords, the book is replete with advice on how to differentiate commonly confused words and steer clear of verbal trouble"-- Provided by publisher.
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Summary

Summary

If you have trouble distinguishing the verbs imitate and emulate , the relative pronouns that and which , or the adjectives pliant, pliable, and supple , never fear-- How to Tell Fate from Destiny is here to help! With more than 500 headwords, the book is replete with advice on how to differentiate commonly confused words and steer clear of verbal trouble.

Whether you're a boomer , a Gen-Xer , or a millennial , if you peruse , browse , or even skim these spindrift pages you will (not shall ) become versed in the fine art of differentiation. You will learn, for example,

â- how to tell whether you suffer from pride , vanity , or hubris
â- how to tell whether you're contagious or infectious
â- how to tell if you're pitiful or pitiable
â- how to tell if you're self-centered or self-absorbed
â- how to live an ethical life in a moral universe


Author Notes

CHARLES HARRINGTON ELSTER is a nationally recognized expert on the English language. He is the pronunciation editor of Black's Law Dictionary and a consultant for Garner's Modern English Usage. His articles have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the Boston Globe, the Wall Street Journal, and other publications, and he has published eleven books on the English language for a general audience.


Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Elster's entertaining and instructive resource offers helpful suggestions for distinguishing between words often misused in conversation or writing. Elster points out that even professionals are vulnerable to error, as in this quote from the Guardian: "Tweets are stored on the device so you can keep reading even if you loose [lose] your phone signal." In each of the book's alphabetical entries, he includes two or more words that are confused, accompanied by clear examples and detailed explanations of the distinction between them. For instance, he writes, "to convince" means to "make someone believe something," while "to persuade" means "to make someone take action." The book includes entries both for words commonly used in conversation or writing-such as "amount, number"; "its, it's"-and for those less commonly used- "capacious, commodious"; "auger, augur." Elster can be cheeky, as when he decries the use of "empathy" as a "trendy substitute" for "sympathy": "sympathy is what you should feel for someone who displays a flashy word when an ordinary one is called for. Empathy is what you should feel when you've been making the same stupid mistake yourself." This appealing book will help readers over countless lexical stumbling blocks, and encourage clearer and more precise speaking and writing. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.