An entertaining and informative guide to the most common 150 words even smart people use incorrectly, along with pithy forays into their fascinating etymologies and tangled histories of use and misuse.
With the rise of grammar police and usage snobs, this book saves you from sticky linguistic situations--and provides fascinating cocktail-party anecdotes. As evinced by grammar-shaming examples from real offenders who should know better (New York Times, we're looking at you), even educated people can sometimes be befuddled by usage questions. Each entry also includes short histories of how and why these mistake have happened, some of the (often surprisingly nasty) debates about which uses are (and are not) mistakes, and finally, how to use these words correctly. By the end of this book, every literati will be able to confidently use a priori, facetious, factoid, meteorite, unique, and the other top words that are used incorrectly every day.