What's an alibi, a bete noire, a celibate, a dilemma? Should underway be two words? Is the word meretricious worth using at all? How do you spell realise - with an s or a z - and should bete be bê te? Should you split infinitives, end sentences with prepositions, start them with conjunctions? What about four-letter words, euphemisms, foreign words, cliché s, slang, jargon? And does the Queen speak the Queen's English?
In "Quite literally," Wynford Hicks answers questions like these. This is a guide to English usage for readers and writers, professional and amateur, established and aspiring, formal trainees and those trying to break in; students of English, both language and literature, and their teachers.
It concentrates on writing rather than speech. But the advice given on how to use words in writing can usually be applied to formal speech - what is carefully considered, broadcast, presented, scripted or prepared for delivery to a public audience - as opposed to informal, colloquial speech.
The book is intended to be practical - and also fun. Whether you want to improve your writing for professional purposes or simply enjoy exploring the highways and byways of English usage, you will find this book invaluable.
Published: 4th June 2004