Accidence Will Happen: The Non-Pedantic Guide to English Usage

Author(s): Oliver Kamm

Gift & Humour

Are standards of English alright - or should that be all right? To knowingly split an infinitive or not to? And what about ending a sentence with preposition, or for that matter beginning one with 'and'? We learn language by instinct, but good English, the pedants tell us, requires rules. Yet, as Oliver Kamm demonstrates, many of the purists' prohibitions are bogus and can be cheerfully disregarded. ACCIDENCE WILL HAPPEN is an authoritative and deeply reassuring guide to grammar, style and the linguistic conundrums we all face.


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Oliver Kamm takes on the pedants in this witty, authoritative and sometimes provocative guide to the use and abuse of the English language.

My new style hero is Oliver Kamm for putting his head above the pedantry parapet and taking on the sticklers in Accidence Will Happen... Kamm celebrates the elasticity of our wonderful English language, and demonstrates that it is precisely the fluidity which makes reading literature - in all its various forms and styles - so exciting -- Caroline Sanderson THE BOOKSELLER 'Book of the Month' This is the most intelligent and entertaining book about the English language I've ever read, one that has transformed how I think about usage. It should be required reading for anyone who loves the language, especially those entrusted to teach it. Pedants are going to hate this book - and quietly take its lessons to heart -- James Shapiro, Professor of English at Columbia University and author of 1599: A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE ACCIDENCE WILL HAPPEN is a unique and indispensable guide to usage. It's distinguished by the author's keen discernment, his reliance on scholarship rather than dogma and superstition, and an ability to cite literary examples of contested constructions that is literally (yes, literally) awesome (yes, awesome) -- Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of THE SENSE OF STYLE: THE THINKING PERSON'S GUIDE TO WRITING IN THE 21st CENTURY The English language is not your enemy and Oliver Kamm is your best friend to help you navigate it. Never has a book on language been so illuminating and funny -- Agnes Poirier, author of TOUCHE! A FRENCH WOMAN'S TAKE ON THE ENGLISH

Oliver Kamm is a chief leader writer and columnist for THE TIMES. As a self-confessed reformed pedant he is the newspaper's unofficial expert on language and style, a subject he tackles in his long-running immensely popular weekly column, 'The Pedant'. View his profile at and follow him on Twitter: @OliverKamm

General Fields

  • : 9780297871934
  • : Orion Publishing Group, Limited
  • : Weidenfeld & Nicolson
  • : 0.348
  • : December 2014
  • : April 2015
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Oliver Kamm
  • : Hardback
  • : 1
  • : en
  • : 320