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Collins Complete Writing Guide

Sabine Schneider
Sabine Schneider
Recommended: Collins Complete Writing Guide
Recommended: Collins Complete Writing Guide

What a cracker! This fat little paperback has taught me more about good writing than all the How-to-write-good-English guides I’ve read put together. It’s not a new book, just a revised and updated edition of what was first The Times Writer’s Guide and then The Collins Good Writing Guide. It was good the first two rounds, and it’s even better now because it includes access to online and mobile functions.

The author, the late Graham King, developed a series of guides on English usage in the early 1990s. He wanted to help readers use English with accuracy and flair. Later these guides were published to present practical and user-friendly advice in one volume.

The guide is comprehensive, covering many aspects of grammar, punctuation and spelling. It also helps readers expand their vocabulary by inserting little quizzes: For example, which one is the correct meaning of the word homily? Is it a) a religious painting intended for the home; b) a moral lesson; or c) a coarse flour made from barley? I knew it’s not the flour, which is called hominy and usually made from maize and not from barley. It turned out to be the moral lesson, but I honestly didn’t know that.

The guide has some more gems: As luck would have it the avid reader is reminded that at the end of the day he or she should avoid cliches like the plague.

Also entertaining is the section on confusable words, such as immigrant and emigrant, plaintiff and plaintive, temporal and temporary.

Incorrect spellings make me cringe, but admittedly there are a lot of words that are notoriously difficult. What about diarrhoea, eczema, bureaucracy, anonymous, nauseous, and spontaneity? Unassailably unapproachable.

If you want to build meaningful and elegant sentences, if you want to say what you mean, if you want to widen your scope of expression – this book is your perfect companion. It’s an enjoyable read that will improve your English.

Published by Harper Collins.

This book is available from Fishpond

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Good choice! This is out of

Good choice! This is out of print but is still available from Amazon,Abe books or Alibis, and is a favorite of mine.Alphabetical and similar in format to Fowler,it shows repeatedly that clear thinking and good grammar go hand in hand.Heaps of examples from radio, newspapers and magazines.The author,Harry Blamires, provides an enjoyable and painless commentary on what constitutes good English.

Hi Patrick, thanks for that.

Hi Patrick, thanks for that. I hadn't heard of the Cassell's guide. It sounds like a book I should be using. Because English is not my first language I'm often making it up as I go and I'm sure I make mistakes all the time. As for the mischief makers: The fact that they don't leave any constructive feedback says it all. Don't worry about it. I don't. Thanks again. Sabine

I've had a quick look at the

I've had a quick look at the "Times" version held at our local library,and I agree with your assesment. And I'm buying it from either Mighty Ape or Fishpond. As a lover of the English language the following are on my bookshelf : The two volume Shorter Oxford Dictionary.The three editions of Fowlers Modern English useage. David Crystal's,The Cambridge Encyyclopedia of the English Language. The Cassell "Guide to Common Errors in English" Strunk's "The Elements of Style".And Sir Ernest Gower's "The Complete Plain Words." As for the votes against : either a mischief maker,or clearly cast by those unqualified to judge.

Hi Anonymous, sorry for the

Hi Anonymous, sorry for the tardy reply. I moved and only got an internet connection the other day. The book is distributed in New Zealand by Harper Collins and you should be able to find it.

I've found the bookshop chains often employ "unbooky" staff, so try a small independent bookshop where people work who are actually interested in books and know where to look ... Not sure where you are, so try the Womens' Bookshop in Ponsonby if you're in Auckland, Unity on Willis Street if you're in Wellington and Scorpio on Hereford Street if you're in Christchurch. If you're anywhere else, ask around or go online: has it and so has and so has

Why the review received so many thumbs down is beyond me. I don't think it's THAT controversial... But I guess some people get really animated when they see a red thumb and feel compelled to add one.

your critique on the book

your critique on the book Collins Complete Guide to Writing caught my attention, however, the book is NOWHERE to be found! Borders, nor even Amazon have ever heard of it. So, since you've obviously had this book in your posession, praytell, where can the rest of us find it?

curious why it recieved 10 thumbs down?