|Book of the Month|
|Grammar Girl's 101 Words to Sound Smart|
If you are an English language student who has not yet met the 'Grammar Girl' then you should. Mignon Fogarty has made a name for herself in podcasts, articles and books as one of the most likeable people to talk about English. She is not some remote professor, but an ordinary person who has a very obvious love of the language. This book is one of her 'Quick and Dirty Tips' series which includes 101 Troublesome Words You'll Master in no Time and 101 Misused words You'll Never Confuse Again'. Admittedly, for this series Ms Fogarty might do better to introduce herself as 'Vocabulary Girl' because there is no actual grammar discussed here. Nevertheless the 101 words are indeed a useful set - not so much because you might want to use them as because other people do, for example in newspaper articles and TV interviews, so they are definitely worth knowing.
This is a slim book of 120 pages. It would be even slimmer if many pages did not have line drawings which fill a lot of the space. The pictures usually do a good job of demonstrating the meaning of the word, though you might wonder why aardvarks usually do the demonstrating. (It's because the podcasts and articles usually give 'Aardvark' and 'Squiggly' as their exemplars. For example 'Aardvark asked Squiggly to explain a synecdoche.') The book begins with a short introduction in which the author explains - in typical prose - that sometimes a 'five-dollar word' is much superior to a more common and shorter one. And this is true, because some of the less common English words do contain meaning that you would otherwise need a sentence to explain.
Who is this book for? Well, the book is exactly what the title says. You can use the 101 words to sound smart, but if you really are smart,then words like this will find their way into your vocabulary anyway, and if you are not smart no amount of 'five-dollar words' will fool people for long. So a better use of this book is by people who want to know what smart people are talking about. And the words are fun ones to know. They will certainly impress a teacher or an examiner if they are used correctly in conversation or an essay. Six dollars is a lot to pay for 101 words, but you will certainly count it as money well-spent if for example, you afterwards know enough to avoid a 'louche' restaurant or bar.
|Verdict: As the title says
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