On Language (series)

On Language; William Safire.

The following books are compilations of William Safire’s language column which appears each Sunday in the New York Times Magazine. Safire is probably the best-known “language maven” writing today. The books are lively and witty reading, but Safire is a reporter and not a researcher. As a result, his analysis is usually superficial and often incorrect. Furthermore, he has never attempted to incorporate real linguistic work into his column. These are worth looking at, but take them with a grain of salt and don’t rely on them as authoritative. Finally, being compilations of a newspaper column, these are not well organized for reference. Reliance on the indices is a must; fortunately, they are pretty good as indices go, although there are fourteen of these that must be checked.


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