This little book is very practical and precise.
The best plan is to follow the best authors and these masters of language will guide you safely along the way.
There are chapters devoted to all the essential components to make writing interesting. Devlin delivers a concise book that allows you to starts improving your speech and writing quickly, and covers a truck load of good grammar taught well.
As Devlin tells it:
“In the preparation of this little work the writer has kept one end in view: To make it serviceable for those for whom it is intended, that is, for those who have neither the time nor the opportunity, the learning nor the inclination, to peruse elaborate and abstruse treatises on Rhetoric, Grammar, and Composition.
“To them such works are as gold enclosed in chests of steel and locked beyond power of opening.
“This book has no pretension about it whatever. It is neither a Manual of Rhetoric, expatiating on the dogmas of style, nor a Grammar full of arbitrary rules and exceptions.
“It is merely an effort to help ordinary, everyday people to express themselves in ordinary, everyday language, in a proper manner.
“Some broad rules are laid down, the observance of which will enable the reader to keep within the pale of propriety in oral and written language. Many idiomatic words and expressions, peculiar to the language, have been given, besides which a number of the common mistakes and pitfalls have been placed before the reader so that he may know and avoid them.
“The writer has to acknowledge his indebtedness to no one in particular, but to all in general who have ever written on the subject.
“The little book goes forth – a finger-post on the road of language pointing in the right direction. It is hoped that they who go according to its index will arrive at the goal of correct speaking and writing.
“It is very easy to learn how to speak and write correctly, as for all purposes of ordinary conversation and communication, only about 2,000 different words are required. The mastery of just that many words, and knowing where to place them, will make us not masters of the English language, but masters of correct speaking and writing.
“To use a big word or a foreign word when a small one and a familiar one will answer the same purpose, is a sign of ignorance. Great scholars and writers and polite speakers use simple words.
“We find that a great many people who pass in society as being polished, refined and educated use less, for they know less. The greatest scholar alive hasn’t more than four thousand different words at his command, and he never has occasion to use half the number.
“It is the purpose of this book, as briefly and concisely as possible, to direct the reader along a straight course, pointing out the mistakes he must avoid and giving him such assistance as will enable him to reach the goal of a correct knowledge of the English language. It is not a Grammar in any sense, but a guide, a silent signal-post pointing the way in the right direction.”
Every writer should have this book as a ready reference and guide.
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