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Words Fail Me: What Everyone Who Writes Should Know About Writing Hardcover – Import, 1 September 1999

4.3 out of 5 stars 74 ratings

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Product description

Amazon.com Review

Patricia T. O'Conner's Words Fail Me is written in the same lighthearted tone as her snappy grammar guide, Woe Is I. This time out, O'Conner tackles the writer's art. "Good writing," she says, "is writing that works." This book is the perfect text for the novice writer who tends to gravitate toward comedic instructors. "Crummy spelling," says O'Conner, "is more noticeable than crummy anything else." Organizing your material "may be a pain in the butt, but it's thankless, too!" "Write as though you were addressing someone whose opinion you value, even if the reader is ... a stingy insurance company that won't pay for your tummy tuck." O'Conner's material isn't new--like many such books, Words Fail Me advocates the use of small words, fresh verbs, and only well-chosen modifiers--but rarely is a primer so amusing. And the clever titles strewn throughout--"Taking Leave of Your Tenses," "The It Parade"--provide added pleasure, particularly for anyone who knows how hard it can be to put a headline on a piece of writing. --Jane Steinberg

From Booklist

This book is for beginning writers--those who want to write or need to write but find that the words get in the way. Those words may include misplaced modifiers, passive verbs, and split infinitives, among others. Students writing papers, employees preparing reports, and those who just want to be understood in print may benefit from this fun-to-use answer to Strunk and White. O'Connor uses humor as she takes apart sentences and their parts and shows how each element is used effectively. She does get into the heavy-duty writing tools and even the pitfalls, including point of view, jargon, and rhythm. Marlene Chamberlain

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Product details

  • Publisher : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1st edition (1 September 1999)
  • Language : English
  • Hardcover : 230 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0151003718
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0151003716
  • Item Weight : 363 g
  • Dimensions : 13.34 x 1.91 x 21.59 cm
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.3 out of 5 stars 74 ratings

Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5
74 global ratings
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Top review from India

Reviewed in India on 18 January 2018
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Top reviews from other countries

4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 5 March 2017
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Dan Vilav
4.0 out of 5 stars Very funny and useful
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 20 December 2013
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4.0 out of 5 stars A book one needs in the shelf
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 5 March 2012
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5.0 out of 5 stars Motivates to improve
Reviewed in Canada on 18 October 2016
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J. Fuhrman
4.0 out of 5 stars A great guide to help you write yourself out of that corner
Reviewed in the United States on 3 September 2016
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