Write To The Point by Sam Leith

Our Rating


The Observer, October 2017

Language has rules, but there’s no umpire: this is the starting point for Sam Leith’s guide to correct or, more precisely, standard English usage. He goes on to explore how those standards shift and evolve with time, preference and situation, but Leith is neither dry nor academic. He offers succinct advice for those who want to write anything from a letter of complaint to a blog post, confidently and clearly. Presented in conversational style, it’s an interesting counterpoint to Simon Heffer’s Simply English, to which Leith refers on the very first page. While Heffer revels in pulling up “barbaric” crimes against language, Leith is more measured and believes that, while knowledge of “the rules” is useful, an ear for what sounds best in the right context is even better. The final sections, covering language online (wtf), are generous and interesting where they could have been the horrified rantings of a grammar pedant. Useful, and persuasive.

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