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John Updike

New Language Books Make Good Summer Reads

New Language Books Make Good Summer Reads

Whether you're headed for peak, park or porch this summer, tote along one of these new books about language. Visiting England? Be sure to bring along Erin Moore's charming "That's Not English — Briticisms, Americanisms, and What Our English Says About Us" (Gotham, $25.95). The Brits, Moore explains, are more subtle than we Yanks. While we use "quite" to mean "very," for instance, they use it to mean "fairly." Likewise, their "clever" implies arrogance, while their ubiquitous "sorry" can be a passive-aggressive form of dismissal. Should you write, "It's suppose to rain" or "supposed to...

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