Have You Heard About... Origins of the Specious

…the myths, legends, and real origins behind some of the most popular (and most reviled) words and phrases in English? Origins of the Specious: Myths and Misconceptions of the English Language by Patricia T. O’Conner and Stewart Kellerman takes you on a quick trip through some of the English language’s hottest topics. The authors start with differences between British and American English (including which version really has the longer history), then moves on to grammar, followed by specific words and phrases in various categories.

If you’ve ever wondered why you shouldn’t split an infinitive, whether birth by Caesarian section was really named for Julius Caesar, or how “herstory” got started, this is the book for you! The writing is light and friendly, with most topics covered in just a page or two. However, the authors provide a surprising amount of information on the source, history, and changes of the English language without getting dry or overwhelming.

Whether you love language yourself or just know someone who always insists on the “proper” use of English, you’ll enjoy Origins of the Specious.


Reviewed by Fran (staff)