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Lynne Truss's 'Eats, Shoots and Leaves' injected new life into the long-standing arguments over rights and wrongs in English usage. Now David Crystal brings together his own distinctive style and unique expertise to provide the first thorough-going assessment of the ongoing debate. With a lively, humorous, and accessible approach, Crystal charts the battles past and present, illustrating the characters and attitudes involved from a wide range of written sources. He combines a chronological survey of key influences in the area of usage with discussion of particular themes such as punctuation, spelling, and pronunciation. And he looks ahead to the future in the context of recent education policy shifts. A positive and compelling case is made for variation in usage of English based on appropriateness of situation, arguing that 'zero tolerance' in relation to language is a profoundly flawed approach. Crystal offers an original and authoritative counter-argument to the prescriptivist agenda that has been expounded in many accounts of English usage over the years. The debate has continued with the recent publication of John Humphrys' 'Beyond Words', and 'The Fight for English' is the book that everyone concerned with English usage should read.

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