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A while ago, a bunch of us scribblers signed up to the Vocabula Review at www.

vocabula. com, a site allegedly dedicated to better English but which was actually devoted to lexicographic exactitude of a kind only American academics could dream of. Crikey, they wouldn't like that sentence.

By the time Lynne Truss' Eats, Shoots and Leaves came out we had all unsubscribed. But now comes an email from that very source promoting The Dictionary of Disagreeable English.

Sounds like jolly stuff, eh? Before I suggest that at all costs you shun this book, which Amazon is ogging, I have to confess I haven't read it. But when the author can direct a whole paragraph of frothing abuse at the rendering in the MerriamWebster's Collegiate Dictionary of 'all right' as 'alright' and an even longer smug rant on the misuse of 'enervate', you begin to wonder whether going down the pub might not be a better idea than trying to save the language. Not even the prospect of a diatribe against 'volumptuous' could tempt me to have anything more to do with this waspish, selfappointed guardian of the gate to our beloved language.

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