Charles Harrington Elster


Copyright 2003-2018
by Charles Harrington Elster

Note: Every article on this blog page, and on this website, is protected by copyright. Reproduction of any kind without permission is prohibited.

"Give me my typewriter and my dictionary, and just let me suffer!"
Robertson Davies

"Writing is at the mercy of the largest number of amateursalmost the entire population."
Jacques Barzun

"Nearly every fiction writer in the world drinks more whisky than is good for him. He does it to give himself faith, hope, and courage. A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom."
Roald Dahl


WORD QUIZ


Below are ten abbreviations of Latin terms. Do you know what they stand for in Latin and in English?

1. MS or ms.
2. PS or P.S.
3. i.e.
4. e.g.
5. N.B. or n.b.
6. c. or ca.
7. et al.
8. cf.
9. q.v.
10. ibid.

Answers are on the
Comments page, in the left sidebar.

To Err Is Inhuman

Im afraid that surprise, shock, and regret is the fate of authors when they finally see themselves on the page. . . . Seeing ones inadequate English frozen into type is a humiliating experience. Julia Child, My Life in France

I think of it as it could have been, with its prolixities docked, its dullnesses enlivened, its fads eliminated, its truths multiplied.
From the dedication page of
H. W. Fowler's Modern English Usage (1926)

The Accidents of Style is a crash course in careful usage.


The Accidents of Style is in USA Today.

One Writer's Ravings

A Logogogue's Blog for Language Lovers

Where Did You Learn That Word?

January 10, 2011

Tags: William Styron, H. L. Mencken, Sir Walter Scott, Herman Melville, Vladimir Nabokov, William F. Buckley, Robertson Davies

Some readers are annoyed when a writer uses an unusual word. Im thrilled.

All my life Ive read hoping to find words I dont know, keeping lists of them and looking them up in a dictionary, where I would then come across more words Id never seen before. Ive never read only for pleasure or for information. For me, reading has always been a word-hunting expedition, a lexical safari. (more…)

Selected Works

Books
Articles
Colin Kaepernick and Charles Harrington Elster have something in common: exercising their First Amendment rights.
In the cover story for the October-November 2013 issue of Copyediting, Charlie looks at how the relative pronoun who is taking over the traditional role of that and which.
Read Charlie's amiable rant on redundancy, which appeared in the August-September 2012 issue of Copyediting.
Timeless tips for aspiring vocabulary builders.
Charlie beats up on Merriam-Webster in the Boston Globe.
At a loss for words? Read one of Charlie's guest "On Language" columns for The New York Times Magazine.
Read Charlie's guest "On Language" piece about resistentialism.
Shopping for a new dictionary? Here's some sage advice.
Charlie's brave new words for a wireless world.
Read one of Charlie's articles in SPELL/Binder.
Read a profile of Charlie in San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles.
Letters
Charlie explains why he left the public radio show.