Barbara Wallraff

Word Court

The “witty and accessible” bestseller by the Atlantic Monthly editor who rules on linguistic disputes (San Francisco Chronicle).
Atlantic Monthly senior editor Barbara Wallraff first began answering grammar questions on AOL in the 1990s, and the site’s success soon morphed into a regular magazine feature. In Word Court, Wallraff moves beyond her column to preside over common and uncommon cases, establishing rules for such issues as turns of phrase, slang, name usage, punctuation, and newly coined vocabulary. With true wit, she deliberates and decides on the right path for lovers of language, ranging from classic questions (is “a historical” or “an historical” correct?) to awkward issues (How long does someone have to be dead before we should all stop calling her “the late”?). The result is a warmly humorous, reassuring, and brilliantly perceptive tour of how and why we speak the way we do.
“A logophile’s delight.” —San Diego Union-Tribune
“Her approach to language is a beguiling mix of charm and research” —USA Today
359 printed pages
Original publication



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