Word to the Wise is a very handy book. It’s by an unashamed, or is that unabashed, language nerd, Mark Broatch and now sits between my dictionary and thesaurus. It begins with some brief tips about how to write purposefully and clearly from this experienced writer and journalist.
When I first looked at the title I thought it was a spiritual self-help tome for the already wise. Fortunately, the subtitle set me straight, so I put it to the test by looking up ‘straight’ – Index p 141 (tick) “Something that’s straight is without angle or curve or not askew (tick); as well as not humorous, (not!) direct, ordered, undiluted etc. Then some more about straight persons and straight roads and racecourses followed by the mix-up word ‘strait’, then ‘straightened’ meaning restricted.
All of that just goes to show the English language is truly as frustrating and as fascinating as it would appear to be, but on another level it’s also an entertaining and educative non-fiction read; the kind of thing you can dip into and bring greater clarity to your writing.