PULLMAN, Wash. — Paul Brians, literature professor in the Department of English at Washington State University has published “Common Errors in English Usage.” The book is a guide with a wide compilation of the most common problems in our language.
Written in an informal tone, many had found the book to be instructional and entertaining. Brians included in the book a few engravings turned into cartoons and humorous comments to some of the entries.
In 1997, Brians created a Web site, www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/, that attracts an average of 3,000 visitors a day. Now readers can find Brians’ entertaining explanations on paper in his new book. “The main advantage of the book over the Web is portability and ease of navigation. Browsing through it on the beach or looking up a particular word or phrase is easier with the book. It also makes a nice gift book, especially for a student,” Brians said.
Brians first got the idea of writing about language usage while studying restaurant menus. For instance, he found the misspelling “expresso” and changed it to the corrected “espresso.” “I am a literature professor and do not teach composition, grammar or related subjects,” Brians said, “but I am concerned with improving writing.”
The author notes in his book that he avoided discussing the most common misspellings, concentrating instead on linguistic confusions that spelling checkers on computers will not catch. “Common Errors in English Usage” also includes confusing expressions, homonyms, words of foreign origin, redundancies and grammatical mistakes.