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The Story of Be: A Verb’s-Eye View of the English Language

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$19.95

“Be” is the second most commonly used word in the English language, a fact that becomes actually quite unremarkable when you realize its extremely varied uses. This book walks you through those uses, from “be” meaning a state of existence, to an expression of time or place, to the idea of a condition; the variety is baffling and the differences, subtle; at least until you read the chapter about them, at which point you see how very different these uses actually are. The philological analysis is interesting but does get a little dense, especially as you read through the various pronunciations and usages in different dialects; but it is fascinating to see the history of each use. The highlight of the chapters are the example quotations – many from Shakespeare but also from sources as wide-ranging as Chaucer to Bill Clinton – that illustrate the usage in a clear, entertaining way; amusing illustrations of stuffy Victorians misusing the language also enliven the text. This is a short little book that hides an intricate path of detail about a deceptively simple word: the word “be.”

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Reviewed By:
Author:
David Crystal
Star Count:
4/5
Format:
Hard
Page Count:
208 pages
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publish Date:
2017-Jun-01
ISBN:
9780198791096
Amazon:
Issue:
August 2017
Category:
Reference
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Additional information

Publication Date

2017-Jun-01

Format

Hard

Publisher

Oxford University Press

Issue

August 2017

Page Count

208 pages

ASIN

0198791097

ISBN

9780198791096

Star Count

4

Book Author

David Crystal

“The Story of Be: A Verb’s-Eye View of the English Language”

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