For years Richard Lederer has entertained fans of the English language with his keen insights, commonsense advice, and witty patter. Now Lederer and Richard Dowis take readers on another journey through our most "wiggy" of languages. How many times have we all heard the word "viable" used in company meetings? The authors show us how "viable" was at one time extracted from medical books, where it is actually defined as "capable of living," and placed into our consumer marketplace. Then there is confusion between "lay" and "lie," which the authors clear up once and for all. These and dozens fo delightful examples make this book pure pleasure for language buffs, writers, and teachers.
As a self-professed "Grammarian-In-Perpetual-Training," I was hoping that this book would be "the book" to link YAs to grammar in an entertaining yet structured way. However, after reading the first few pages of commentary by Richard Lederer (an author and host of a weekly NPR radio show) and Richard Dowis (president of the Society for the Preservation of English Language and Literature), I realized that my hopes were dashed! Sleeping Dogs Don't Lay literally lies there! Speaking of the "lie-lay" debate, Lederer and Dowis use a considerable amount of space to start each chapter with an anecdotal grammar story. The "lie-lay" story involved some man named Martin who edits a model plane magazine and gave a grammar certificate to someone who used the words "lie" and "lay" incorrectly. In essence, the story, while an entertaining introduction for adult readers, would more than likely provoke puzzled looks on most YA faces. It is this overriding "adult theme" and its accompanying use of what I call "workplace humor" that would make this a tough YA read. However, as a practitioner's tool, Sleeping Dogs Don't Lay has some redeeming qualities. The last chapter, "A Ten-Minute Writing Lesson," has some great writing style tips. Also, there are several good presentations on grammatical structures, including a few quizzes with answers. Furthermore, the index lists both grammar terms and word choice terms. For example, the words adopt, adapt, and adept are listed together as a clue that confusion on which one to use often exists. KLIATT Codes: ARecommended for advanced students, and adults. 1999, St. Martin's, Griffin, 212p. illus. index. 21cm. 99-27231., $12.95. Ages 17 to adult.Reviewer: Tom Adamich; Cataloger-Tech. Svcs., Stetson Univ. College of La , July 2001 (Vol. 35, No. 4)