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'Sense of Style:' A scientist's take on language

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'The Sense of Style'
'The Sense of Style' by Steven Pinker
Book cover courtesy of publisher

Steven Pinker is a cognitive scientist whose past books have been about how our minds work. His new book, "The Sense of Style," is a writing guide. That may seem out of his bailiwick, but he uses his expertise in how our brains work to explain why we write the way we do.

From Publishers Weekly review:

Pinker deploys history, logic, and his own deep understanding of language to debunk many prescriptivist grammatical strictures: go ahead and split that infinitive, he declares, start a sentence with a conjunction, and use passive constructions when they improve a sentence's legibility. (He does give vent to a few of his own prescriptivist peeves, such as the use "literally" to mean "figuratively"). More broadly, he explains how the brain processes language into principles of sound writing.

Tell us about the elements of language and grammar that always trip you up in the comments below.