The Broadview Book of Common Errors in English – Fifth Edition
A Guide to Righting Wrongs
  • Publication Date: April 17, 2003
  • ISBN: 9781551115863 / 1551115867
  • 316 pages; 5½" x 9"

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The Broadview Book of Common Errors in English – Fifth Edition

A Guide to Righting Wrongs

  • Publication Date: April 17, 2003
  • ISBN: 9781551115863 / 1551115867
  • 316 pages; 5½" x 9"

The Broadview Book of Common Errors in English offers full coverage of such common mistakes as commas splices, sentence fragments, words frequently confused, words frequently misspelled, mixed metaphors, and subject-verb agreement errors. In each case the problem is clearly explained, with examples illustrating both the nature of the trouble and how to put it right. Unlike many guides to grammar and usage, The Broadview Book refrains from dogmatism; it treats correctness in English not as an unchanging objective standard laden with moral overtones, but rather as a code of convenience that is extraordinarily useful in helping humans to communicate effectively and even elegantly. It thus retains an openness to the inevitable process of change in the English language, and recognizes that change does not imply debasement.

The fifth edition has been updated throughout, and includes new material on capitalization; on the connections between clear writing and clear arguments; on academic citation systems; on business writing; and on particular difficulties experienced by those whose first language is not English.


Comments on the fifth and previous editions:

“This extremely useful little book should be on every student’s desk. (Every instructor’s as well!)!” — Constance T. Colby, Barnard College

“Exceedingly useful…a very good reference book.” — Catherine Miles Davis, Point to Point

“I have taught communications to university students for years. This book is the best I’ve seen—and I’ve seen and owned hundreds—that covers the nooks and crannies of the English language so often overlooked and misunderstood.” — Errol Craig Sull, Niagara University

“Thank you, thank you for publishing this excellent and welcome book. I will add it to next year’s course text list.” — Nelson Wiseman, University of Toronto

“This book deals intelligently with usages that some favour and others deplore, and it supplies definitions, suggestions, and examples bound to do good to anyone’s speaking and writing.” — Charles Haines, Carleton University

“For all who wish to use the language with grace, precision and accuracy, The Broadview Book of Common Errors in English is invaluable.” — Anne Soukhanov, The Atlantic



  • Verbs and Verb Tense Difficulties
    Dangling Constructions
    Sequence of Tenses
    Irregular or Difficult Verbs
    Infinitives, Gerunds, Objects: “To Be or Not To Be?”
    Preposition Problems: “Up With Which I Will Not Put”
    Singular and Plural Difficulties
    Pronoun Problems: Who Cares About Whom?
    Part of Speech Conversions: A Question of Principle?
    Word Meanings: Are Cars Ever Stationery?
    Word Order Problems
    Too Many Words, Too Few Words
    One Word or Two?
    Usage: Word Conventions

Style, Structure, and Substance

  • Putting Ideas Together
    Direct and Indirect Speech
    Generalization, Abstraction, Jargon, and Doublespeak
    Bias-Free Language
    Metaphor and Meaning
    Slang and Informal English


  • The Writing Process
    Writing by Computer
    Format and Spelling
    Vocabulary: Some National Variations
    Special Writing Situations:
    • Academic Writing
    • Business Writing
    • Writing About Literature
  • Documentation
    For Those Whose Native Language Is Not English

Appendix 1: A Reference Guide to Basic Grammar
Appendix 2: Correction Key

Don LePan is also the author of a study of medieval and Shakespearean literary plots as reflections of habits of thought, The Cognitive Revolution in Western Culture, and (with Doug Babington) of The Broadview Guide to Writing, third edition.