Review Highly irregular: Why tough, through and dough don’t rhyme (a review)

This is a highly entertaining and informative book about oddities in the English language. The oddities explain why words spelt the same are pronounced differently, such as tough, through and dough, why English usage chooses some words to describe people and not others, why we say words like eleven and not oneteen to describe numbers from 1-19 and why similar words are formed in different ways, such as adverbs. And why is spelling so apparently not subject to strict rules? In short, why is the English language so unpredictable? The result is an absorbing read and work of reference, illustrated with cartoons by Sean O’Neill, and it will be of interest especially to language researchers and etymologists. However, it is also valuable for teachers as it answers many of the difficult questions English language learners sometimes ask about the peculiarities of English.

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