Remarks on the English Language, in the manner of Those of Vaugelas on the French; Being a detection of many improper Expressions used in Conversation, and of many others to be found in Authors. The Second Edition.

  • Baker, Robert
  • London: From the Press of The Etheringtons; for John Bell 1779
  • ESTC T89932; Alston III 301.


SKU: 5972 Category: Tags: ,


12mo, pp. xxiv, 115, [1]. Contemporary half calf, marbled boards, spine divided by gilt rules, red morocco label, edges sprinkled red and blue. Scattered toning and foxing, one opening damp-marked. Somewhat rubbed, a little wear to edges.


The second edition of this guide to proper English, first issued anonymously in 1770. It is notably the source of the linguistic shibboleth about the usage of 'fewer' for countable things and 'less' for things more nebulous, e.g. 'fewer books' but 'less fiction'. This idea is first attested in Baker's remark no. 47, on the word 'Less', although it is here clearly an opinion rather that a hard and fast rule: 'This Word is most commonly used in speaking of a Number; where I should think Fewer would do better. No fewer than a Hundred appears to me not only more elegant than No less than a Hundred, but more strictly proper' (p. 28).

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