Do You Make These Mistakes in English?

Do You Make These Mistakes in English? : The Story of Sherwin Cody's Famous Language School

4 (4 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

List price: US$35.95

Currently unavailable

We can notify you when this item is back in stock

Add to wishlist

AbeBooks may have this title (opens in new window).

Try AbeBooks


In the early 1900s, the language of America was becoming colloquial Englishthe language of the businessman, manager, and professional. Since college and high school education were far from universal, many people turned to correspondence educationthat eras distance learningto learn the art of speaking and writing. By the 1920s and 1930s, thousands of Americans were sending coupons from newspapers and magazines to order Sherwin Codys 100% Self-correcting Course in the English Language, a patented mail-order course in English that was taken by over 150,000 people. Codys ubiquitous signature advertisement, which ran for over forty years, promised a scientifically-tested invention that improved speaking and writing in just 15 minutes a day. Codys ad explained that people are judged by their English, and he offered self-improvement and self-confidence through the mail. In this book, linguist Edwin Battistella tells the story of Sherwin Cody and his famous English course, situating both the man and the course in early twentieth century cultural history. The author shows how Cody became a businessmana writer, grammatical entrepreneur, and mass-marketer whose ads proclaimed Good Money in Good English and asked Is Good English Worth 25 Cents to You? His course, perhaps the most widely-advertised English education program in history, provides a unique window onto popular views of language and culture and their connection to American notions of success and failure. But Battistella shows Sherwin Cody was also part of a larger shift in attitudes. Using Codys course as a reference point, he also looks at the self-improvement ethic reflected in such courses and products as the Harvard Classics, The Book of Etiquette, the Book-of-the-Month Club, the U.S. School of Music, and the Charles Atlas and Dale Carnegie courses to illustrate how culture became popular and how self-reliance evolved into more

Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 140 x 212 x 28mm | 399.16g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 13 black and white illustrations
  • 019536712X
  • 9780195367126
  • 2,045,059

Review quote

Well written in a tone that would be easily digested by undergraduates and engaging for an interested non-academic reader. Battistella has done an outstanding job engaging the scholarship of history, marketing, the history of marketing, the history of education, the history of English pedagogy, and the development of the self-help industry. * Jeffrey Reaser, North Carolina State University *show more

About Edwin L. Basttistella

Edwin L. Battistella is professor of English and writing at Southern Oregon University. Battistella is the author of three previous books on grammar and language, Bad Language Are Some Words Better than Others? (Oxford, 2005), The Logic of Markedness (Oxford, 1996), and Markedness: The Evaluative Superstructure of Language (1990). From 2002 through 2004, he served as a member of the Committee on Language in the Schools of Linguistic Society of more

Table of contents


Rating details

4 ratings
4 out of 5 stars
5 25% (1)
4 50% (2)
3 25% (1)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X