We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Anguished English?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Language & Humanities is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Language & Humanities, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Anguished English is a 1987 book published, compiled and written by Richard Lederer, which evaluates and also gives many examples of the way the English language is routinely butchered by native and non native English speakers. His examples, many taken from student essays, headlines around the world, classified ads, and famous quotes, are sure to have you giggling non-stop. In fact Anguished English proved so popular that Lederer followed up this first successful book with several sequels, including More Anguished English and The Bride of Anguished English.

In addition to providing hours of entertainment, particularly for verbivores, defined by Lederer as eaters of words, Anguished English and its sequels certainly provide a delightful way of instructing folks in the errors so easily made by trips of the tongue, mixed metaphors, and misquotes. The books aren’t intentionally instructive or preachy, but they can be said to teach through example of “how not to do it.” A few of the interesting examples Lederer provides are a bit racy for younger kids, but for the PG-13 audience, or at least PG audience, these examples do serve as wonderful departures for teaching about a variety of grammar mistakes, like split infinitives or misspellings that completely change the meaning of a sentence.

A favorite section for many is the one that includes examples of English mistranslated by foreign speakers. This section has actually spawned devotees to finding various mistranslations in foreign countries. One particular site is mainly devoted to the extensive use of English in Japan, has numerous pictures, signs and advertisements that are rendered amusing by their translations into English.

Naturally, while there is Anguished English, there are also numerous ways in which English-speaking countries have decimated foreign languages. One classic example was the failed marketing and the stagnant sales of the Chevy Nova, in the 1970s in South America and Mexico. The car was a fine automobile, but in Spanish speaking countries its name translated to “no go,” not exactly a name to inspire brand confidence.

Teachers have long cornered the market on reading the various student mistakes that can inspire great misunderstanding and loud bursts of laughter, and Anguished English can make a terrific gift for these folks. Lederer, in his book and sequels, has opened the field for any to enjoy such bloopers, whether they occur in student essays, church bulletins, medical reports or court records. He furthermore devotes a section to mondegreens, frequent misunderstandings of song lyrics, including the US anthem, where the opening line may be sung as “Jose, can you see?”

There are a few cautions toward enjoying Lederer’s work. Don’t read these books by yourself in public unless you want people to think you are simply odd, and subject to spontaneous laughter for no reason. Don’t read Lederer’s books if you’re trying to get to sleep; the subjects are likely to promote wakefulness rather than sleepiness. Also, you may want to wait a few days to pick up Anguished English if you’ve just had your appendix removed. Though laughter is usually painless, hearty chuckles and belly laughs may give your stomach too much of a workout!

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a Language & Humanities contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a Language & Humanities contributor,...
Learn more
Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.