How to Tell Fate from Destiny (Paperback)

And Other Skillful Word Distinctions

By Charles Harrington Elster

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9781328884077, 320pp.

Publication Date: October 23, 2018

Other Editions of This Title:
Compact Disc (10/23/2018)

List Price: 15.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


If you have trouble distinguishing the verbs imitate and emulate, the relative pronouns that and which, or the adjectives pliant, pliable, and supple, never fear—How to Tell Fate from Destiny is here to help! With more than 500 headwords, the book is replete with advice on how to differentiate commonly confused words and steer clear of verbal trouble.

Whether you’re a boomer, a Gen-Xer, or a millennial, if you peruse, browse, or even skim these spindrift pages you will (not shall) become versed in the fine art of differentiation. You will learn, for example,
■ how to tell whether you suffer from pride, vanity, or hubris
■ how to tell whether you’re contagious or infectious
■ how to tell if you’re pitiful or pitiable
■ how to tell if you’re self-centered or self-absorbed
■ how to live an ethical life in a moral universe

About the Author

CHARLES HARRINGTON ELSTER is a nationally recognized expert on the English language. He is the pronunciation editor of Black's Law Dictionary and a consultant for Garner's Modern English Usage. His articles have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the Boston Globe, the Wall Street Journal, and other publications, and he has published eleven books on the English language for a general audience.