The Broadview Book of Common Errors in English. Rev. ed.


251 pages
Contains Index
ISBN 0-921149-96-4
DDC 428.2






Reviewed by Lori A. Dunn

Lori A. Dunn is an ESL teacher and editor of the Toronto women’s
magazine Feminie.


Succinct and often humorous, Don LePan offers an enticing compendium of
utterly useful titbits on the English language. Compared to other
common-error style books, this one is very thorough, and often surprises
the reader with its unusual inclusions.

LePan gives a brief but effective lesson on the verb tenses of English
(information that most native English speakers never truly learn), and
includes practical exercises to help readers grasp the finer points.
While acknowledging that the “experts” disagree quite often on
points of grammar, he chooses one usage over another, sometimes
admitting that he prefers its elegance. On the issue of jargon, “avoid
it” is the author’s terse advice (he suggests that technical
language be rephrased whenever possible to avoid alienating the
audience). In dealing with gender in language, LePan limits his
discussion to the purely grammatical point of using “they” and
“them” as singular pronouns—as in “Everyone must do what they
think is right,” which is historically correct (although our teachers
have told us otherwise).

In style, LePan practices what he preaches, counseling brevity in all
areas. Less is more, and his coverage of the common errors of English is
wonderfully concise and witty.


LePan, Don., “The Broadview Book of Common Errors in English. Rev. ed.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024,