9780195078534 / 0195078535

A Dictionary of Modern American Usage


Publisher:Oxford University Press, USA



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About the book:

If they had to state a preference, surely all individuals who ever had occasion to write (be it a memo, love letter, quick e-mail, college essay, or novel) would opt for using appropriate, grammatically correct English. The problem isn't in the intent, it's in the availability and accessibility of clear, understandable answers. Most writers (professional and amateur) get by on what sounds right, their memory of compound predicates and serial commas being a little fuzzy. They might turn to a dictionary or even a thesaurus (or, more likely, depend on the convenience of the computer spell-checker and thesaurus functions), but grammar books are rarely cracked outside of high school English classes.

But what if there were a book that explained the rules of grammar and usage and that was precise yet easy to understand? A book that was useful, and didn't make you feel like a dunce for not knowing where to put the period when you use quotation marks? A Dictionary of Modern American Usage, written by Bryan Garner and published by Oxford University Press, could be the start of a new movement, a brave new world in which people cheerfully polish their prose, where participles rarely dangle and "less" was not substituted incorrectly for "fewer." Garner, a lawyer and lexicographer, has created a scholarly and readable masterpiece. He clarifies the dos and don'ts of commas and quotation marks, explains why it's not so awful to end sentences with prepositions, and tackles common confusions, such as lay and lie, flaunt and flout, and assure, insure, and ensure. Erudite and dryly witty, spectacularly organized and up to date, and attentive to both basic usage and advanced nuances, A Dictionary of Modern American Usage is destined to become the reference of choice for students, scribes, editors, executives, and language devotees. --Stephanie Gold

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