Garners Modern American Usage

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Oxford University Press; 4 edition April 8, Language: Don't have a Kindle? Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features: Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review.

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This is the best work in its class. This edition makes 'Garner's Modern' arguably the best usage dictionary of English ever published. It is notably expanded from the final 'Modern American Usage' edition of , having an entire short book's worth of additional material. Given the difference in page and print size, probably the entirety of 'The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage' could fit within the material Garner added in his new edition.

The changes include not only internationalization, but also evidence-based evaluations of changing usage. In this, the work is presently unique, as well as timely, as we enter the second Internet generation. It also features a near-perfect balance between descriptive linguistics and prescriptive advice, with the latter based on logic and the goal of clear communication.

Garner's Modern English Usage

In this respect, it like its earlier editions happily parts ways from the majority of the heavily prescriptive works, which have a tendency to arbitrary proclamations based on authorial or institutional preference often excessively nationalistic in ways that defy actual reality , and over-reliance on tradition to the point of ossification.

Garner, a lawyer as well as a lexicographer, is no something blogger who thinks making your text "pop" with "coolness" is more important than professional-quality prose that won't look ridiculous in 5 years when your precious buzzwords sound corny for a good laugh in this vein, pick up a used copy of the once oh-so-hip 'Wired Style: Principles of English Usage in the Digital Age'. He is, however, careful about legitimate dialectal variance, and of the distinctions between different registers of formality. When Garner does get prescriptive, his tone can be a bit mock-harsh, and less coddling that some others' writing advice, but plenty of us would consider this a strength.

Garner also has the lawyer's gift for weaving dry, isolated facts into a persuasive flow, making the book difficult to put down despite being mostly an alphabetical list of items that, taken individually, are trivia. The cross-referencing, consistency, and comprehensiveness of the work rapidly build up an unexpected level of synergy between entries after only a few page skimmings; in-depth reading is very rewarding, despite the entry-based format.

This kind of writing is solidly grounded in the "plain English" principles advanced by Orwell and Gowers, being concise, clear, and certain in its purpose, without being terse or dull. It's not like reading a Webster's dictionary. Both 'Chicago' and 'New Hart's' are style manuals in the chapter-based sense, covering grammar, punctuation, capitalization, italics, citations, etc.

It is no longer necessary to have a comprehensive paper dictionary around if you live or work in tight quarters, since the advent of OxfordDictionariesOnline. If you have more room, also get the aforementioned other usage dictionaries. It will be of more benefit to the average person than any guide to business or student writing when it comes to usage. It certainly contains much more value than a dozen of the cutesy little advice books with funny names. But get 'Garner's', too. Because this new edition is actually tracking the trajectories of many aspects of language change i.

Snoots can rejoice with the release of Garner's Modern English Usage--the fourth edition of Garner's Modern American Usage, renamed to reflect the its wider scope. I was looking forward to this new edition, and it's well worth it. Garner is a masterly lexicographer and his usage guides have always been authoritative, insightful, witty, and highly readable. This one is no exception. You'll find yourself looking up a word or phrase only to be sidetracked by other interesting entries that catch your eye along the way.

The most notable new feature of the fourth edition is the inclusion of data from Google Ngrams, which are explained in the preface. Garner incorporates this big data into his entries, and provides ratios of the number of times recommended forms are used in the Ngram database with the number of times a particular variant form is used.

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This takes a lot of the guesswork and speculation out of the recommendations, and bolsters the credibility of the guide. If you already have the third edition of Garner's Modern American Usage, this edition is likely to be more a luxury than a necessity. But if you're looking for a usage guide and are unfamiliar with Garner's previous work, I strongly recommend Garner's Modern English Usage.

For most of the 20th century, a single book dominated the market as the authoritative reference in matters of grammar, style, and usage in the English language: Fowler, first published in , ably revised by Sir Ernest Gowers in , and now in its fourth edition. But by the century's last quarter, the modern English language -- particularly its American dialect -- had begun outgrowing Fowler, and several newer guides began competing with it.


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The third edition of Fowler was a disappointment, and left the field without a clear leading authority. That gap was filled in , when Bryan A. Finally, someone had written a book that matched Fowler -- not only in its erudition, but also in its accessible style, and even its wry sense of humor. And Garner's book had the advantages of being written both in modern times for a modern audience, and in the United States by an American author about American English. The book is a gem, and as authoritative a reference as you will find in this field in the last several decades and probably the next several too.

The second and third editions were retitled as "Garner's Modern American Usage" after their author, in view of the acclaim that the first edition earned. This new edition has been retitled as "Garner's Modern English Usage" because over the years the book, while rooted in American English, has taken a "broadly inclusive approach to World English, not just to American English and British English. The first edition was a dictionary of words in usage, rather than words about usage, and therefore assumed that the reader possessed a certain working knowledge of basic grammatical terms and concepts.

For example, the first edition didn't define such basic terms as "sentence," "phrase," "clause," "word," or "part of speech. It also appended, as did the first edition, an page chronology of books about usage, which illustrates both the rich tradition that Garner's work joins, as well as the tremendous resources upon which he drew in producing his book. The third edition added the Language Change Index, which tracks the language as it evolves over time: As one linguist wrote after the first edition appeared, "[H.

This usage dictionary is an indispensable resource for anyone who is serious about using the English language both correctly and artfully. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. After having examined it and looked up certain terms to resolve an issue, I can say that they did a good job with this edition. Now I am able to refer to this edition anywhere I go.

Garner's Modern English Usage

If you want the convenience, do not hesitate. Also, the GMEU is an excellent resource: See all 55 reviews. In , the second full edition was published under the title Garner's Modern American Usage , with one-third more content than the original edition. An updated edition, taking advantage of Google N-grams , covering British and other World Englishes was released in April In the edition, Google N-grams were used to compare some 2, ratios of standard versus variant forms in English.

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Novelist David Foster Wallace said, "The fact of the matter is that Garner's dictionary is extremely good He commended Garner's stance on the linguistic descriptivism versus prescriptivism issue that lexicographers dictionary writers face. Garner's dictionary is prescriptive in aiming to uphold good English usage, but also concedes to variant forms and usage errors that are so widespread that there is no lexicographical hope of changing them.

Garrison Keillor has called Garner's Modern American Usage one of the five most influential books in his library. Other critics, including John Simon , William Safire , Bill Walsh , and Barbara Wallraff , have praised the book's clear, simple, and nuanced guidance. Michael Quinion of WorldWideWords. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Garner's Modern English Usage. Democracy, English, and the Wars over Usage".