A Dictionary of Modern American Usage

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, 1998 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 723 pages
In every age, writers and editors need guidance through the thickets of English usage. Although some language issues are perennial (infer vs. imply), many others spring anew from the well of English:
* Is it all right to say alums instead of alumni or alumnae? And should it be spelled alums or alumns?
* Should I say empathic or empathetic? Do you home in or hone in? Is it a couple of dozen or a couple dozen?
* What's the singular of paparazzi? Is paparazzis an acceptable plural? What about graffiti--singular or plural? And what about kudos?
* What's the correct pronunciation of concierge? Or schism? Or flaccid?
This book will tell you. In 750 pages of crisp, precise, and often witty pronouncements on modern American English, Bryan Garner authoritatively answers these and thousands of other questions that bedevil those who care about the language. Garner draws on massive evidence to support his judgments, citing more than 5,000 examples--good, bad, and ugly--from sources such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Newsweek.
Here is a usage guide that, whether you're a language connoisseur or just a dabbler, you can savor in a leisurely way, a few paragraphs at a time. No one can browse through the book without sharing the author's spirited awareness of how words work and his relish for exposing the affectations that bloat our language. Yet if you don't have the time for browsing, but simply want a quick answer to an editorial riddle, this book is your best bet.
DMAU can justifiably lay claim to being the most comprehensive treatment of how American English is used--and abused--as we enter the 21st century

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User Review  - smlawson - LibraryThing

Check out "Authority and American Usage" (aka "Tense Present: Democracy, English, and the Wars over Usage" as it appeared in Harper's Magazine) by David Foster Wallace. It'll rock your world ... Read full review


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About the author (1998)

Bryan A. Garner, a lawyer and lexicographer, has written extensively on the English language. His earlier books include A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage and The Elements of Legal Style, and he is editor-in-chief of Black's Law Dictionary. He is president of LawProse, Inc., a Dallas-based company that provides continuing-legal-education seminars to lawyers throughout the United States.

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