The New Fowler's Modern English Usage

Front Cover
Clarendon Press, 1996 - English language - 864 pages
First published in 1926, A Dictionary of Modern English Usage is one of the most celebrated reference books of the twentieth century. Commonly known as Fowler, after its inimitable author, H.W. Fowler, it has sold more than a million copies and maintained a devoted following over seven
decades, in large part because of its charming blend of information and good humor, delivered in the voice of a genial if somewhat idiosyncratic schoolmaster. Reading Fowler, William F. Buckley once noted, provides instruction and knowledge and direction, but the whole of it is a sensual
delight. And Jessica Mitford wrote that Fowler's style has afforded me endless amusement and instruction through my very long life. The first place to turn for sensible advice on the thorny issues of grammar, meaning, and pronunciation, Fowler is one of those rare reference books that can also
be read simply for pleasure.
Now this classic is available in a new edition--the first major revision since Fowler's original. Rewritten, updated, and expanded to take into account the vast linguistic changes of the past three-quarters of a century, here are thousands of alphabetically arranged entries, offering advice and
background information on all aspects of the English language, from grammar to spelling to literary style. This masterful revision has been carried out by Robert Burchfield, hailed by The Chicago Tribune as the greatest living lexicographer. In his hands, the MEU has retained its beloved
traits--accessibility, authority, and (not least) personality--while acquiring new ones, most notably, up-to-the-minute currency. As in Fowler, the new edition is a cornucopia of information on such troublesome areas as the plural form of foreign words (adagio, curriculum, memorandum, virus);
related or like-sounding words (affect/effect, continual/continuous); rarely encountered literary terms (alcaics, alexandrine, arsis); and unusual inflected forms (for instance, taxi, taxis, taxiing). But there are also many innovations. Burchfield, who spent decades working on the Oxford English
Dictionary, has introduced the OED's historical approach to the MEU, providing fascinating details on how and when new usages entered the language. In addition, he has combed novels, newspapers, and magazines to replenish the book's many illustrative sentences with new examples from the 1980s and
1990s, taken from such sources as The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books, and from such writers as Saul Bellow, John Updike, Kingsley and Martin Amis, Anita Brookner, and Penelope Lively. The new MEU also covers much more of the English-speaking world than did Fowler--including not only
the United Kingdom and the United States, but also Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and elsewhere--and pronunciation is now given in the International Phonetic Alphabet, with an easy-to-consult guide given across each double-page spread.
For seventy years, A Dictionary of Modern English Usage has supplied readers with information, guidance, and amusement. This major revision provides an MEU for the next century: a completely up-to-date work based on the immense databases of the Oxford English Dictionary, providing the same
insightful, authoritative, and lively coverage that has long made Fowler a synonym for correct English.

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The new Fowler's modern English usage

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An icon to those who write and think about words, Fowler's has not been updated since 1965. (It was originally published in 1926.) Burchfield, the chief editor of The Oxford English Dictionary and its ... Read full review


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Section 5
Section 6
Section 7
Section 8
Section 15
Section 16
Section 17
Section 18
Section 19
Section 20
Section 21
Section 22

Section 9
Section 10
Section 11
Section 12
Section 13
Section 14
Section 23
Section 24
Section 25
Section 26

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About the author (1996)

About the Editor:
Robert Burchfield was the Chief Editor of the OED from 1971-84. He was a Senior Research Fellow of St Peter's College Oxford from 1979-90 and is now an Emeritus Fellow of the College. His distinguished lexicographical career has included a number of key publications: The Oxford Dictionary of
English Etymology, 1966 (with C. T. Onions and G. W. S Friedrichsen), A Supplement to the OED, 1972-86 (with D. Donoghue and A. Timothy), The English Language, 1985, and The New Zealand Pocket Oxford Dictionary, 1986.

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