In an age of linguistic uncertainty, this book gives surefooted guidance on the direct, precise, and robust use of the English language. And although the book is scholarly, it is leavened with a dry wit. It is at once entertaining and educational.
Since first appearing in 1998, Garner's Modern American Usage has established itself as the preeminent guide to the effective use of the English language. Brimming with witty, erudite essays on troublesome words and phrases, GMAU authoritatively shows how to avoid the countless pitfalls that await unwary writers and speakers whether the issues relate to grammar, punctuation, word choice, or pronunciation. An exciting new feature of this third edition is Garner's Language-Change Index, which registers where each disputed usage in modern English falls on a five-stage continuum from nonacceptability (to the language community as a whole) to acceptability, giving the book a consistent standard throughout. GMAU is the first usage guide ever to incorporate such a language-change index. The judgments are based both on Garner's own original research in linguistic corpora and on his analysis of hundreds of earlier studies. Another first in this edition is the panel of critical readers: 120-plus commentators who have helped Garner reassess and update the text, so that every page has been improved. Bryan A. Garner is a writer, grammarian, lexicographer, teacher, and lawyer. He has written professionally about English usage for more than 28 years, and his work has achieved widespread renown. David Foster Wallace proclaimed that Bryan Garner is a genius and William Safire called the book excellent. In fact, due to the strength of his work on GMAU, Garner was the grammarian asked to write the grammar-and-usage chapter for the venerable Chicago Manual of Style. His advice on language matters is second to none.
With more than a thousand new entries and more than 2,300 word-frequency ratios, the magisterial fourth edition of this book-now renamed Garner's Modern English Usage (GMEU)-reflects usage lexicography at its finest. Garner explains the nuances of grammar and vocabulary with thoroughness, finesse, and wit. He discourages whatever is slovenly, pretentious, or pedantic. GMEU is the liveliest and most compulsively readable reference work for writers of our time. It delights while providing instruction on skillful, persuasive, and vivid writing. Garner liberates English from two extremes: both from the hidebound "purists" who mistakenly believe that split infinitives and sentence-ending prepositions are malfeasances and from the linguistic relativists who believe that whatever people say or write must necessarily be accepted. The judgments here are backed up not just by a lifetime of study but also by an empirical grounding in the largest linguistic corpus ever available. In this fourth edition, Garner has made extensive use of corpus linguistics to include ratios of standard terms as compared against variants in modern print sources. No other resource provides as comprehensive, reliable, and empirical a guide to current English usage. For all concerned with writing and editing, GMEU will prove invaluable as a desk reference. Garner illustrates with actual examples, cited with chapter and verse, all the linguistic blunders that modern writers and speakers are prone to, whether in word choice, syntax, phrasing, punctuation, or pronunciation. No matter how knowledgeable you may already be, you're sure to learn from every single page of this book.
The most original and authoritative voice of today's English lexicography presents a fully revised new edition of his beloved usage dictionary When Bryan Garner published the first edition of A Dictionary of Modern American Usage in 1999, the book quickly became one of the most influential style guides ever written for the English language. After four previous editions and over twenty years, our language has evolved in many ways, and the powerful tool of big data has revolutionized lexicography. This extensively revised new edition fully captures these changes, featuring a thousand new entries and over two hundred replacement entries, thoroughly updated usage data and ratios on word frequency based on the Google Ngram Viewer, a more balanced coverage of World Englishes, not just American and British, and the inclusion of gender-neutral language. However, one thing has not changed: in no sense is this a regular dictionary but a masterpiece of lexicography written with wit and personality by one of the preeminent authorities on the English language. To put it in David Foster Wallace's words, Garner's discussion of rhetoric and style still borders on genius. From the (lost) battle between self-deprecating and self-depreciating to the misuse of it's for its, from the variant spelling patty-cake taking over pat-a-cake in American English to the singular uses of they, Garner explains the nuances of grammar and vocabulary and the linguistic blunders to which modern writers and speakers are prone, whether in word choice, syntax, phrasing, punctuation, or pronunciation. His empirical approach liberates English from two extremes: from the purists who maintain that split infinitives and sentence-ending prepositions are malfeasances and from the linguistic relativists who believe that whatever people say or write must necessarily be accepted. The purpose of Garner's dictionary is to help writers, editors, and speakers use the language effectively. And it does so in a playful and persuasive way that will help you sound grammatical but relaxed, refined but natural, correct but unpedantic.
This volume explores both historical and current issues in English usage guides or style manuals. Guides of this sort have a long history: while Fowler's Modern English Usage (1926) is one of the best known, the first English usage guide was published in the UK in 1770, and the first in the US in 1847. Today, new titles come out nearly every year, while older works are revised and reissued. Remarkably, however, the kind of usage problems that have been addressed over the years are very much the same, and attitudes towards them are slow to change - but they do change. The chapters in this book look at how and why these guides are compiled, and by whom; what sort of advice they contain; how they differ from grammars and dictionaries; how attitudes to usage change; and why institutions such as the BBC need their own style guide. The volume will appeal not only to researchers and students in sociolinguistics, but also to general readers with an interest in questions of usage and prescriptivism, language professionals such as teachers and editors, and language policy makers.