Offering more than correct spellings and definitions, this abridged version of Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage contains 2,000 brief articles on the historical and current usage trends of commonly confused and disputed words and phrases. The articles analyze the words, discuss alternati
Paperback, 799 pages
January 1st 2002
(first published November 1st 1994)
Because of that, I found this book to be a useful dictionary, covering words from a/an and abbreviations to zoom, and the "problems" or differences that may arise in usage for those whose job is working with words.
There is also a short ("brief" in the words of the dictionary) history of the English language, a pronunciation guide, and a bibliography of source materials for the advice given in the body of the dictionary.
I would recommend this book to anyone who does a lot of writing. It has excellent, well-researched advice on the proper usage of a number of English words and phrases. It is very "descriptivist" -- that is, rather than simply deferring to an expert's opinion, the researchers actually search through numerous archives of English literature, journalism, etc, as well as other usage guides to formulate their recommendations.
How could I not love a book that answers my most burning usage questions and also helps me win arguments? (I usually have to just make-believe an opponent for these arguments because all the real people are afraid to fight with me about this stuff, but it still gives me a great sense of triumph when I win--which I ALWAYS do!)
This is not the best usage guide ever, but it is a good one. Many an argument was settled with this book. Frankly, anyone who fancies himself a wordsmith better know what's included here. All basic and straightforward but necessary nonetheless.
This usage dictionary is vital for any writer, editor or English lover in general. It has great histories and explanations of many common dilemmas and usage questions we face. See the entries for who/whom and farther/further.
The sine qua non of English usage reference. There is an exemplary reliance on evidence (with plenty of supporting quotations), rather than the usual intellectually trivial acceptance of received rules.