From the Back Cover
A Selection of Sample Entries:
`'meter or metre? In British English a metre is a measurement of length equal to 100 centimetres, while a measuring instrument is a meter: to read the meter. Likewise, in British English, the rhythmic pattern of a line of poetry is its metre, though the words for specific types of mere end in -er: hexameter; iambic pentameter. In American English the spelling meter is used for all of these senses'.
'assume or presume? Assume and presume are almost interchangeable in the meaning 'suppose'. Presume is rather more formal and tends to suggest that a supposition is made on the basis of a deduction or a reasonable likelihood, and has a slightly unfavourable tinge, possibly picked up from its other meaning ('to take liberties'): Dr Livingstone, I presume? (who else could it be?); From what you said yesterday, I presumed that you'd already made up your mind. Assume is, however, definitely the word to choose if something is being put forward as a basis for argument: In drawing up your pension forecast, I assumed that interest rates would remain at about 5 per cent'.
'till or until? Till and untill can be used interchangeably. Until is slightly more formal than till and in writing until is more commonly found than till'.
About the Author
MARTIN MANSER is an experienced editor and reference writer. He has written numerous books on language including THE MACMILLAN GUIDE TO ENGLISH GRAMMAR and THE BLOOMSBURY GUIDE TO BETTER ENGLISH and he is also an editor of the forthcoming PENGUIN A-Z THESAURUS. He lives in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.