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A Dictionary of Modern English Usage (The Oxford Library of English Usage: Volume 2) [Hardcover]

H.W. Fowler , Ernest Gowers
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

31 May 1965
Celebrating its 75th year, this classic text has become the standard work on the correct but natural use of English and has ensured that Fowler is a household name. Written in Fowler's inimitable style, it gives clear guidance on usage, word formation, inflexion, spelling, pronunciation, punctuation, and typography. It includes advice on using: that, which or who; working and stylish words; worn-out humour; hybrids and malformations. Witty and practical, it remains an invaluable source of useful guidance on the correct use of English.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 750 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 2nd Revised edition edition (31 May 1965)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198691157
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198691150
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 13.5 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 608,182 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Henry Watson Fowler (1858-1933) was a translator, lexicographer, and grammarian. With his brother Frank (1870-1918) he compiled the first edition of the Concise Oxford Dictionary (published 1911) and the Pocket Oxford Dictionary (published in 1924, after Franks' death). Frank helped to plan Modern English Usage with his brother but he died before it was published and it was executed by Henry alone. The name Fowler has become synonymous with reliable and accurate reference on all aspects of written English. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic 28 Mar 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Classic book on English usage, some of it a bit outdated but it is still a major authority on the subject
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5.0 out of 5 stars Can't beat Fowler, even after almost 100 years 4 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Language is always changing, but I lament those changes that occur because of an incorrect usage becoming commonplace. Fowler helps hold the line.
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22 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The standard upon which the others are built 28 April 2004
By Dennis Littrell TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Before we presume to be artists or journalists or even readable purveyorsof newsletters (or Internet blogs, for that matter) we must of necessity,if we are to be effective, be craftsmen.
Such a sentiment would, I imagine, sit well with Henry Watson Fowler who,some eighty years ago in collaboration with his younger brother Frank,wrote this famous book of English language guidance and prescription (andproscription!). Central to his purpose was the belief that the right wordat the right time in its proper place and context constituted the backboneand much of the muscle and sinew of forthright and effective writing. That belief along with Fowler's celebrated passion for good writing andhis intolerance of ignorance and humbug, coupled with his sometimesincomparable expression, long ago won him the undying respect andadmiration of careful writers of the English language the world over.
And this has been something of a problem. Since Fowler last set pen topage some seventy-one years ago (he died in 1933), the English languagehas changed and grown enormously. What was correct and effective in 1926(the year the 1st Ed. of A Dictionary of Modern English Usage waspublished), as well as what was ineffective, offensively brash ordownright ugly has in some cases become acceptable and even felicitous. So, like it or not, Fowler had to be updated, and of course there was noshortage of lexicographers, linguists, grammarians, journalists and otherslooking to do the job. Furthermore, the "Great Divide" between AmericanEnglish and British English needed to be explained, recorded, andcodified. Some of the people who have joined in this enterprise over theyears have been H. L. Mencken, Jens Jespersen, Margaret Nicholson, DwightMacDonald, Bergen and Cornelia Evans, and more recently, Bryan A. Garnerand R.W.
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15 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Inpenetrable classic 26 May 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I know this is considered a classic work, but I find both the style of writing and the typography and layout of this edition difficult to read and use. When I reach for this book to answer a question, often I find one, but part of the pleasure of a book like this ought to be finding gems as a result of random browsing. I am sorry to say the outdated style puts me off doing that.
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2 of 41 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Be warned.... 19 Jan 2004
Format:Paperback
This is actually just a dictionary which covers similar material to Bill Bryson in 'Troublesome Words', but in not such an amusing manner. Its probably great if that's what you're looking for, but it doesn't give guidance on matters such as tenses or if it does, I don't understand enough about English to find out where they are hidden. And at 500g its costly to return!
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