A Dictionary of Modern American Usage, Second Edition (Garner's Modern American Usage) Hardcover – 9 Oct 2003
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That gap was filled in 1998, when Bryan A. Garner wrote "A Dictionary of Modern American Usage" (published by the Oxford University Press, which also published Fowler). Finally, someone had written a book that matched Fowler -- not only in its erudition, but also in its accessible style, and even its wry sense of humor. And Garner's book had the advantages of being written both in modern times for a modern audience, and in the United States by an American author about American English. The book is a gem, and as authoritative a reference as you will find in this field in the last several decades (and probably the next several too).
"Garner's Modern American Usage" is this oustanding work's second edition, now retitled after its author in view of the acclaim that the first edition earned. A new edition is appearing after only five years because, as Garner explains, "changing usage isn't really the primary basis for a new edition of a usage guide: it's really a question of having had five more years for research." The payoff shows. And the second edition builds upon the first: the first edition was a dictionary of words in usage, rather than words about usage, and therefore assumed that the reader possessed a certain working knowledge of basic grammatical terms and concepts. For example, the first edition didn't define such basic terms as "sentence," "phrase," "clause," "word," or "part of speech." The second edition appends a glossary that defines many such basic concepts. It also appends, as did the first edition, an 11-page chronology of books about usage, which illustrates both the rich tradition that Garner's work joins, as well as the tremendous resources upon which he drew in producing this magnum opus.
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