Modern American Usage: A Guide

Wilson Follett; Erik Wensberg




Hill & Wang Pub

Publication Date:




A classic that belongs on the shelf with Roget, Bartlett, and Fowler. When Modern American Usage was first published in 1966, critics hailed it as the "most high-minded book of its kind since Fowler." The American language has changed since then--but many usage manuals still focus on describing these changes rather than prescribing the rules that help us understand them. This revised edition brings back into use the one American manual that unashamedly declares that we should all aspire to the best in our language--which is often the simplest. The convenient alphabetical format of Modern American Usage--along with hundreds of cross-references--allows the reader to zero in on troubling words and phrases without having to know whether the problem is one of grammar, style, or syntax. The careful writer will learn how to sidestep the vague, the wordy, the counterfeit, the technical, and the pedantic. With verve and eloquence, Erik Wensberg fends off such guff as "valid priorities," "hands-on agendas," "closure," and all that is "basically viable." He takes account of a generation of changes in American idiom and of attempts to reform the use of pronouns, titles, and phrases to fit shifting ideas of social justice. The result is a book that speaks with easy learning and humor, and will prove valuable for both the experienced writer and the newcomer to our language.

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Other editions: Softcover - 2007, Softcover - 2001, Hardcover - 1980, 1980, Softcover - 1979, Hardcover - 1979

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