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Garner's Modern American Usage Hardcover – October 30, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0195161915 ISBN-10: 0195161912 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Series: Garner's Modern American Usage
  • Hardcover: 928 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 2 edition (October 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195161912
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195161915
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 2 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #779,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Garner's Modern American Usage is the latest by the author and editor of several legal dictionaries (including Black's Law Dictionary), among other works on language and style. The second edition maintains the same basic format as the first (called Dictionary of Modern American Usage), published in 1998: each entry discusses the usage of the word, provides quotations for illustration, and gives citations. There are two types of entries. Word entries, which are generally short, discuss individual words or groups of words. Essay entries discuss topics related to usage and style, including contractions, danglers, punctuation, and subject-verb agreement, among others. Compared to the first edition's entry for complexioned; complected, the second edition makes only minor editorial changes; the real difference is the easier-to-read spacing in the updated volume. The second edition shows more substantive changes in the essay entry for Passive voice without changing the basic meaning or adding unnecessarily to the length of the essay. New entries include DVD, Internet, World Wide Web, and, as Garner insists, webpage.

The Columbia Guide to Standard American English (Columbia Univ., 1993) takes a more prescriptive tone than Garner's and maintains more succinct entries on usage topics (comparing entries on passive voice, for instance). The New Fowler's Modern English Usage (3d ed., Oxford, 2000) is more descriptive, on the other hand, and includes examples from published fiction, where most of Garner's quotations come from newspapers and journals. Because of its somewhat conversational style and extensive essays on usage topics like sexism, Garner's might be best used, as the author suggests, for "browsing a little at a time or for serious reading" and later consultation. Appended material includes a glossary, "A Timeline of Books on Usage," and a selected bibliography. Recommended for public and academic libraries, especially if the institution does not own the first edition. RBB
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review


"Garner's Modern American Usage by Bryan A. Garner should have a place on every writer's reference shelf. Combining meticulous research, clear explanations and a subtle sense of fun, this masterwork is the new authority to which we all should submit."--Writer's Digest


"In Garner's Modern American Usage... Bryan A. Garner offers a reference guide for writers, editors and students, and a playground for language lovers. This updated and expanded version of the 1998 book features 900-plus pages with more than 9,000 alphabetical entries and subentries, 181 essays, and 7,200 examples culled from newspapers, books and magazines, all to promote the proper use of English words."--Ron Berthel, Associated Press


"The second edition is as informative and entertaining as the first....An excellent guide to American English usage with the added strength of easy readability. Highly recommended."--Choice


"People who are serious about their writing collect and frequently consult usage manuals. Theodore Bernstein's The Careful Writer and The New Fowler's Modern English Usage, edited by R.W. Burchfield, are classics and are still in print. But the one I turn to first is Garner's Modern American Usage by Dallas-based Bryan A. Garner (Oxford University Press, $39.95; 879 pp.). His judgments are solid, and he has a knack for explaining knotty grammatical and stylistic matters in clear language. First published in 1998, the book is just out in an updated second edition."--Houston Chronicle


"A jewel of a reference, now in its second edition, answers just about any question you may have about the usage of American English.... paging through is a treat because you never know what you will learn next. Garner, whose passion for language is evident throughout, also includes illuminating essays addressing issue of usage and style, neatly listed at the beginning of the book to help users identify them. The entries are detailed and engaging--those for 'impactful.' 'sexism,' and 'phrasal adjectives,' for example, are so thorough that they alone make the book worth the price. Essential for wordsmiths, librarians, and literary types of all persuasions."--Library Journal (starred review)



More About the Author

Bryan Garner is the award-winning author or editor of more than 20 books. He is a prolific lecturer, having taught more than 2,500 writing workshops since the 1991 founding of his company, LawProse, Inc. His works include Garner on Language and Writing and Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges, co-written with Justice Antonin Scalia. Garner has served as editor-in-chief of Black's Law Dictionary since 1995, and he is the author of the grammar-and-usage chapter in the venerable Chicago Manual of Style.

Customer Reviews

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I do have a copy of the most recent Fowler done by Burchfield.
Craig Matteson
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.
Brian Melendez
I recently attended Brian Garner's writing seminar (also excellent!)
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

151 of 156 people found the following review helpful By Brian Melendez on December 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For three generations, a single book dominated the market as the authoritative reference in matters of grammar, style, and usage in the English language: "A Dictionary of Modern English Usage" by H.W. Fowler, first published in 1926, ably revised by Sir Ernest Gowers in 1965, and now in its third edition (published 1996). But by the century's last quarter, the modern English language -- particularly its American dialect -- had begun outgrowing Fowler, and several newer guides began competing with it. The third (1996) edition of Fowler was a disappointment, and left the field without a clear leading authority.
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.
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93 of 100 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Littrell HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a brilliant book. It is as erudite and authoritative as a usage book should be, but without offensive cant or needless pedantry. It is scrupulously edited and handsomely presented by the Oxford University Press in their usual exemplary manner. While Bryan A.Garner concentrates on American English usage (that's where the market is) he is no stranger to "BrE" or any other kind of English. Just to give you a hint about what makes the man tick and why he is now considered the preeminent authority on "grammar, usage, and style" (as a blurb on the book's cover--for a change--rightly has it), consider these words from the Preface to the Second Edition:

"People have asked whether enough has really changed in English usage since 1998 to justify a new edition. The answer is that 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."

He isn't kidding. What Garner brings to this usage book that completely dwarfs* all previous efforts is a gargantuan research regimen. This is clear from the thousands of examples of usage presented, both good and bad, from all manner of publications: newspapers, small town and big city; novels, classic and contemporary; magazines and journals, literary and scientific, etc. Garner obviously has a passion for words and seems determined to let no genre or form of reading matter go unread or unscrutinized. I didn't find an example from one of my reviews, but (given the many faux pas that I have, alas, committed in nearly 800 reviews) I fully expect that dubious honor in the third edition!). Yes, Garner is onto the Web and indeed he frequently quotes statistics of use garnered (sorry!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Brian Melendez on November 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For three generations, a single book dominated the market as the authoritative reference in matters of grammar, style, and usage in the English language: "A Dictionary of Modern English Usage" by H.W. Fowler, first published in 1926, ably revised by Sir Ernest Gowers in 1965, and now in its third edition (published 1996). But by the century's last quarter, the modern English language -- particularly its American dialect -- had begun outgrowing Fowler, and several newer guides began competing with it. The third (1996) edition of Fowler was a disappointment, and left the field without a clear leading authority.
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.
Read more ›
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