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Merriam-Webster's Concise Dictionary of English Usage Paperback – January 1, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0877796336 ISBN-10: 0877796335 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 799 pages
  • Publisher: Merriam-Webster; 1 edition (January 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0877796335
  • ISBN-13: 978-0877796336
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.9 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #236,160 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Merriam-Webster's Concise Dictionary of English Usage is a dictionary. It is not a usage guide. It is not Fowler, or Partridge, or Bernstein (nor, at 799 pages, is it exactly concise, but that's another matter). Unlike those eminent watchdogs of the English language, the editors of this volume are record-keepers, chronicling the way language is used, not the way it should be used. Based on Merriam Webster's Dictionary of English Usage, this book cites the classic English-language specialists generously but finds its true course by observing actual contemporary usage. Take the word discomfit, for example, the meaning of which (to thwart, foil, or frustrate) is staunchly defended in many usage guides. Sorry, says Merriam-Webster. Their survey says that the use of the word as a synonym to discomfort is so entrenched as to have become "thoroughly established" as the most prevalent meaning. Though the editors of this book are more reporters than campaigners, their prose is eminently readable, charming, and even, like that of the best usage enforcers, quirky. For instance, the word data, they claim, is a "queer fish," while errata "leads a double life," and yclept is "peculiar-looking." --Jane Steinberg

About the Author

For more than 150 years, in print and now online, Merriam-Webster has been America's leading and most-trusted provider of language information. All Merriam-Webster products and services are backed by the largest team of professional dictionary editors and writers in America, and one of the largest in the world.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on September 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
Merriam-Webster's Concise Dictionary Of English Usage: The Essentials Of Clear Expression is a well organized, extremely practical, "user friendly" writer's reference. More than 2,000 extensive and meticulous entries discuss the nuances in the daily uses, both historical and present, of commonly confused words in the English language. Enhanced with a multi-page bibliography, Merriam-Webster's Concise Dictionary Of English Usage is a solid and highly recommended guide for anyone who works with words as a core aspect of their career.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By pinerat on April 21, 2012
Format: Paperback
I am fascinated with and by words.

Because of that, I found this book to be a useful dictionary, covering words from a/an and abbreviations to zoom, and the "problems" or differences that may arise in usage for those whose job is working with words.

There is also a short ("brief" in the words of the dictionary) history of the English language, a pronunciation guide, and a bibliography of source materials for the advice given in the body of the dictionary.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Much better than most style guides; this book offers historical and grammatical context about each entry that allows for a better understanding of prescribed usage than regular style guides, which don't offer much more in explanation than "don't do it because it's wrong".
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