- Hardcover: 1008 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 3 edition (August 27, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0195382757
- ISBN-13: 978-0195382754
- Product Dimensions: 10 x 2 x 7.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (127 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #170,457 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Garner's Modern American Usage 3rd Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up—Garner makes grammar fun, and readers will not only find elucidation but also moments of pure delight while browsing these pages. This edition includes more than 10,500 entries (an increase of approximately 1500 over the 2003 volume). There are preface statements from all three editions as well as new, worthwhile introductory essays: "Making Peace in the Language Wars" and "Ongoing Struggles of Garlic-Hangers" (a consideration of the descriptive vs. proscriptive debate). As always, the entries are not only filled with clear lessons about language usage, trends, and problems inherent in misuse, but they are also peppered with cleverly chosen examples of both usage and misusage. Entries run anywhere from a line or two about spelling ("espresso" not "expresso") to a full column (see "effete") or more (see "irregular verbs" and the table following). Added to this edition is a language-change index that rates where a disputed usage falls on a scale of 1-5 (with 1 being "widely rejected" and 5 being "universally accepted") so that readers can gauge the correctness of a phrase such as "Hopefully, it won't rain tomorrow." Garner isn't a snob, though. His book is the best of its kind in that it simply reports the facts in an engaging way; language evolves and usage changes. The book ends with a 46-page glossary of grammatical, rhetorical, and other language-related terms, and a 10-page time line of books on usage. An invaluable ready-reference tool.—Herman Sutter, Saint Agnes Academy, Houston, TX
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* The “prescriptive/descriptive” debate in usage is alive and well with this newest edition of Garner’s readable work. Featuring more than 10,500 entries (up from 9,000), this edition features several enhancements. They include identifying poor usage with an asterisk before the terms and ranking certain entries with a “Language Change Index,” which measures “how widely accepted various linguistic innovations have become.” The scale is from 1 to 5, with 1 being rejected and 5 being fully accepted. For example, coupon being mispronounced “kyoo” instead of “koo” is given stage 4 (“the form is virtually universal but is opposed on cogent grounds by a few linguistic stalwarts”). More than 2,000 usages are ranked. Extras in the volume include a new essay from Garner (“The Ongoing Struggles of Garlic-Hangers”) as well as the essay that appeared in the previous edition (“Making Peace in the Language Wars,” in which Garner describes himself as being “a kind of descriptive prescriber”) and a concluding 47-page glossary of grammatical terms and a time line of books on usage. The main focus remains Garner’s entries and usage notes. They range from word entries that simply verify the spelling (mayonnaise), to those clarifying two terms (sight, site), to those where he offers his never dull opinions (such as holocaust, which he calls “one of our most hyperbolic words, beloved of jargonmongers and second-rate journalists”). But the longer essay entries on usage, ranging from the half-page Officialese to the 9-page Punctuation, are Garner’s bread and butter. One would be tempted to say that this is clearly one of the best works on the topic, but doing so would be using one of Garner’s weasel words (intensives such as clearly that “actually have the effect of weakening a statement”). Suffice it to say that it is highly recommended for most libraries. --Ken Black
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
I keep this book on my shelf in the office, and it's never disappointed. Highest recommendation for any lawyer who writes often.
Garner has done it again with this revised edition of Garner's Modern American Usage. I've used this book for several years and it has been an invaluable resource for me in my writing-intensive occupation. In fact, I doubt seriously that I've written anything substantial in the past several years without turning to this book at least once. Often, I'm pretty confident about proper usage, but turn to this book anyway for entertainment (it rarely disappoints). I usually find myself enthusiastically agreeing with Mr. Garner, and rejoicing that this source is available to settle usage disputes. For those new to this book, most of the entries address proper usage of specific words or short phrases. There are also essay entries that address grammar, style, and other issues. The essays cover a broad range of topics. For example, there is an entry on "punctuation" and another on "jargon." And any usage guide with an essay called "Airlinese" (discussing gems such as "deplane") gets my vote.
I only recall disagreeing with Garner on minor points, such as whether to avoid the word "hopefully" altogether. I think it is a useful word and, hopefully, any stigma attached will dissipate with use (see what I did there?).
I would simply not do without this book, a style manual (such as the Chicago Manual), and a good dictionary.
ON THIS EDITION:
There are five changes I'll note for this edition: (1) ranking of word usage/acceptance (1-5); (2) asterisks next to poor words; (3) new binding; (4) more entries; (5) revisions to prior entries.
The most interesting addition is the 1-5 scale for the acceptance of words in usage. Controversial or problematic words are ranked from 1 (unacceptable) to 5 (proper), interestingly combining prescriptive and descriptive concepts. All told, so far I find it an interesting tool, but probably not world-changing. The entries, as they have in the past, describe appropriate usage in a way that is more detailed and nuanced than a scale could hope to be. In some circumstances, I see how this might clarify some issues.
The next change that I noticed was the use of a "*" preceding words that shouldn't be used (or non-words). For example, a passage might read "although *irregardless has been used for decades, it should be shunned." (irregardless would also be in italics, like all terms under a given entry heading). I understand the reason for this, but I find it far more annoying than useful. I suppose I'll get used to it eventually, but my eye is trained to associate a footnote with an asterisk (even if I'm not used to seeing it before a word). This isn't a deal-breaker, of course; I just find it distracting. Others may like it.
The other notable changes are pretty self-explanatory. Of course the new edition contains more entries (substantially more, in fact), and other entries are revised. I happen to like the new binding and layout. The paper seems a bit thinner, the text smaller, and the book a little taller, which results in a thinner book with more content than the previous edition.
In sum, I recommend this book to anyone who writes, copy-edits, or who is passionate about the English language.