- 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 (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 132 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,274 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Garner's Modern American Usage 3rd Edition
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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
Top customer reviews
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I keep this book on my shelf in the office, and it's never disappointed. Highest recommendation for any lawyer who writes often.
In addition, the book contains a super useful index of frequently misused words and terms that I am about halfway done reading through and already feeling totally ashamed.
If you are like me and you find yourself in law school or in some other professional world and you have no idea how to do any of the following but would like to, this is the book for you:
1.) How to offset sections of text in a sentence correctly using Hyphens to present a counterargument.
2.) How to correctly write complicated sentences without using passive voice. (and when to use passive voice)
3.) Which version of tricky words to use that are a step trickier than your usual "there, their, and they're"
4.) If you never had any formal grammar training in school and did proofreading by "intuition" instead.
5.) When to use numbers and when to use the words for numbers for different situations.
And COUNTLESS others.
In short, if your goal is to be well spoken, well written, and to do so at the highest professional levels... I would suggest taking tips from the guy that Justice Scalia talks grammar with. Brian Garner makes absolutely the finest writing texts.
While Garner may lean a bit to the prescriptive side, his advice is always logical and clear..
If you need to justify holding a contrary opinion, you can always resort to "Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage," a copy of which you should also own. It takes a decidedly more descriptive approach to usage.
Most recent customer reviews
I was surprised at the HUGE amount of information and recommendations in this book - almost 1000 pages of 8-point (?) type.Read more