Synopses & Reviews
The first edition of Garner's Modern American Usage established Bryan Garner as "an American equivalent of Fowler" (Library Journal). With more than 23,500 copies sold, this witty, accessible, and engaging book has become the new classic reference work praised by professional copyeditors as well as the general public looking for clear advice on how to write more effectively. In 1999, Choice magazine named it an Outstanding Academic Book and the American Library Association dubbed it an Outstanding Reference Source. With thousands of succinct entries, longer essays on key issues and problematic areas, and up-to-the-minute judgments on everything from trendy words to the debate over personal pronouns, GMAU is approachable yet authoritative.
Since the book first appeared in 1998, Bryan Garner has diligently continued tracking how we use our language. The second edition includes hundreds of new entries ranging from Dubya to weaponize (coined in 1984 but used extensively since 9/11) to foot-and-mouth, plethora (a "highfalutin equivalent of too many"), Slang, Standard English, and Dialects. It also updates hundreds of existing entries. Meanwhile, Garner has written a major essay on the great grammar debate between descriptivists and prescriptivists. Painstakingly researched with copious citations from books and newspapers and newsmagazines, this new edition furthers Garner's mission to help everyone become a better writer, and to enjoy it in the process.
"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)
"Clearly one of the best works on the topic" --Booklist starred review
"Whether taking those first steps on the road to good writing--namely, the avoidance of bad writing--or tending to further details of clarity, style, and organization, the writer-editor, like any artisan, needs guidance from a master. Such guidance is just what Garner's Modern American Usage provides, and lots of it." --Five Towns Jewish Times
"Garner makes grammar fun, and readers will not only find elucidation but also moments of pure delight while browsing these pages. 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. [Garner's] book is the best of its kind in that it simply reports the facts in an engaging way; language evolves and usage changes. An invaluable ready-reference tool." School Library Journal
"Garner's book is by far the best on contemporary usage. For language lovers or for those attempting to find out how words are being used today, Garner's Modern American Usage is an indispensable tool." --Technical Communication
Since first appearing in 1998, Garner's Modern American Usage
has established itself as the preeminent guide to the effective use of the English language. Brimming with witty, erudite essays on troublesome words and phrases, this book authoritatively shows how to avoid the countless pitfalls that await unwary writers and speakers whether the issues relate to grammar, punctuation, word choice, or pronunciation.
Now in the third edition, readers will find the "Garner's Language-Change Index," which registers where each disputed usage in modern English falls on a five-stage continuum from nonacceptability (to the language community as a whole) to acceptability, giving the book a consistent standard throughout. Garner's Modern American Usage, 3e is the first usage guide ever to incorporate such a language-change index, and the judgments are based both on Garner's own original research in linguistic corpora and on his analysis of hundreds of earlier studies. Another first in this edition is the panel of critical readers: 120-plus commentators who have helped Garner reassess and update the text, so that every page has been improved.
Few people today can write with the same authority on the English language as Bryan A. Garner. In this comprehensive work, he expands his popular and much-consulted chapter from the Chicago Manual of Style to cover not only grammar and usage but also syntax, word formation, and punctuation. The book offers advice and explanations for what constitutes standard literary Englishand#151;the forms that mark writers and speakers as educated users of the languageand#151;along with some historical context for understanding the development of these forms. Special features include a discussion of how the canonical parts of speech came to be identified, coverage of both traditional sentence diagramming and contemporary transformational grammar, and several dozen Google Ngrams illustrating how the usage of specific terms has evolved over the centuries of printed English books. The book concludes with an exhaustive glossary of grammatical terms and a bibliography of suggested readings. It is a magisterial work, the culmination of Garnerand#8217;s several decades of study of the English language.
About the Author
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.