Synopses & Reviews
In every age, writers and editors need guidance through the thickets of English usage. Although some language issues are perennial (infer
), many others spring anew from the well of English:
* Is it all right to say alums instead of alumni or alumnae? And should it be spelled alums or alumns?
* Should I say empathic or empathetic? Do you home in or hone in? Is it a couple of dozen or a couple dozen?
* What's the singular of paparazzi? Is paparazzis an acceptable plural? What about graffiti--singular or plural? And what about kudos?
* What's the correct pronunciation of concierge? Or schism? Or flaccid?
This book will tell you. In 750 pages of crisp, precise, and often witty pronouncements on modern American English, Bryan Garner authoritatively answers these and thousands of other questions that bedevil those who care about the language. Garner draws on massive evidence to support his judgments, citing more than 5,000 examples--good, bad, and ugly--from sources such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Newsweek.
Here is a usage guide that, whether you're a language connoisseur or just a dabbler, you can savor in a leisurely way, a few paragraphs at a time. No one can browse through the book without sharing the author's spirited awareness of how words work and his relish for exposing the affectations that bloat our language. Yet if you don't have the time for browsing, but simply want a quick answer to an editorial riddle, this book is your best bet.
DMAU can justifiably lay claim to being the most comprehensive treatment of how American English is used--and abused--as we enter the 21st century.
"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)
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.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 877-879).
About the Author
Bryan A. Garner
, a lawyer and lexicographer, has written extensively on the English language. His earlier books include A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage
and The Elements of Legal Style
, and he is editor-in-chief of Black's Law Dictionary
. He is president of LawProse, Inc., a Dallas-based company that provides continuing-legal-education seminars to lawyers throughout the United States.