Henry Watson Fowler David Crystal
A Dictionary of Modern English Usage
September 09, 2018 Comments.. 792
A Dictionary of Modern English Usage No book had influence on twentieth century writers of English than Henry Fowler s Dictionary of Modern English Usage It rapidly became the standard work of reference for the correct use of English in

  • Title: A Dictionary of Modern English Usage
  • Author: Henry Watson Fowler David Crystal
  • ISBN: 9780199585892
  • Page: 341
  • Format: Paperback
  • No book had influence on twentieth century writers of English than Henry Fowler s Dictionary of Modern English Usage It rapidly became the standard work of reference for the correct use of English in terms of choice of words, grammar, and style Much loved for his firm opinions, passion, and dry humor, Fowler has stood the test of time and is still considered by manyNo book had influence on twentieth century writers of English than Henry Fowler s Dictionary of Modern English Usage It rapidly became the standard work of reference for the correct use of English in terms of choice of words, grammar, and style Much loved for his firm opinions, passion, and dry humor, Fowler has stood the test of time and is still considered by many to be the best arbiter of good practice Now Oxford is bringing back the original long out of print first edition of this beloved work, enhanced with a new introduction by one of today s leading experts on the language, David Crystal Drawing on a wealth of entertaining examples, Crystal offers an insightful reassessment Fowler s reputation and his place in the history of linguistic thought Most important, Crystal examines nearly 300 of Fowler s entries in detail, offering a modern perspective on them, and showing how English has changed since the 1920s This exciting paperback edition of one of the classic works of English reference will delight everyone interested in language.About the Series For over 100 years Oxford World s Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe Each affordable volume reflects Oxford s commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up to date bibliographies for further study, and much .

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    1 Blog on “A Dictionary of Modern English Usage

    1. Rob says:

      the first edition of this was published in 1926. written by a genius named Henry Fowler, it is a legendary masterpiece of wit, erudition, and inscrutable insight into how to write well. it has everything - commonly confused pairs, spellings, plurals, and ultranittygritty grammar (EIGHT PAGES on the word "that"). the entries are like little essays, pithy and hilarious, and soooooo old schoole first ed is great, but suffers a bit as a tool for writing today, so after much humming and hawing, i bou [...]

    2. Rachel says:

      Although I do not find this book truly useful, I do find it amusing. Here is the part about French words: Display of superior knowledge is as great a vulgarity as display of superior wealth -- greater indeed, inasmuch as knowledge should tend more definitely than wealth towards discretion and good manners. That is the guiding principle alike in the using and in the pronouncing of French words in English writing and talk. To use French words that your reader or hearer does not understand, to pron [...]

    3. Stephen says:

      4.0 stars. This is on the short list of the best reference books around. It is not accurate to say that I have "read" this entire book but I have been using it fairly extensively since I acquired it in 1991 as part of an 8 volume leather bound set from Easton Press called the "Complete Oxford Reference Set." I have found it to be an excellent reference tool that is both easy to use and comprehensive.

    4. Daniel says:

      Fowler's "Modern English Usage" is one of those books that really has no business existing: a reference guide that's fun to read. You could spend hours flipping from entry to entry -- especially since many of the entries make reference to others -- discovering all the mistakes you've been making in your writing over the years. Because H.W. Fowler was incredibly opinionated (check out his stance, for example, on the use of "preface" vs. "foreword"), the book's unique abbreviations take some getti [...]

    5. Bob Nichols says:

      This book has a few gems to educate the reader on the history of usage and to correct some common misunderstandings and mistakes. But these are hidden in a mass of detail. The book is plagued with the following defects: (1) too often Fowler takes forever, if ever, to make his point and, even then, his point is not frequently clear; (2)on the issue of clarity, Fowler lapses into his own considerable jargon so that, for example, "'of' is here not partitive but appositional" and it is even now more [...]

    6. Simon says:

      Fowler is truly the most english of englishmen. This is a righteously indignant, uptight, catty look at how language should and shouldn't be used. While the second edition was mildly updated in 1965 by Sir Ernest Gowers, it remains in essence a turn of the century work. Just plain fun to read.

    7. John says:

      Strunk and White? Never 'eard of 'em. This is my Old Testament and The King's English is my New.

    8. Sammy says:

      I have to agree with the more erudite reviews already posted: in some ways, this is a 5-star work. In others, it's a write-off.As a writer myself, I find Fowler to be one of the pre-eminent reference texts. He covers a vast range of words and phrases - from the regularly misused to archaisms which, when they are used, need clarifying - with a wit that often borders on scathing. It's great fun to be searching for a simple definition or clarification, and end up having a good giggle at the same ti [...]

    9. Alex Brightsmith says:

      I love this book whole-heartedly.I won't pretend that with this one work you can leap from ignorance to expert knowledge, but if you already have a fair grasp of good usage, and are willing to have to look up the occasional technical term, this is an invaluable guide to the points you sometimes doubt, or know from practice but have never entirely understood.The age of this edition is no hindrance in this. I find that on occasions when I need to be absolutely right, what I really need to do is to [...]

    10. Mark Desrosiers says:

      The 1926 edition was riveting, the sort of prose that seduces your snarky mind and infects your dreams. Logical, romantic, hilarious: the firmest virtues. This thick modern update is a bag of wind, a pail of Sominex. Consult it if you need to, but don't say I didn't warn you if the resulting narcolepsy puts you off your game.

    11. Richard Epstein says:

      A dangerous book to consult. Many, many times I have picked it up to check something specific, only to find out, an instant later, that 30 minutes have passed, and I am still reading. James Patterson should write such riveting prose.

    12. Tom says:

      a wonderful, funny, knowledgeable, opinionated book, for those who love words and language. But beware of the ebook version. It seems to be a poor scan of the text, which no one ever bothered to proofread.

    13. Richard Thomas says:

      A faithful place of refuge when in pedantic mode both as a corrective and a comfort.

    14. Andy says:

      the latest edition, while more accurate, lacks some of the curmudgeonly editorializing that earlier editions had

    15. Connor says:

      I think this book is the most amazing book in the entire world!!! IF YOU DON'T READ THIS, LIFE'S NOT WORTH LIVING.

    16. John Cooper says:

      [This review is of the Oxford World's Classics edition published by Oxford University Press and edited by David Crystal, not the older version edited by Gowers.]Back in the early 2000s, the software company I worked at had some unused books left over from a project, including a late printing of the first edition of H. W. Fowler’s *A Dictionary of Modern English Usage,* first published Great Britain in 1926. So I snagged it. As David Crystal says in his introduction to this new Oxford World’s [...]

    17. Linda says:

      I have had this 1986 edition of Fowler's Modern English Usage on my bookshelf for over thirty years, and it really is a key text for any writer, as I was reminded this weekend in conversation with Frank Moorhouse at the Sydney Writers Festival - his wonderful essay 'Is Writing a Way of Life?' in the latest Meanjin mentions that as a young journalist, he read a page of Fowler's a day. I'm not sure I ever tackled it in quite the same disciplined manner, but I definitely dog-eared its pages. Settin [...]

    18. Jeff says:

      In this idiosyncratic masterpiece, Fowler dedicated himself to discussing (sometimes pedantically, sometimes whimsically, always insightfully) how and why we use and misuse a few thousand English words, one of which is "one." Fowler's discussion of "one" goes on for 3+ pages and includes a section on what he calls the "false first-person one," in which "one" uses "one" instead of/in place of "I." In 1944, Fowler noted the presence of the "false first-person one" only in journalism, where "it ena [...]

    19. David Dranchak says:

      Henry W. Fowler's, Modern English Usage is the style guide upon which other style guides are based on. "Henry W. Fowler's general approach to English usage was to encourage a direct, vigorous writing style, and to oppose all artificiality - firmly advising against unnecessary, convoluted sentence construction, foreign words and phrases, and archaisms. He opposed all pedantry, and notably ridiculed artificial grammatical rules without warrant in natural English usage - such as bans on split infin [...]

    20. Codex says:

      This is one of those reference books you just have to have on your shelf. It contains a wealth of information about how to use English properly, and why. Many subtle aspects are explained in a way that naturally sets this work apart from others. The fact that it has been around for so long stands testimony to its value as a unique language resource.This is not just another dictionary or thesaurus: it is about more than the mechanics of language. You can delve into this book at random and be sure [...]

    21. Palmyrah says:

      A stylistic dictionary that is a work of literature itself. The advice is sound, conduces to elegant writing, and is dispensed with a light hand. It is also full of surprises: we learn, for example, that many 'American' spellings — 'gray’ is one example — are actually older than their current British equivalents.Do not bother with any of the modern versions, which have been bowdlerized, politically corrected and eviscerated. The last edition that was any good was published in 1926.

    22. Howard says:

      It's pretty impractical to try to use this the way you would Chicago or one of the other style guides, but it's a lot of fun to read. Just open it anywhere. I always learn something new about how the language works. (I'm talking around the first edition; I haven't looked at the revisions, so I don't know about those.)

    23. Chip Hennen says:

      A must-read (but not an easy read) reference source for anyone really serious about the rules that govern the construction of modern American English composition. Although no one has the last word in matters involving grammar and word useage, this tome comes close than any other written on the subject.

    24. Luke says:

      Avoid the third edition at all costs. The first is great, but extremely dated. The second, this one is widely considered the best. It came recommended by several advisers in college at different universities. I know own two copies, one for my office at home and another for my office on campus (I'm currently in graduate school).

    25. Mark Singer says:

      From time to time I will read a random selection from this book, and will have two distinct reactions. The first is my amazement at the complexity of the English language. The second reaction is to imagine Fowler, in the voice of Alan Rickman, sneering at my grammatical ineptitude.

    26. MirvanEreon says:

      Because I love languages and I love learning, I found this book very comprehensive and useful. I like reading it out of fun. I love to browse through its pages and simply know more about English.

    27. John Jr. says:

      Learned in a way that'll seem arcane to some people nowadays, but for me this is priceless.

    28. L S says:

      The non plus ultra for every English pedant; James, I'm thinking of you, you pedant.Fowler is intensely snippy and irresistable.

    29. Mary says:

      I'm just snooty enough to love this. The reasons behind the rules. Wish there was something around like this today, because language changes so quickly and so do the rules.

    30. Tarquilla says:

      Useful tool for readers and writers alike.

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