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H. W. Fowler & Ernest Gowers, "A Dictionary of Modern English Usage (2nd Edition)"
Oxford University Press | 1985 | ISBN: 0192813897 | siPDF | 748 pages | 24.1 MB
This classic text has become the standard work on the correct but natural use of English and has ensured that Fowler is a household name. Written in Fowler's inimitable style, it gives clear guidance on usage, word formation, inflexion, spelling, pronunciation, punctuation, and typography. It includes advice on using: that, which or who; working and stylish words; worn-out humour; hybrids and malformations. Witty and practical, it remains an invaluable source of useful guidance on the correct use of English.
Fowler is a household name in all English-speaking countries and for over sixty years Modern English Usage has been the standard work on the correct but natural use of English.
A guide to precise phrases, grammar, and pronunciation can be key; it can even be admired. But beloved? Yet from its first appearance in 1926, Fowler's was just that. Henry Watson Fowler initially aimed his Dictionary of Modern English Usage, as he wrote to his publishers in 1911, at "the half-educated Englishman of literary proclivities who wants to know Can I say so-&-so?" He was of course obsessed with, in Swift's phrase, "proper words in their proper places." But having been a schoolmaster, Fowler knew that liberal doses of style, wit, and caprice would keep his manual off the shelf and in writers' hands. He also felt that description must accompany prescription, and that advocating pedantic "superstitions" and "fetishes" would be to no one's advantage. Adepts will have their favorite inconsequential entries—from burgle to brood, truffle to turgid. Would that we could quote them all, but we can't resist a couple. Here Fowler lays into dedicated:
Needless to say, later on rara avis is also smacked upside the head! And practically fares no better: "It is unfortunate that practically should have escaped from its true meaning into something like its opposite," Fowler begins. But our linguistic hero also knew full well when to put a crimp on comedy. Some phrases and proper uses, it's clear, would always be worth fighting for, and the guide thus ranges from brief definitions to involved articles. Archaisms, for instance, he considered safe only in the hands of the experienced, and meaningless words, especially those used by the young, "are perhaps more suitable for the psychologist than for the philologist." Well, youth might respond, "Whatever!"—though only after examining the keen differences between that phrase and what ever. (One can only imagine what Fowler would have made of our late-20th-century abuses of like.) This is where
Tags: EnglishUsage, WritingReference