Garner's Modern American Usage

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Oxford University Press, USA, Jul 28, 2009 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 1008 pages
2 Reviews
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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, GMAU 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. An exciting new feature of this third edition is 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. GMAU is the first usage guide ever to incorporate such a language-change index. 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. Bryan A. Garner is a writer, grammarian, lexicographer, teacher, and lawyer. He has written professionally about English usage for more than 28 years, and his work has achieved widespread renown. David Foster Wallace proclaimed that Bryan Garner is a genius and William Safire called the book excellent. In fact, due to the strength of his work on GMAU, Garner was the grammarian asked to write the grammar-and-usage chapter for the venerable Chicago Manual of Style. His advice on language matters is second to none.

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User Review  - stevearrants -

While Garners Modern American Usage is an essential book in my line of work I will not be ordering from Overstock again. The book looks like it was stuck in a dusty room. The outside of the pages are ... Read full review

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The usage guide is fairly comprehensive and well-written. Most entries are logical and well-explained, but there are some that are poorly explained. Sometimes the author relies too heavily on his own judgment.
I wouldn't recommend this usage book. Many usage rules in this book can be found at no cost online. If this is not the case, then the rules are obscure, so very, very few people will recognize or appreciate that you followed them. Besides, you will make some errors even if check your usage repeatedly as not every rule is there in the book.
It will be extremely boring, time-consuming, and a waste of time to use the book. You will not write perfectly even if you make the most of it and very few will give you credit. You will try to write perfectly, which will take hours, and nobody will even recognize your effort. You may spend 2 hours on a writing task that would normally only take 30 minutes. It won't matter at all in almost all situations - as long as you can write normally, it is okay. You don't have to be a grammarian to be successful in all fields.
The book is very expensive (40 dollars), considering that most rules can be found online or are very obscure and that some are poorly explained, while others are obvious or known by most people, especially educated people. I also criticize the fact that a panel of critical readers is there. It takes over a page to write all their names! This is not the hard work of an individual. It's like plagiarism.


Pronunciation Guide
Key to the LanguageChange Index
Making Peace in the Language Wars
The Ongoing Struggles of GarlicHangers

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