Garner's Modern American Usage
|Author||Bryan A. Garner|
|Publisher||Oxford University Press|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover)|
|Pages||1008 (third edition)|
|LC Class||PE2827.G37 2009|
Garner's Modern American Usage, edited by Bryan Garner, is a usage guide for contemporary American English. It covers issues of usage, pronunciation, and style, from distinctions among commonly confused words and phrases and notes on how to prevent verbosity and obscurity. In addition, it contains essays about the English language.
The first edition was published in 1998 as A Dictionary of Modern American Usage. In 2003 the second edition was published under the current title with a third more content than its predecessor. A third edition was published in August 2009. Oxford University Press has also published an abridged, paperback edition of Modern American Usage as the Oxford Dictionary of American Usage and Style (2000).
Novelist David Foster Wallace said, "The fact of the matter is that Garner's dictionary is extremely good ... Its format ... includes entries on individual words and phrases and expostulative small-cap MINI-ESSAYS." (An unabridged, much lengthier version of David Wallace's essay, "Authority and American Usage", appeared in a 2006 anthology of essays entitled Consider the Lobster.) Garrison Keillor has called Garner's Modern American Usage one of the five most influential books in his library. Other critics, from John Simon to William Safire to Bill Walsh to Barbara Wallraff, have praised the book's clear, simple, and nuanced guidance.
Michael Quinion of WorldWideWords.org said in his review that usage guides “row a course against the current of modern lexicography and linguistics,” which are descriptive fields that often fail to "meet the day-to-day needs of those users of English who want to speak and write in a way that is acceptable to educated opinion.” Quinion opined that Garner lays down rules without falling victim to “worn-out shibboleths or language superstitions.”
Mike Tinsley of America Speaks For Itself, says the Garner's book, "have the nerve to say what meanings are correct and which one are not. The only person or persons that would put together a guidance book of this nature have, themselves, committed such violations repeatedly. Garner's Modern American Usage fails to acknowledge that American English is so butchered that it is a shame for anyone or any faction to claim perfection of the language and how it is use by others. Especially, when today's English dictionaries contain words such as "Bling (expensive, shining jewelry)" and "Lamestream (the traditional media considered by some people as old-fashioned and gullible)."
- World Wide Words: Garner’s Modern American Usage
- Wallace, David Foster (April 2001). "Tense Present: Democracy, English, and the Wars over Usage". Harper's Magazine. Harper's Magazine Foundation. Archived from the original on 29 March 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
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