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Burchfield, and other grammar illuminati. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage. Merriam-Webster: Springfield, Massachusetts, Extremely helpful and easy to use and nicely cross-referenced. This might be the most thorough usage book in terms of citation of evidence, reaching back, as it does, into a word or phrase's historical context. There are over 23, illustrative quotations! This book is also, often, quite fun to read, as the editor's tone is sometimes sprightly, invariably mordant, sometimes even caustic, especially when dealing with newspaper and academic writers.

Longman Group: Essex, England.

Syllabus for Fall 2011

This text is for the serious student of English grammar. The index is very good and the text thorough. The editors do a good job of distinguishing between what is formally and informally acceptable. Longman Group: London. There may be grammatical issues that the editors haven't touched upon, but I haven't found them yet. The index is very helpful!

This text is out of print, but you might be able to find it in the reference section of a used bookshop. Not for the faint of heart or bleary of eye. Houghton Mifflin Co. Cleverly divided into sections devoted to grammar, word choice, pronunciation, social labels, gender issues, scientific terms, and electronic communication. This division of labor takes a while to get used to. Usage notes are based on consultation with the same usage panel consulted for the famous American Heritage Dictionary.

The Free Press: New York. Gramercy Books: New York, These two books are similar in intent and design topics arranged alphabetically to Burchfield's New Fowler's , but neither one is nearly as scholarly or grand in scope as the Oxford book. On the other hand, its liberal analysis and advice based primarily on Bernstein's experience as New York Times editor makes for lively reading. If you have to choose between them, go with The Careful Writer.

Allan M. Siegal and William G. Occasionally aimed at a New York writer's audience, but useful, too, for a much wider population. This manual doesn't spend a lot of time explaining or citing authorities or examples; it just tells how words and phrases ought to be used, and for that reason there's a lot of information packed within its pages.

Syntactic arguments and socio-historical background

Watch for it in online used bookstores. Pay careful attention to the "lexicon" in the first few pages of this book, so you can get a sense of how things are arranged before delving into it. The little essays on usage sprinkled liberally throughout the text are eminently sensible and readable. Entries are carefully cross-referenced and lead the reader from one happy discovery to another. Lapsing into a Comma by Bill Walsh. Contemporary Books: New York, Curmudgeonly and friendly at the same time.

Particularly helpful for writers employed by newspapers, as Walsh is the copy editor for the business section of the Washington Post. The book is about half style book, arranged as a dictionary, and half brief essays addressed to style and usage questions. Many interesting sidebars presented. Dozens of fascinating "side-bars" explain peculiarities of English usage and are a pleasant diversion. The information on publication is probably good enough for the amateur, but the professional writer probably needs the CMOS.

Not the best index in the world. Penguin Reference: New York. Alphabetized entries. Lively examples, but the editors seem to want you to mull over examples of bad writing before they tell you what's wrong with it. The book is typographically a mess compared, say, to Garner's. Broadway Books: New York.

This book concentrates primarily on confusable words and goes to extremes to find them: androgenous versus androgynous , expectorate versus spit. But there are usage and style entries of greater moment, too. A lively and readable text.

An Introduction to the Grammar of English

Oxford University Press: New York. Note that this is not a book on usage, although discovering the source of a word or phrase often gives important clues to how that bit of language should be used. This dictionary cites the first usage of thousands of "core words" in addition to words that that are just plain interesting. Wilson does a thorough and scholarly job of distinguishing among the levels of American usage in both written formal [or edited], semiformal, and informal and spoken language oratorical, planned, impromptu, casual, and intimate.


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You have to get used to what these distinctions mean by using the book for a while before it becomes that useful to you. Chicago Manual of Style 14th ed.


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  • U of Chicago P: Chicago. This is worth owning for the chapters on hyphens, abbreviations, and word-division alone. Tables upon tables of information. Nicely and thoroughly indexed, but not the kind of thing you want to pick up and read on a summer afternoon. The guidelines for publication for articles and books go into every conceivable detail. Understanding English Grammar by Martha Kolln.

    As grammar books go, Kolln's book is heavy on description, light on prescription. She uses diagramming, which many readers, especially visual learners and older folks who built sentence diagrams back in the good old days, will find refreshing. Allyn and Bacon: Boston. This is an excellent book. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. It has been eight years since An Introduction to the Grammar of English was first published.

    The second edition is completely revised and greatly expanded, especially where texts, example sentences, exercises, and cartoons are concerned. It continues to provide a very lively and clearly written textbook. The book introduces basic concepts of grammar in a format which inspi It has been eight years since An Introduction to the Grammar of English was first published. The book introduces basic concepts of grammar in a format which inspires the reader to use linguistic arguments. The style of the book is engaging and examples from poetry, jokes, and puns illustrate grammatical concepts.

    The focus is on syntactic analysis and evidence. However, special topic sections contribute sociolinguistic and historical reasons behind prescriptive rules such as the bans on split infinitives, dangling participles, and preposition stranding. The book is written for undergraduate students and structured for a semester-long course.

    It provides exercises, keys to those exercises, and sample exams.

    It also includes a comprehensive glossary. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Original Title.

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