Garner’s Modern American Usage, 2d edition, 2003
Published to great acclaim in 1998, A Dictionary of Modern American Usage quickly became a classic reference work, establishing Bryan Garner as the “American equivalent of Fowler” (Library Journal). Witty, accessible, and engaging, Garner’s work proved to be not only an authoritative guide for writers, editors, and students, but also a delightful diversion for language lovers.
Since the first edition appeared, Garner has diligently tracked developments in English usage and style. The result is a dramatically revised and updated second edition, which Oxford University Press has renamed Garner’s Modern American Usage.
With thousands of succinct entries as well as extensive essays, GMAU treats more usage questions than any other usage guide has ever done—yet is highly approachable and enjoyable, combining expertise and wit. Garner deals with grammar, syntax, word choice, punctuation, capitalization, spelling, and style. Among the 1,300 new entries are abominable, E.E Cummings, denizen labels, dialect, Dubya, foot-and-mouth, frog legs, functional variation, ground zero, Meritage, mondegreens, names, 180-degree turnaround¸ retronyms, rhetoric, slang, Standard English, weaponize, and Wellerisms. In fact, this second edition has almost half again as much content as the first. And every entry in the first book has been reconsidered for this new edition to reflect linguistic shifts in our fast-paced society.
Painstakingly researched with copious examples drawn from print sources, this new edition also features a select glossary of linguistic and literary terms and a major new essay on the debate between prescriptive and descriptive grammarians (“Making Peace in the Language Wars”). And it includes the preface to the first edition, which lays out Garner’s critical credo.