By H. W. Fowler
No publication had extra impression on twentieth-century writers of English than Henry Fowler's Dictionary of contemporary English utilization. It speedily turned the normal paintings of reference for the proper use of English by way of selection of phrases, grammar, and elegance. a lot enjoyed for his enterprise critiques, ardour, and dry humor, Fowler has stood the attempt of time and continues to be thought of via many to be the easiest arbiter of excellent practice.
Now Oxford is bringing again the unique long-out-of-print first version of this loved paintings, superior with a brand new advent via considered one of today's major specialists at the language, David Crystal. Drawing on a wealth of exciting examples, Crystal bargains an insightful reassessment Fowler's popularity and his position within the historical past of linguistic proposal. Fowler, Crystal issues out, was once way more refined in his research of language than most folks become aware of and lots of of his entries show a priority for descriptive accuracy which might do any glossy linguist proud. And even if the booklet is stuffed with his own likes and dislikes, Fowler's prescriptivism is generally clever and reasoned. Crystal concludes warmly that Fowler was once like "an endearingly eccentric, schoolmasterly personality, pushed every now and then to exasperation via the infelicities of his wayward scholars, yet continuously short of the simplest for them and hoping to supply the easiest assistance for them.... He might shake his stick at us, yet we by no means think we're truly going to be beaten."
In the concluding portion of the ebook, Crystal examines approximately three hundred entries intimately, bargains a latest point of view on them, and indicates how English has replaced because the Nineteen Twenties. This fascinating and lengthy awaited re-release of 1 of the vintage works of English reference will pride all people attracted to language.
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Additional info for A Dictionary of Modern English Usage: The Classic First Edition
If I Had) under the pseudonym Egomet (reissued under his name in 1929 with the title If Wishes Were Horses). xxix Historical and Cultural Background Grammar dropped as a compulsory subject in British primary schools. Invention of wireless telegraphy. Second Boer War begins (to 1902). Death of Queen Victoria. First flight by the Wright brothers in the USA. Chronology XXX Life 1908 Publishes privately a book of schoolmasterly essays Between Boy and Man. Marries Jessie Marian Wills, 10 March, on his fiftieth birthday.
To take a single example in detail, no-one but a competent philologist can tell whether reasonable comes from the verb or the noun reason, nor whether its original sense was that can be reasoned out, or that can reason, or that can be reasoned with, or that has reason, or that listens to reason, or that is consistent with reason ; the ordinary man knows only that it can now mean any of these, & justifiably bases on these & similar facts -a generous view of the termination's capabilities; credible meaning for him worthy of credence, why should not reliable & dependable mean worthy of reliance & dependence ?
The many that have passed into common use (as trial, arrival, refusal, acquittal, proposal) have thereby established their right to exist. But when words of some age (as reaisal, refutal, appraisal, accused) have failed to become really familiar & remained in the stage in which the average man cannot say with confidence off-hand that they exist, the natural conclusion is that there is no work for them that cannot be adequately done by the more ordinary verbal nouns in -ion (revision), -ation (refutation, accusation), & -ment (appraisement).
A Dictionary of Modern English Usage: The Classic First Edition by H. W. Fowler