Books on usage(Recommended Books)
The best survey of the history of usage disputes and how they correlate with actual usage is Webster's Dictionary of English Usage, Merriam-Webster, 1989 (WDEU -- recently reprinted as _Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage_, ISBN 0-87779-131-7). Among conservative prescriptivists, the most highly respected usage book is the Dictionary of Modern English Usage, by H. W. Fowler -- 1st edition, 1926 (MEU); a facsimile of the original edition was published by Wordsworth Reference in 1994 (ISBN 1-85326-318-4). The 2nd edition (MEU2), revised by Sir Ernest Gowers (Oxford University Press, 1965, ISBN 0-19-281389-7) is generally respected, although not idolized, by Fowler's devotees. A "third edition", _The New Fowler's Modern English Usage_ (MEU3), by Robert Burchfield (who edited the OED supplement), appeared in 1996 after a long wait (Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-869126-2). It retains virtually none of Fowler's original text, is a sharp philosophical departure from Fowler, and has many errors, although it does contain some information not to be found elsewhere. Oxford University Press has announced that it will keep MEU2 in print as a paperback. (What was initially announced as an independent revision of MEU by the late Sir Kingsley Amis has turned out to be "not a revision of Fowler in any way, but rather a from-scratch usage book of the discursive-paragraph sort": _The King's English: A Guide to Modern Usage_, HarperCollins, 1997, ISBN 0-00-255681-2). _The Elements of Style_ by William Strunk and E. B. White (Macmillan, 3rd ed. 1979, ISBN 0-02-418190-0) and Wilson Follett's _Modern American Usage_ (Hill and Wang, 1966, ISBN 0-8090-0139-X) have their partisans here, although they aren't as *widely* respected as Fowler. Liberals most often refer to the Dictionary of Contemporary American Usage, by Bergen Evans and Cornelia Evans (Random House, 1957, ISBN 0-8022-0973-4 -- out of print).
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