The American Heritage Guide to Contemporary Usage and Style

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2005 - Reference - 512 pages
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This authoritative survey of English usage, grammar, and style offers guidance on almost any writing problem imaginable. Arranged in a single, easy-to-use A–Z list, the guide’s 1,500 entries include examples and quotations that show not only correct and incorrect usage but also the relative effectiveness of different expressions in context.

The guide also presents the opinions of the American Heritage® Usage Panel—a group of two hundred prominent writers, scholars, and scientists—who are polled on traditional and emerging usage problems. The panel makes clear when attitudes about a word are changing, when old chestnuts have been laid to rest, and when today’s innovations are likely to become tomorrow’s standards.

This book confronts traditional bugbears, such as disinterested and lay vs. lie, along with a variety of new challenges, such as seeking closure and begging the question. Commonly confused words, such as impinge and infringe, are teased apart. Notes on science terms explain the difference between popular and technical uses of words like relativity and exponential growth. Rulings are given for tough calls on grammatical controversies, redundancy, and parallelism, and sensible guidance is provided on punctuation, capitalization, and other conventions of style. Both readable and well researched, this book is an eminently sensible source of advice on how to use words effectively.
  

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About the author (2005)

The Editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries and of other reference titles published by Houghton Mifflin Company are trained lexicographers with a varied array of interests and expertise. Most of the editors hold graduate degrees and have studied at least one foreign language. Several have degrees in linguistics or in the history of the English language. Others have degrees in science or sometimes other disciplines. All the editors familiarize themselves with the vocabulary in specific subject areas, collect materials on new developments and usage, and work in association with consultants to ensure that the content of our publications is as accurate and as up-to-date as possible.

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