This was my introduction to the reality that there are two different editorial policies used by the editors of dictionaries.
Merriam-Webster's Concise Dictionary of English Usage - Merriam-Webster, Inc - Google книги
The terms we use to describe them are descriptive and prescriptive. You can probably figure out what they mean. Descriptive dictionaries describe the language.
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They include words that are commonly used even if they are nonstandard. They will often include nonstandard spellings. Prescriptive dictionaries tend to be more concerned about correct or standard English. They prescribe the proper usage and spelling of words. That school dictionary in which I found ain't was a descriptive dictionary.
Descriptive Dictionaries The truth of the matter is that today virtually all English language dictionaries are descriptive. The editors will usually say that they are simply recording the language and how its words are used and spelled.
True, there may be some guidance. For example, most Merriam-Webster dictionaries will note if certain words are deemed nonstandard or offensive by most users; however, the words are still included. Of modern dictionaries, only the Funk and Wagnall's contains a certain amount of prescriptive advice. Historically, Dictionaries were Prescriptive This was not the case with the first dictionaries in England and America.
They were prescriptive. Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language had social commentary and jokes. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Ward Gilman Editor. The complete guide to problems of confused or disputed usage.
By Merrill Perlman
Is it correct to write alright , or is all right the right one? Which cases call for in , as opposed to into? Comprehensive usage articles help you write and speak accurately. Entries re The complete guide to problems of confused or disputed usage.
Entries reveal a usage history, contemporary analysis, and a recommended solution. Quotations illustrating usage help you make informed choices. Over 20, illustrative quotations provide concrete examples of how words are used. Special history and pronunciation sections help you build understanding and knowledge. A Brief History of English Usage and a quick-reference guide to Pronunciation Symbols provide background and supplementary data.
Alphabetical listings and cross-referencing help you find answers fast.
More than 2, entries and cross-references facilitate quick look-ups. Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. More Details Other Editions 5. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jul 16, Ben rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: writers. I would recommend this book to anyone who does a lot of writing. It has excellent, well-researched advice on the proper usage of a number of English words and phrases. It is very "descriptivist" -- that is, rather than simply deferring to an expert's opinion, the researchers actually search through numerous archives of English literature, journalism, etc, as well as other usage guides to formulate their recommendations.
Apr 21, Rick Bavera rated it it was amazing Shelves: reference. I am fascinated with and by words.
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There is also a short "brief" in the words of the dictionary history of the English language, a pronunciation guide, and a bibliography of source materials for the advice given in the body of the dictionary. Feb 27, Amanda rated it it was amazing.
How could I not love a book that answers my most burning usage questions and also helps me win arguments? I usually have to just make-believe an opponent for these arguments because all the real people are afraid to fight with me about this stuff, but it still gives me a great sense of triumph when I win--which I ALWAYS do!
Apr 09, Robert Owens rated it really liked it Shelves: nonfiction , reference , usage , donated. This is not the best usage guide ever, but it is a good one. Many an argument was settled with this book.
Frankly, anyone who fancies himself a wordsmith better know what's included here. All basic and straightforward but necessary nonetheless. Nov 01, Kelsey rated it it was amazing. This usage dictionary is vital for any writer, editor or English lover in general. It has great histories and explanations of many common dilemmas and usage questions we face. Dec 20, Warwick rated it really liked it Shelves: language , dictionaries , grammar , english. The sine qua non of English usage reference. There is an exemplary reliance on evidence with plenty of supporting quotations , rather than the usual intellectually trivial acceptance of received rules.