Garner’s Modern English Usage: Fourth Edition by Bryan Garner (2016)

Garner’s Modern English Usage: Fourth Edition
by Bryan Garner
Oxford University Press, 2016
1,120 pages

There are certain resource materials that every writer must possess in his arsenal, including a dependable dictionary and thesaurus. Words are the building blocks of language, and a dictionary and thesaurus will assist in putting one’s thoughts together in an understandable manner. Whether one is using those words appropriately, however, is another matter. In his massive Garner’s Modern English Usage: Fourth Edition, linguist Bryan Garner addresses the proper way to put words together.

In addition to more than 6,000 entries on grammar, syntax, punctuation, style, and more, Garner addresses the battle between prescriptive linguists and descriptive linguists. Prescribers are known to suggest how language should be used, while describers simply observe and report on how it is used. Garner falls more into the prescriptive camp, though he concedes there are some battles lost long ago that should not be resurrected. Garner does report on how language is used, utilizing modern tools such as Google’s ngrams to make this one of the most reliable linguistic guides ever, but he does not shy away from denouncing improper usage when needed.

As a resource, Garner’s Modern English Usage: Fourth Edition is a valuable tool. Not as indispensable as a standard dictionary or thesaurus, but it is a fantastic tool that can be used to give one’s writing more accuracy.

Learn more about Oxford University Press.

Purchase Garner’s Modern English Usage: Fourth Edition by Bryan Garner.


About JT

Preacher. Author. 911 dispatcher. Baseball fan. Horror nut. Music nerd. Bookworm. Time Magazine's 2006 Person of the Year.

Posted on April 5, 2016, in books, reviews, writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Garner is quite the guru in the legal-writing world. I took a seminar from him in about 2005, and it was excellent. I haven’t read this one, though it sounds like I should.

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