The New Fowler’s Modern English Usage

The New Fowler’s Modern English Usage

H. W. Fowler, R. W. Burchfield
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I am a non-native English speaker. So naturally I like prescriptive English usage guides, and have an inherent doubt over the newer ‘descriptive’ ones—I do not feel I am guided enough. For this reason, I did not think this book worth buying, after reading some reviews of this book. However, my opinions turned around 180° after browsing a few pages in a bookstore.
Take for example the use of ‘hopefully’. Previous guides I read say that using it in the meaning ‘I hope’ is not recommended in formal contexts, but the reason they give is not persuasive. Burchfield powerfully argues for the VALIDITY of ‘sentence adverb’, cites historical evidence of the usage, and concludes it with: ‘since at least the 17c., certain adverbs in -ly have acquired the ability to qualify a predication or assertion as a whole.... In the last third of the 20c., this little-used and scarcely observed mechanism of the language has broken loose.... Conservative speakers, taken unawares by the sudden expansion of an unrecognized type of construction, have exploded with resentment that is unlikely to fade away before at least the end of the 20c.’ Well, I am persuaded enough now to use ‘hopefully’ with a clear conscience. I believe he has the authority to tell the trend and direction of the English language.
The books takes into account different variants of the English language, including British, American, Australian, Canadian, etc., and its style is light-hearted and humorous. For example, when reading about whether to use English plural forms or Latin plural forms for Latin words in English, I cannot help laughing when I read: ‘when formal knowledge of Latin rules is fading fast, it is not surprising that there should be a general movement towards the English plurals ... but ... a degree of self-satisfaction is certainly in order if a knowledgeable person chooses to retain the Latin plural form’. I wish I would not shy away to correct others’ ‘Criteria 1’ :-).
The book is both historical and modern. It is not pedagogical, and is fun to read. I highly recommend it to anyone who is serious about writing and speaking good English.
Year:
2000
Edition:
3
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Language:
english
Pages:
899
ISBN 10:
0198602634
ISBN 13:
9780198602637
Series:
New Fowler's Modern English Usage
File:
PDF, 29.75 MB
IPFS:
CID , CID Blake2b
english, 2000
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