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gailcalled's avatar

What do you writers recommend as a good modern book of English style and usage?

Asked by gailcalled (54558points) December 26th, 2006
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19 Answers

gailcalled's avatar
Are people still using THE CHICAGO MANUAL OF STYLE?
ALM's avatar
Yes, I have a copy of THE CHICAGO MANUAL OF STYLE but Strunk and White's ELEMENTS OF STYLE is still my favorite source for resolving language debates. When it comes to citation help I refer to the MLA Handbook and I also like to keep a copy of the AP Stylebook at my side for punctuaction and capitalization questions. THE EVERYDAY WRITER has a gorgeous introduction and also lists the twenty most common error patterns (other than misspelling) among US college writers. The link is definitely worth a peek: http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/rewriting/rc6.html
bob's avatar
I love "Elements of Style." If you'd like a more comprehensive approach to English usage, I recommend "Garner's Modern American Usage." You can look up any word or phrase there. It's more useful than any other resource I've seen for finding out the difference between two closely related words, or understanding the proper use of a slightly obscure word.
gailcalled's avatar
"I shot an elephant standing in my pajamas" is an old Groucho Marx joke; the dangling participle was one of the twenty most common error patterns, I discovered,bca. at the bedfordstmartins.com site. (Hi, Susan.)
gailcalled's avatar
I own Strunk and White. Fascinating still, but some of the info seems dated and precious, now that the entire country is blogging and reinventing the language.
gailcalled's avatar
Another Flutherer (student at WA U in St. Louis) reminded me of the funny book, EATS, SHOOTS AND LEAVES...how punctuation can change a mild panda into a demented NRA member. Recommended for teen-aged proto-writers.
ALM's avatar
What does "bca. at the ..." mean?
gailcalled's avatar
A typo; sorry.
gailcalled's avatar
That is a VERY good site. Thanks.
omfgTALIjustIMDu's avatar
I go to a writing school and they give us each a copy of "Woe is I," a great and engaging book on English style and usage.
gailcalled's avatar
To omf......What do the folks at the writing school say about e-monikers that are a tad over the top? :-)
omfgTALIjustIMDu's avatar
To gailcalled....What are e-monikers and what do you mean?
mdlukas's avatar
Bedford's Writer's Handbook is really really good. If you want something a bit ideosyncratic and old-fashioned, check out Fowler's Modern English Usage.
hossman's avatar
You can't go wrong with Strunk and White. I am also a big fan of "The Deluxe Transitive Vampire, The Ultimate Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed" by Karen Elizabeth Gordon.
hossman's avatar
"Woe is I" is also good, as is "Eats, Shoots & Leaves" by Lynne Truss. And I agree about the electronic noms de keyboard.
bmoodey's avatar

"Simple and Direct" is a splendid book by Jacques Barzun, one of those amazing persons who become masters of a language that they were not born to.

gailcalled's avatar

@bmoodey; Joseph Conrad was another; his first language was Polish but his novels were all written in English... Thanks for tip about Barzun and his book.

morphail's avatar

Merriam-Webster’s Concise Dictionary of English Usage.

“it treats you like a grown-up. Strunk and White treat you like the abused 9-year-old daughter of a pair of grumpy dads”

http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/001803.html

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