A Dictionary of Modern English Usage: The Classic First Edition

ISBN : 9780199585892

H.W. Fowler; David Crystal
832 ページ
129 x 196 mm
Oxford World's Classics
  • Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage is a classic, an unsurpassed resource on the correct use of English in matters of style, grammar, and syntax. Leading language expert David Crystal now re-evaluates Fowler for the twenty-first century.
  • The only edition to include contextualizing introduction and commentary.
  • David Crystal's introduction places the Dictionaryin the climate of its time, and reaches some fascinating conclusions about how the book really works, looking beyond the common notion that it is wholly prescriptive and idiosyncratic. Illustrated with numerous illuminating examples from the Dictionary.
  • Notes on entries discuss the changes in usage and attitude between Fowler and the present day, showing how English has changed since the 1920s by reference to modern corpus studies, grammars, dictionaries, and the internet.
  • Includes a chronology, bibliography, and a table of pronunciation preferences, showing how the pronunciation of words has changed during the past century.

'What grammarians say should be has perhaps less influence on what shall be than even the more modest of them realize ...' 
No book had more influence on twentieth-century attitudes to the English language in Britain than Henry Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage. It rapidly became the standard work of reference for the correct use of English in terms of choice of words, grammar, and style. Much loved for his firm opinions, passion, and dry humour, Fowler has stood the test of time and is still considered the best arbiter of good practice. 
In this new edition of the original Dictionary, David Crystal goes beyond the popular mythology surrounding Fowler's reputation to retrace his method and arrive at a fresh evaluation of his place in the history of linguistic thought. With a wealth of entertaining examples he looks at Fowler's stated principles and the tensions between his prescriptive and descriptive temperaments. He shows that the Dictionary does a great more than make normative recommendations and express private opinion. In addition he offers a modern perspective on some 300 entries, in which he shows how English has changed since the 1920s. 


Note on the Text
Select Bibliography
A Chronology of H. W. Fowler
Appendix: Fowler's Pronunciation Preferences
Notes on the Entries


H. W. Fowler
Introduction and notes by David Crystal, Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Bangor

David Crystal is the author of many books on language in general and the English language in particular, such as The Stories of English (2004), The Fight for English (2006), and Think on My Words: Exploring Shakespeare's Language (2008). His previous lexicographical work includes A Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics (6th edn., 2008), and Johnson's Dictionary: an Anthology (2005). His autobiography, Just a Phrase I'm Going Through: My Life in Language was published in 2009 (Routledge).