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Encyclopedia > Fowler's Modern English Usage

A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, often referred to simply as Fowler's Modern English Usage, or Fowler, is a style guide to British English usage, authored by Henry W. Fowler. Fowler covers in detail many issues of usage, from plurals and literary techniques to distinctions between similar words and the usage of foreign terms. Style guides generally give guidance on language use. ... Diagram showing the geographical locations of selected languages and dialects of the British Isles. ... Henry Watson Fowler (10 March 1858 - 26 December 1933) was an English schoolmaster, lexicographer and commentator on usage, notable for both Fowlers Modern English Usage (first published 1926) and his work on the Concise Oxford Dictionary. ... Note: This page contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... A Literary technique or literary device may be used by works of literature in order to produce a specific effect on the reader. ...


The work concentrated on British usage, and set the standard for all usage books to follow. Its first edition of 1926 remains in print, but more recent editions have updated the book.


Fowler's remark on the split infinitive is noteworthy: A split infinitive is a grammatical construction in the English language where a word or phrase, usually an adverb or adverbial phrase, occurs between the marker to and the bare infinitive (uninflected) form of the verb. ...

   
Fowler's Modern English Usage
"The English-speaking world may be divided into (1) those who neither know nor care what a split infinitive is; (2) those who do not know, but care very much; (3) those who know and condemn; (4) those who know and approve; and (5) those who know and distinguish."
   
Fowler's Modern English Usage

Fowler concludes that split infinitives should not attract as much attention as they do, and says that they are indeed sometimes the best way to express one's meaning if used properly. With regard to the careful correction of a split infinitive, he clarified: Image File history File links Cquote1. ... The word Anglosphere describes a certain group of anglophone (English-speaking) nations which share historical, political, and ethnocultural characteristics rooted in or attributed to the historical experience of the British people. ... Image File history File links Cquote2. ...

   
Fowler's Modern English Usage
"It is of no avail merely to fling oneself desperately out of temptation; one must so do it that no traces of the struggle remain; that is, sentences must be thoroughly remodelled instead of having a word lifted from its original place & dumped elsewhere:..."
   
Fowler's Modern English Usage

See the split infinitive article for further discussion. Image File history File links Cquote1. ... Image File history File links Cquote2. ... A split infinitive is a grammatical construction in the English language where a word or phrase, usually an adverb or adverbial phrase, occurs between the marker to and the bare infinitive (uninflected) form of the verb. ...


Only the first edition of the book was completely Fowler's. The second edition was a very light revision by Sir Ernest Gowers and the third edition was very substantially revised and rewritten by Robert Burchfield. The third edition is regarded by many as inappropriately liberal in its advice, in part because while it marks a number of constructions and phrases as "informal" it refuses to counsel against their usage in a fashion similar to earlier editions. Sir Ernest Gowers (1880 - 1966) was a British civil servant, now best known for work on style guides for the writing of the English language. ... Robert William Burchfield (January 27, 1923 - July 5, 2004) was a scholar, writer, and lexicographer. ...


The difference between the first and second editions on the one hand, and the third on the other, can be understood as a shift from prescriptive to descriptive linguistics; the criticism the third edition received is perhaps in part due to the popularity of earlier editions with proponents of prescriptive linguistics such as David Foster Wallace, who wrote approvingly of "Fowler's" in an essay in Harper's Magazine. In linguistics, prescription is the laying down or prescribing of normative rules of the language. ... David Foster Wallace is an American novelist, essayist, and short story writer. ... An issue of Harpers Magazine from 1905 Another issue, from November 2004 Harpers Magazine (or simply Harpers) is a monthly general-interest magazine covering literature, politics, culture, and the arts. ...

  • First edition, 1926 (reprinted in 2003, see References below)
  • 2nd edition, 1965
  • 3rd edition, 1996 (The New Fowler's Modern English Usage)

2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... 1965 (MCMLXV) was a common year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1965 calendar). ... 1996 (MCMXCVI) was a leap year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year for the Eradication of Poverty. ...

See also

A case of disputed English grammar arises when there is disagreement about whether a given construction constitutes correct English. ... Elegant variation is a phrase coined by Henry W. Fowler to refer to the unnecessary use of synonyms. ... Logorrhoea (US/Canadian logorrhea) (Greek λογορροια, logorrhoia, word-flux) is defined as an excessive flow of words and, when used medically, refers to incoherent talkativeness that occurs in certain kinds of mental illness, such as mania. ... Pleonasm is the use of more words (or even word-parts) than necessary to express an idea clearly. ... Politics and the English Language (1946) is one of George Orwells most famous essays. ... It has been suggested that Eileen OShaughnessy be merged into this article or section. ... In linguistics, prescription is the laying down or prescribing of normative rules for the use of a language. ...

Similar works

The Elements of Style, 2000 edition. ... William Strunk Jr. ... Elwyn Brooks White (July 11, 1899 – October 1, 1985) was a leading American essayist, author, and literary stylist. ... The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) is a style guide for American English published by the University of Chicago (from which it receives its name). ... English language spread in the United States. ... There is more than one usage of the word markup. ... Plain Words is a style guide for British English written in 1948 by Sir Ernest Gowers, and expanded and reissued in 1954 as The Complete Plain Words (ISBN 0140511997). ... Sir Ernest Gowers (1880 - 1966) was a British civil servant, now best known for work on style guides for the writing of the English language. ...

References

  • Fowler, Henry; Winchester, Simon (introduction) (2003 reprint). A Dictionary of Modern English Usage (Oxford Language Classics Series). Oxford Press. ISBN 0-19-860506-4.
  • Burchfield, R. W. (Editor); Fowler, H. W. (1996). The New Fowler's Modern English Usage. Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-869126-2.
  • Nicholson, Margaret; (1957). "A Dictionary of American-English Usage Based on Fowler's Modern English Usage". Signet, by arrangement with Oxford University Press.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Henry Watson Fowler at AllExperts (337 words)
Henry Watson Fowler (10 March 1858 – 26 December 1933) was an English schoolmaster, lexicographer and commentator on usage of English.
Fowler and his younger brother volunteered for service in the British army in 1914, with the 56-year-old Henry lying about his age.
Francis died of tuberculosis in 1918, and Henry Fowler's book of English usage — which was dedicated to his brother — was published in 1926.
Fowler's Modern English Usage: Information from Answers.com (424 words)
A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, often referred to simply as Fowler's Modern English Usage, or Fowler, is a style guide to British English usage, authored by Henry W. Fowler.
Fowler covers in detail many issues of usage, from plurals and literary techniques to distinctions between similar words and the usage of foreign terms.
Fowler concludes that split infinitives should not attract as much attention as they do, and says that they are indeed sometimes the best way to express one's meaning.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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