Modern American Usage

A Guide

Wilson Follett

Hill and Wang

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A classic since its first edition in 1966, Modern American Usage has been called a book that “every literate American ought to read.” Now fully revised and brought up-to-date, this one-volume course in good writing brims with helpful answers—large and small—for readers who want to use English clearly, naturally, and correctly.

Alphabetical for easy consulting (and full of cross-references), the book carries the reader to the entry that explains a troublesome word or phrase—and shows how to use or avoid it. Every page offers natural ways to avoid saying or writing the vague, the long-winded, the needlessly technical, and the hopelessly stale. With verve and eloquence, Erik Wensberg spears the empty words that clog clear thought—“impact,” “frustrated,” “basically,” and many more—and offers us good English words that are definite and have more life.

Offering standards by which to judge language now and in the future, Modern American Usage takes account of a generation of changes in American idiom and of attempts to reform the use of pronouns, titles, and phrases to fit shifting ideals of social justice. All this it does with easy learning and with sympathy alike for the experienced writer and for those who come new to American English.

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About the Author

Wilson Follett

Erik Wensberg has worked as an editor at Esquire and The New York Times Book Review, and has taught nonfiction writing at Columbia University.

Wilson Follett

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Available Formats and Book Details

Modern American Usage
A Guide
Wilson Follett

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Hill and Wang
January 1966
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780809001392
ISBN10: 080900139X
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches, 360 pages
$29.00
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Hill and Wang

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