- Author: Eric Partridge
- ISBN: 0140510249
- ISBN13: 9780140510249
- Language: English
- Pages: 384
Usage and Abusage is Penguin's classic linguistic reference book that not only tells you how to use English correctly, but is also a declaration of war on its misuse. Covering grammatical problems, words that are commonly abused and confused, matters of style, as well as providing advice on how to communicate clearly and elegantly, it is the perfect reader for every writer.
Usage and Abusage is designed, not to compete with H.W. Fowler's Modern English Usage (that would be a fatuous attempt - and impossible), but to supplement it and to complement it, and yet to write a book that should be less Olympian and less austere. Even where the two books cover common ground, as inevitably they do occasionally, I have approached the subjects from a different angle and treated them in a different manner. Because I had always intended this to be a very different book, I obtained permission from such eminent scholars as Dr Otto Jespersen, who, to the great loss of scholarship, died on 30 April 1943 at his home in Denmark Dr C. T. Onions Professor George O. Curme Professor I. A. Richards Professor William Empson to quote at length from their magistral works. And to the Oxford University Press I owe a debt of especial gratitude: without their magnificent dictionaries, Usage and Abusage would have been but a poor thing.
Despite - perhaps because of - its avoidance of competition with 'Fowler' and despite its debts, as deliberate as they are numerous, to other books, Usage and Abusage has, whether in the British Commonwealth of Nations or elsewhere, proved itself to be a work self-contained, independent, useful. To increase its usefulness and to bring this guide up to date, much new matter has been added in the fifth (1957) edition. On the other hand, much inessential detail has been removed.
Which is to be preferred - 'nom de plume pseudonym, or pen-name? What are neologisms, disguised conjunctions, and fused participles? How should one set about writing a prcis? More generally, where does usage end and abusage begin?
Language is everybody's business, and enters into almost every part of human life. Yet it is all too often misused : directness and clarity disappear in a whirl of cliches, euphemisms, and woolliness of expression. This book wittily attacks linguistic abusage of all kinds, and at the same time offers helpfully constructive advice on the proper use of English. Eric Partridge is well known for his books on words and usage, and this is the most comprehensive of them all.
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