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The Cambridge Guide to English Usage


  • Page extent: 622 pages
  • Size: 247 x 174 mm
  • Weight: 1.41 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 423/.1
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: PE1464 .P47 2004
  • LC Subject headings:
    • English language--Usage--Dictionaries
    • English language--United States--Usage--Dictionaries
    • English language--Great Britain--Usage--Dictionaries
    • English language--Australia--Usage--Dictionaries
    • English language--Canada--Usage--Dictionaries

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521621816 | ISBN-10: 052162181X)

The Cambridge Guide to English Usage is an A-Z reference book, giving an up-to-date account of the debatable issues of English usage and written style. Its advice draws on a wealth of recent research and data from very large corpora of American and British English - illuminating their many divergences and also points of convergence on which international English can be based. The book comprises more than 4000 points of word meaning, spelling, grammar and punctuation, and larger issues of inclusive language, and effective writing and argument. It also provides guidance on grammatical terminology, and covers topics in electronic communication and the internet. The discussion notes the major dictionaries, grammars and usage books in the USA, UK, Canada and Australia, allowing readers to calibrate their own practices as required. CGEU is descriptive rather than prescriptive, but offers a principled basis for implementing progressive or more conservative decisions on usage.

• The book is based on extensive, up-to-date corpus data rather than on the author's personal intuition or prejudice • It is truly international in scope, differentiating clearly between US, UK, Canadian and Australian usages and referring to other regional varieties as required • It is clearly and accessibly written, for easy use by anybody concerned with accurate communication in English, whether as a student, a writer, or in other business and professional spheres


Preface; Overview of contents and how to access them; A to Z entries; Appendix I. International Phonetic Alphabet symbols of English sounds; Appendix II. Geological eras; Appendix III. Perpetual calendar 1901–2008; Appendix IV. International system of units (SI units); Appendix V. Interconversion tables for metric and imperial measures; Appendix VI. Selected proofreading marks; Appendix VII. Formats and styles for letters, memos and e-mail; Appendix VIII. Layout for envelopes; Appendix IX. Currencies of the world; Bibliography.


'The Cambridge Guide to English Usage is unique in the extent of its coverage of all the major varieties of English and in the degree to which it is based on corpus evidence, that is, on the analysis of vast collections of actual written and spoken language in each of the varieties under study. Peters' judicious use of these corpora and her evident familiarity with the extensive literature of past and contemporary language studies give The Cambridge Guide to English Usage an authority unmatched by any other usage guide.' Sidney Landau

'… invaluable …' The Good Book Guide

'… an ideal reference tool for fiction and non-fiction writers.' Ink

'There are excellent entries on matters of grammar, punctuation and style. Typical of these entries are those for relative clauses and the subjunctive, the colon and quotation marks, dangling participles and the sequence of tenses. These entries are very detailed and comprehensive, and written with great clarity.' Australian Book Review

'The A-Z format makes it easy to look up questions of word use, rules of punctuation and even whether (for example) to italicise your Latin abbreviations. If you are a working writer, this is the book to keep by you to solve all your tricky questions.' The Writing Magazine

'Users of the book will benefit from the author's having drawn on an enormously wide range of recent research and investigation into current usages and historic backgrounds.' Contemporary Review

'… refreshingly rational … You'll warm to her.' Sunday Telegraph

'This is a beautifully produced book, a joy to look at and to use … All in all, a delightful book … once you open it and find what you are looking for, there is an almost irresistible temptation to go on to dip into something else, and then something more, and so on … I shall recommend it to people who ask me questions about usage as well as to people who think they have all the answers.' The Canberra Editor

'The Cambridge Guide to English Usage will answer … thousands of … questions on usage …' Writer's News

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