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Posted November 8, 2000
Not for pedants!
Merriam-Webster¿s Dictionary of English Usage is authoritative and comprehensive and a pleasure to read. Ignore the pompous grumblings of a previous reviewer who accuses it of defending bad usage. There are plenty of school-marmish prescriptive usage books out there that will tell you never to split an infinitive or end a sentence with a preposition. Merriam-Webster¿s usage dictionary, by contrast, surveys the opinions of several usage commentators, examines actual usage by educated writers (journalistic, academic, and literary), and advises you of what criticism you may get for a particular usage. But in the end, it lets you decide. As a professional ghostwriter with a variety of clients and types of products, I find that approach intelligent and very helpful.
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