Bryson's Dictionary for Writers and Editors

Bryson's Dictionary for Writers and Editors

by Bill Bryson

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Overview

From one of America's most beloved and bestselling authors, a wonderfully useful and readable guide to the problems of the English language most commonly encountered by editors and writers.

What is the difference between “immanent” and “imminent”? What is the singular form of graffiti? What is the difference between “acute” and “chronic”? What is the former name of “Moldova”? What is the difference between a cardinal number and an ordinal number? One of the English language's most skilled writers answers these and many other questions and guides us all toward precise, mistake-free usage. Covering spelling, capitalization, plurals, hyphens, abbreviations, and foreign names and phrases, Bryson's Dictionary for Writers and Editors will be an indispensable companion for all who care enough about our language not to maul, misuse, or contort it.

This dictionary is an essential guide to the wonderfully disordered thing that is the English language. As Bill Bryson notes, it will provide you with “the answers to all those points of written usage that you kind of know or ought to know but can’t quite remember.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780767922708
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/12/2009
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 773,785
Product dimensions: 5.27(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.85(d)

About the Author

BILL BRYSON's bestselling books include A Walk in the Woods, I'm a Stranger Here Myself, In a Sunburned Country, Bryson's Dictionary of Troublesome Words, A Short History of Nearly Everything (which earned him the 2004 Aventis Prize), and The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. Bryson lives in England with his wife and children.

Hometown:

Hanover, New Hampshire

Date of Birth:

1951

Place of Birth:

Des Moines, Iowa

Education:

B.A., Drake University, 1977

Read an Excerpt

Aa


Aachen.  City in Germany; in French, Aix-la-Chapelle.

a/an.  Errors involving the indefinite articles a and an are almost certainly more often a consequence of haste and carelessness than of ignorance. They are especially common when numbers are involved, as here: "Cox will contribute 10 percent of the equity needed to build a $80 million cable system" or "He was assisted initially by two officers from the sheriff's department and a FBI agent." When the first letter of an abbreviation is pronounced as a vowel, as in "FBI," the preceding article should be an, not a.

Aarhus.  City in Denmark; in Danish, erhus.

abacus, pl. abacuses.

abaft.  Toward the stern, or rear, of a ship.

abattoir.

Abbas, Mahmoud.  (1935-) President of Palestinian National Authority (2005-).

ABC.  American Broadcasting Companies (note plural), though the full title is no longer spelled out. It is now part of the Walt Disney Company. The television network is ABC-TV.

abdomen, but abdominal.

Abdulaziz International Airport, King,  Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem.  (1947-) American basketball player; born Lew Alcindor.

aberrant, aberration.

abhorrent.

Abidjan.  Capital of Ivory Coast.

ab incunabulis.  (Lat.) "From the cradle."

abiogenesis.  The concept that living matter can arise from nonliving matter; spontaneous generation.

-able.  In adding this suffix to a verb, the general rule is to drop a silent e (livable, lovable) except after a soft g (manageable) or sibilant c (peaceable). When a verb ends with a consonant and a y (justify, indemnify) change the y to i before adding -able (justifiable, indemnifiable). Verbs ending in
-ate drop that syllable before adding -able (appreciable, demonstrable).

-able, -ible.  There are no reliable rules for knowing when a word ends in -able and when in -ible; see Appendix for a list of some of the more frequently confused spellings.

ab origine.  (Lat.) "From the beginning."

abracadabra.

abridgment.

abrogate.  To abolish.

Absalom.  In the Old Testament, third son of David.

Absalom, Absalom!.  Novel by William Faulkner (1936).

Absaroka Range,  Rocky Mountains.

abscess.

absinth.

abstemious.

Abu Dhabi.  Capital city of and state in the United Arab Emirates.

Abuja.  Capital of Nigeria.

Abu Simbel,  Egypt; site of temples built by Ramses II.

abyss, abyssal, but abysmal.

Abyssinia. Former name of Ethiopia.

acacia.

Académie française.  French literary society of forty members who act as guardians of the French language; in English contexts, Franeaise is usually capitalized.

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  Institution responsible for the Oscars.

a capella.  Singing without musical accompaniment.

Acapulco, Mexico.  Officially, Acapulco de Juarez.

Accademia della Crusca.  Italian literary academy.

accelerator.

accessible.

accessory.

acciaccatura.  Grace note in music.

accidentally.  Not -tly.

accolade.

accommodate.  Very often misspelled: note -cc-, -mm-.

accompanist.  Not -iest.

accouterment.

Accra.  Capital of Ghana.

Acheson, Dean.  (1893-1971) American diplomat and politician; secretary of state, 1949-53.

Achilles.  King of the Myrmidons, most famous of the Greek heroes of the Trojan War.

Achilles’ heel. (Apos.)

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Bryson's Dictionary for Writers and Editors 2.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
NY_Reader1 More than 1 year ago
Not for everybody, but Bryson can make even this subject interesting. With respect to the previous review: Read a few pages before you buy a book. It'll save you anguish and money.
MichaelMac on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Dictionaries in general are wonderful thieves of time. How often one gets distracted, meandering from word to word, even forgetting the reason for opening the book in the first place. Well, Bryson's Dictionary is different. Yes, it is good for reference, giving the trickier spellings, words which are often confused, British and American uses and so on, but for a writer it can also be read from cover to cover for the sheer enjoyment of discovery. And it has the advantage that it can be put down at any point without losing the plot!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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mslyfe3 More than 1 year ago
I was under the impression that this dictionary included words that are obsolete that are normally used in historical romances. I was sorely disappointed because there are select words included in this dictionary which made this a waste of my money. I suggest that anyone purchasing this dictionary should be mindful of the type of words they wish to define.