Tag Archives: Merriam Webster

Merriam Webster’s lexicographers

The Merriam Webster Dictionary of English Usage (1989) is unusual among the usage guides I have seen in that the work isn’t by a single author, such as Fowler’s Modern English Usage (1926) or Kingley Amis’s The King’s English (1997). The work … Continue reading

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A Word on Asphalt

Did you ever see the word “ashfault” in a newspaper, book, article ­– or anywhere else at all? Well, until recently I was unaware of this word’s existence (too). It was only when I read Paul Brian’s usage guide Common … Continue reading

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Ain’t, Fanny Burney and the OED

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One of my most delightful discoveries when I was looking for first quotations from eighteenth-century authors in the OED was that Fanny Burney was cited as the first user of ain’t. The source was Evelina, her first novel published in … Continue reading

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Flat adverbs

“Flat Adverbs” are defined by the OED as follows: “Not distinguished by a characteristic ending, as an adverb which has the same form as an adjective or substantive, or a substantive used as an adjective” (OED, s.v. flat, adj., adv. … Continue reading

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