Books: Language by Committee

MODERN AMERICAN USAGE by Wilson Follett. 436 pages. Hill & Wang. $7.50.

So many books on proper English usage already exist—Strunk, Fowler, Jespersen, Evans, Mencken—that the appearance of yet another is a case of meeting an unfelt need. One dependable authority in this field, like one telephone company, should be enough, and the English-speaking world has had one since British Lexicographer Henry W.

Fowler published Modern English Usage in 1926. That valuable reference, generously tinctured with the author's wit, has not been allowed to go out of date; it was revised only last year by...

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