Christopher Chelpka

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Fowler’s Modern English Usage is Still Super-Duper

Two weeks ago, I got a copy of the amazing Garner’s Modern English Usage. I thought it might replace my second edition of Fowler’s Modern English Usage. But there’s is too much fiddle-fiddle in Fowler to give it away. Like this, from the entry on “reduplicated words”:

Many—perhaps most—of these words have a disparaging or contemptuous flavour. A few examples of those that are, on the contrary, colourless, though some of them onomatopoeic, are boogie-woogie, chiff-chaff, crinkum-crankum, criss-cross, flip-flap, hokey-pokey (in one of its senses), hurdy-gurdy, ping-pong, roly-poly, rub-a-dub, pitter-patter, see-saw, tick-tack, walkie-talkie, and zig-zag.

And this is only about a twelfth of the whole essay!