Classic advice on writing in English . . .

Essential references for documenting
and for enjoyable browsing

recommended by Conrad Weisert
Information Disciplines, Inc., September 7, 2017

Bergen & Cornelia Evans: Dictionary of Contemporary American Usage, Random House, ISBN 0-88365-566-7
Jeremy Butterfield: Fowler's Modern English Usage, Oxford University Press, ISBN 13: 978-0199661350
Wilson Follett: Modern American Usage, Hill & Wang, ISBN 13: 978-0809001392
Theodore M. Bernstein: The Careful Writer, Free Press, ISBN 13: 978-0684826325
William & Mary Morris: Harper Dictionary of Contemporary Usage, Harper & Row, ISBN 13: 978-0809001392

There are dozens of others, of course, but those are the ones that I've found helpful in professional work. They consist of alphabetized references to words or concepts that are often misused.

They don't offer much about computing technology, but such information is readily found by web search. Every serious software development organization should make these books available to its staff, and every serious proressional should have his or her own copies.

The Morrises' book, like the American Heritage Dictionary, employs "usage panels" of professional writers to discuss issues that might be controversial. It's surprising and disappointing that the panels are divided on many issues.

In addition to looking up a troublesome word or concept, you'll find the volumes entertaining reading for pleasure. I go through mine sequentially every few years and almost always find something interesting that I had forgotten. It's especially satisfying to spot issues upon which those authorities disagree and then form one's own judgment.

Recommended, individually or a group as gifts for a young student.

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