Genre: Arts, History & Current Affairs
Published: 12 May 2009
Publisher: Anchor Books

Bryson’s Dictionary for Writers and Editors

by Bill Bryson


What is the difference between cant and jargon, or assume and presume? What is a fandango? What’s the new name for Calcutta? How do you spell supersede? Boutros Boutros-Ghali? Is it hippy or hippie?

These questions really matter to Bill Bryson, ever since his days as a rookie subeditor on The Times back in the 1970s; and they matter to anyone who cares about the English language. Originally published as The Penguin Dictionary for Writers and Editors, BRYSON’S DICTIONARY FOR WRITERS AND EDITORS has now been completely revised and updated for the twenty-first century by Bill Bryson himself. Here is a very personal selection of spellings and usages, covering such head-scratchers as capitalization, plurals, abbreviations and foreign names and phrases. Bryson also gives us the difference between British and American usages, and miscellaneous pieces of essential information you never knew you needed, like the names of all the Oxford colleges, or the new name for the Department of Trade and Industry – or the correct spelling of Brobdingnag.

An indispensable companion to all those who write, work with the written word, or just enjoy getting things right, it gives rulings that are both authoritative and commonsense, all in Bryson’s own inimitably good-humoured way.

"Bryson is against pomposity and in favour of clarity and brevity...Waugh would find much to surprise and please him here." - Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday
"Your favourite transplanted American (and mine) has ventured into the field of Linguistic Guidance for Limeys...Language lovers...should raise three cheers." - Erica Wagner, The Times