Review by Booklist Review
Follett, like Fowler (whose landmark work is discussed above), features, in addition to an alphabetically arranged display of entries on many topics, an ``Inventory of Main Entries in the Lexicon,'' i.e., a broadly classified listing that facilitates not only location of material on particular topics but study and consecutive reading. There is much resemblance to Fowler, such as the use of unpredictable entry titles like Unsavory Pasts (on alternatives such as proved or proven, dreamed or dreamt) and Negatives, Trouble with. Students of language will want to consult both Fowler and Follett but if forced for budgetary reasons to choose, most North American users will probably feel more at home, more of the time, with Follett. Despite its age, Follett belongs in all public and academic libraries. The subtlety of Follett's lines of reasoning may make his usage guide seem less user-friendly than some, and where he does not perceive easy answers, he offers none which may mean that in some reference situations his advice may, like Fowler's, be seen as unsatisfying. But where inquirers have time and feel inclined to read slowly and to contemplate the language in all its complexity, Modern American Usage will surely prove to be extraordinarily useful and stimulating.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.