An American Editor

March 20, 2016

On Language: Garner’s Modern English Usage 4th Edition

Bryan Garner has published a new edition of his American English-focused usage, grammar, and style guide, Garner’s Modern English Usage Fourth Edition. I received my copy two days ago. It follows the same format as the third edition but is approximately 200 pages longer.

I find it interesting that he calls it the “Fourth Edition” when the third edition was titled Garner’s Modern American Usage, and the first and second editions had titles that differed from any previous or subsequent edition. I’d be interested in Garner’s explanation.

I have on preorder Garner’s The Chicago Guide to Grammar, Usage, and Punctuation. I was unable to preview it, so I am hoping it is significantly more than what appears in The Chicago Manual of Style 16th Edition. It is due to be published on April 5.

Regardless, if you edit documents in American English, Garner is considered the leading authority on questions of grammar, usage, and style. The new Garner’s Modern English Usage Fourth Edition is a must-have reference for questions regarding American English.

Richard Adin, An American Editor



  1. I have the third edition. With 200 more pages in the fourth, what are the significant differences? Worth the purchase? Thanks! Elizabeth


    Comment by C.E.Robinson — March 20, 2016 @ 1:40 pm | Reply

    • I don’t know what the additions/changes are. My feeling is that it is important to have the most current references from those I recognize as authoritative (although I reserve the right, which I often exercise, to ignore them, but I can’t make a decision to ignore what I don’t know) and Garner is a recognized authority. Just as I buy new versions of style guides I use when they come out, so I buy new versions of usage guides. These are the tools of my profession. Bottom line is that I think anyone who holds him-/herself out as being a professional American editor should buy the book.


      Comment by americaneditor — March 20, 2016 @ 4:04 pm | Reply

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