Re: Deciding on a Dictionary of Modern English Usage

Subject: Re: Deciding on a Dictionary of Modern English Usage
From: Stuart Burnfield <slb -at- westnet -dot- com -dot- au>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Sat, 09 Jun 2007 11:27:10 +0800

> I don't think we have ONE agreed upon version here, at least
> I don't remember seeing one mentioned in the recent memos from
> the Secret Technical Writing Cabal.

Laura! The first rule of the Secret Technical Writing Cabal is -
you *do not* talk about the Secret Technical Writing Cabal!


If I were an American with a general interest in usage, I would probably
want to pick out the 'best' dictionary, that is, the one that best
matched my ideas of what the language is or should be.

As a non-American technical writer who sometimes writes documentation
that's required to be in U.S. English, I'd like to have one dictionary
that I can use as a reference. In other words, my plan or contract would
say: "The manuals will be written in U.S. English. The main reference
for matters of usage and spelling is the XXX."

It sounds as though the American Heritage Dictionary and Merriam-Webster
are both suitable for my purposes, but the AHD might be better because
the usage discussions would help me understand which of two alternate
words would be more appropriate in a given situation.

Does this sound like a fair summary?


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