Continuing the description of books on words in the list from post 1, which you’ll find here.
Book 8: Bryson’s Dictionary for Writers and Editors
On with the info.
Hardback, 454 pages, including eight appendices covering topics from “Words ending in ‘able’ and ‘ible’” to “Numerals,” via “Metric prefixes” and “Main units of currency”. It was published by Doubleday in 1991; my version is the revision from 2008 and cost £14.99, still available in used form from around £2.94. The paperback edition, published by Black Swan in April 2009, has 464 pages and is available for £9.99.
The book is a collection of everyday words, specialist terms and proper nouns built up by the author over 30 years. He explains that it’s a concise guide to problems of English spelling and usage commonly encountered by writers and editors.
I bought the book as an addition to my other word books, having been impressed by Bill Bryson’s previous works. It acts as a quick reference guide when alternative books may involve more searching.
Opening at a random page (162-163) I come upon:
‘Freefone (cap.) free telephone service of British Telecom;
Friesian, Frisian Friesian is a breed of cattle; Frisian is a north Germanic Language and the name of a chain of islands lying off, and politically divided between, the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany. Friesian cattle in the US are normally called Holsteins. Frisian is also sometimes applied to people from Friesland, the Dutch province that partly encompasses the Frisian islands;
further, farther In so far as the two are distinguished, farther usually appears in contexts involving literal distance (‘New York is farther from Sydney than from London’) and further in contexts involving figurative distance (‘I can take this no plan no further’).’
And, from the appendices, did you know that ‘pico’ is one-trillionth, whereas ‘tera’ indicates 1 trillion?