Handbook of Everyday English Usage – Explore the English Language

Size: 248x170mm Pages: 644 (total) Price: GBP 18.50 Paperback published in England

A word is a single and independent unit of vocabulary. Words are divided into different word classes or parts of speech. Many words can be placed in more than one word class. A large number of words have several meanings. The idea of which word class or classes, a particular word belongs to helps to understand its meaning, function and application. For instance, the word glance functions as a verb as well as a noun. This knowledge helps to use this word in a given situation correctly. The grammar is concerned with the words of a language and rules of combining or joining them together so that they make sense. It can also mean a person’s knowledge and use of a language. In this context, the word rule means a recognised standard method of combining words together in meaningful structures namely, phrase, clause and sentence.

The English language has many words which look similar and sound similar, but they have different meanings and applications and are not interchangeable. It means, you cannot use another word that has almost identical spelling and sounds much the same. On the other hand, there are many words which do not look alike and have different sounds, but they have similar meanings and are thus interchangeable. It means you can use one of these words. Since words are the building blocks of language and the rules of grammar help to build structures, this book deals with words in accordance with their word classes and relevant rules of grammar. It explores everyday grammatical errors and the correct usage of words.

An idiom or idiomatic expression is a group of words. The meaning of the idiom is different from the meaning of individual words forming it. An idiomatic expression cannot be altered or a part of it cannot be replaced, say, by a synonym. It must be used in its given format. Some idioms can be varied slightly, but within the constraints indicated by the idiomatic expression itself. For instance:

. give/lose ground(to somebody/something)

is an idiomatic expression. It allows you to use either give or lose. It also gives you the option of relating it to people or things. There are differences of opinions, when classifying an expression(meaning a phrase) as an idiom, a phrasal verb or a saying. A saying is a well-known statement which has been in use for a very long time. It is generally believed that a saying conveys a wise idea and the truth about something. Differences of opinions, where relevant, are stated at the appropriate place. There are some restrictions on the use of idioms. These restrictions are also known as the style of using idioms. The styles are based on different situations in which individual idiomatic expressions can be used most appropriately and correctly. The misuse of such an expression is usually when its usage is irrelevant to the given situation or circumstance. The styles of idiomatic expressions are broadly as follows:-

. formal – usually serious situations it is mainly between people who are not closely related. It indicates a distant relationship.

. informal – in social situations conversation and letter writing between relatives and friends.

. slang – spoken it is between a specific group of people, e.g., criminals, schoolchildren, young people, etc. – mostly excluded from this book.

. taboo -swear words almost excluded from this book.

. unclassified – no restriction on their usage is imposed.

Occasionally, you may find some other styles of usage, such as rude, old-fashioned, journalism, American, British, literary, derogatory, facetious, written, spoken, etc. It is worth mentioning that there are some variations in publications, when labelling idioms with these styles. In one publication, an idiom may be labelled as formal, but in another publication, it may be informal or even to the level of slang. Good news is that it is not very common practice. The general format of this book is as follows:

. headword:

The meaning of the headword is stated. The class or classes to which it is associated with is/are identified. Where it is necessary, potential pitfalls and the common application of relevant grammatical requirements are outlined and correct usage is suggested.

. headword1, headword2…

When there is more than one headword, each headword is dealt with individually, a reason/reasons for considering these at the same time is/are indicated, their similarities and differences in terms of meanings and uses which are appropriate for a given occasion are discussed. It is illustrated whether they are interchangeable or not. Under some headwords, some idioms are included. These are listed as:

. headword:

. idiomatic expression

It is defined first and then its usage is demonstrated. If there are a number of idioms, each idiom is expressed in the same way. The style of an idiomatic expression is shown, but for some idioms, it is omitted due to some uncertainty surrounding it. Every so often, the origin of an idiom is cited in a panel.

A useful feature of the book is that it makes full use of some of the word processing symbols, which are often used in order to pinpoint the importance of the idea presented. Sometimes, in a panel, some further useful information is added. It is hoped that this will make it easier for its readers to use it as a reference book. We hope you derive as much pleasure and satisfaction from it as ADR enjoyed in its writing. Good luck!