Words: A User's Guide: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Words: A User's Guide

1st Edition

By Graham Pointon, Stewart Clark


452 pages

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pub: 2016-02-10
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Words: A User's Guide is an accessible and invaluable reference that is ideal for students, business people and advanced learners of English. The book is structured in groups of words that may be confused because they sound alike, look alike or seem to have similar meanings, and this approach makes it much more intuitive and easy to use than a dictionary.

Contrasting over 5000 words (such as habitable and inhabitable, precipitation and rainfall, reigns and reins), Words: a User’s Guide provides examples of usage adapted from large national databases of contemporary English, and illustrates each headword in typical contexts and phrases.

This book gives you straightforward answers, and helps with pronunciation, spelling, style and levels of formality. For those working internationally it presents international standards and compares usage in Britain and the USA. Words: A User’s Guide is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to communicate well in written and spoken English.

"At last! A book about the use of words that clarifies and de-mystifies in an eminently usable way. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to write well. It is a book to keep."

Sandy Gilkes, Head of the Centre for Academic Practice, University of Northampton

"Rigorous, fresh, intriguing and downright useful, it deserves a place on every properly stocked reference shelf."

Brian Cathcart, Professor of Journalism, Kingston University

"From the pedantic to the permissive, everyone who’s interested in the English language and the way we speak and write it will want a copy of this practical, entertaining book."

Wynford Hicks

(author of Quite Literally and The Basics of English Usage)

Table of Contents


Guide to pronunciation


Words: A User’s Guide

Grammar section

Word formation

Punctuation guide

Writing skills

About the Authors

Stewart Clark is a lecturer and adviser on English language usage at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. He also lectures on English usage elsewhere in Scandinavia.

Graham Pointon was the BBC's Pronunciation Adviser as head of the Pronunciation Research Unit for 23 years, and before that lectured on English Phonetics at the then University of Trondheim.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General