The Oxford Paperback Dictionary and Thesaurus
NON FICTION BOOK REVIEW
Title:The Oxford Paperback Dictionary and Thesaurus; Edited
by Julia Elliott with Anne Knight and Chris Cowley; Oxford
University Press; ISBN: 0-19-861331-8; Paperback, 912 pages,
Reviewer: Ellen Tremblay, "Once again Oxford University Press
has lived up to expectations. The high standards, and useful
format employed in this volume would make it a welcome
addition to any reference library."
Oxford, the unquestioned authority, does it again
The Oxford English Dictionary is the unquestioned authority
on the English language. When each new edition is published,
wordsmiths pore over its volumes to determine what new words
have been deemed worthy of recognition by the editorial staff.
Editors throughout the English speaking world are interviewed
on radio and television and, in the process, enlighten listeners
as to the reasons for additions as well as deletions.
Although the Oxford University Press is synonymous with the
O.E.D., it is in fact, much more. They publish numerous dictionaries,
handbooks, histories, encyclopedias both in print and on CD rom,
including the Concise Oxford, the Dictionary of Dates, and The
Oxford Paperback Dictionary and Thesaurus. The latter is an
excellent example of the quality and diversity of work published
by this team of English language experts.
To quote from the preface, 'This book combines within one volume
a concise dictionary and useful thesaurus....a single entry contains
information on meaning, spelling and pronunciation, and also offers,
where relevant, lists of words which are related in meaning and
from which an alternative word or phrase may be selected.'
This is a very useful book. It allows its user, in one volume, to look up
an alternative word to the one being used, and to ascertain that this
word expresses the desired thought. There is no need to search
first through the thesaurus to find another word, then through the
dictionary to determine its definition. It is all there in The Oxford
Paperback Dictionary and Thesaurus.
The volume does not devote space to tables, lists of abbreviations,
or explanatory notes, but after 7 pages dedicated to explaining its
use, its pronunciation symbols, and a note on proprietary terms,
pages 1 through 900 are dedicated to terms from 'A abbreviation
ampere(s)' to 'zygote...noun Biology cell formed by union of two
The single deviation from the norm are panels and usage notes
on grammar and punctuation. There are descriptions and
examples of how the comma, question mark, quotation marks
and others should be used.
My personal favorite usage panel is that describing Standard
English. 'Standard English is the dialect of English used by most
educated English speakers and is spoken with a variety of
accents.... While not in itself better than any other dialect, standard
English is the form of English normally used for business dealings,
legal work... and in all formal written contexts.'
Once again Oxford University Press has lived up to expectations.
The high standards, and useful format employed in this volume
would make it a welcome addition to any reference library.
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