The Oxford Paperback Dictionary and Thesaurus


NON FICTION BOOK REVIEW  

426 words

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,  
CAN$16.50

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 
gametes.'

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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