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JAMA Revisited
July 7, 2015

Modern English Usage

JAMA. 2015;314(1):88. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.11846

“Is that usage correct? Better look it up in Fowler’s.” For almost 40 years this has been a recurrent exhortation, until “Fowler’s” achieved a canonical status along with standard dictionaries. First published in 1926, the book now appears in a welcome second and revised edition.1 Since the textual changes are relatively modest, the new date line makes the old authority appear more current, gives greater emphasis to pronouncements that otherwise might be shrugged off with the thought, “That was all right 40 years ago, but not now.” In a world of shifting values we are glad to see that so much that was right in 1926 still seems equally right today.

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