Shaw, Harry. Dictionary of Problem Words and Expressions. New York, NY: Pocket Books, c1975.
Reference type: Dictionaries
Authority: Harry Shaw is the author of many books on English grammar and usage.
Audience Relation: Writers who are interested in being precise with their language or those who have trouble with certain words and phrases, such as affect and effect, would benefit from this work..
Scope: This book is meant to clarify common usage errors for words that are spelled nearly the same or for phrases that are often misused. It is meant to be useful for any author.
Content Evaluation: This book is very useful for explaining the differences between certain words and phrases. It was published in standard mass market paperback size with buff pages and black print. Entries are in a single column on the page listed in alphabetical order with cross-referencing (i.e. effect: See affect). The entry headings list both or all of the confusing terms in boldface followed by a description of the usage for each. This description often includes examples as illustrations of usage. Additionally, some phrases are included without comparison phrases because they are a problem unto themselves. As an example, Shaw suggests that the phrase, "curiously enough," has no added meaning for a sentence and should be struck.
This book is a very valuable resource that is, unfortunately, out of print. However, many copies seem to be circulating in the online out of print market. Despite the age of the book, the entries are not dated in any apparent way. And, one imagines there would be little to add in a more up-to-date edition, with perhaps the exception of computer terms.
Any writers would benefit from owning a copy of this book.