Oxford University Press has quietly rolled out a resource copyeditors have been wanting for years at a price that suits self-funded budgets: an easily searchable online edition of Garner’s Modern American Usage.
Garner’s is the most thoughtful, comprehensive, and up-to-date reference for what careful writers deem correct English usage. It’s an invaluable guide for copyeditors.
Oxford’s introduction of an electronic Garner’s on Jan. 16 is part of an Oxford Dictionaries website redesign with new subscription pricing. There is no charge to see just dictionary content and some other language resources. A $14.95 annual payment turns off the ads and provides 2 million sample sentences. Skip those options. The “gold” level for $24.95 per year offers Garner’s Modern American Usage and also Garner’s Dictionary of Legal Usage, New Hart’s Rules (U.S. edition), and the New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors.
Subscribers in the UK pay £20 per year, which makes it more costly at the current exchange. A UK subscription buys access to Pocket Fowler’s Modern English Usage instead of Garner’s Modern American Usage. The UK package includes the UK edition of New Hart’s Rules.
But there is no need to choose. Scroll to the bottom of the page for a drop-down menu that lets you switch between the U.S. and UK versions, meaning you can have your Garner and Fowler, too.
There are even more resources available in a simple search box with drop-down menu. The display is clean, although the headings display overly large on my screen. The site is optimized to also display well on tablets and smartphones.
Bear in mind, this does not include the Oxford English Dictionary, which is available in a separate subscription for $295 per year. Instead, it includes the enhanced online editions of either the Oxford Dictionary of English or the New Oxford American Dictionary (or both, if you switch between versions).