Usage

Usage is the manner in which written and spoken language is used. H. W. Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage "defines usage as 'points of grammar, syntax, style, and the choice of words'". The Oxford Dictionary of English defines usage as "the way in which a word or phrase is normally and correctly used." But the word's meaning can be ambiguous. It can mean "the way people actually use language" or it can mean "the way one group of people feel other people ought to use it."

The Chicago Manual of Style notes that "the great mass of linguistic issues that writers and editors wrestle with don't really concern grammar at all—they concern usage: the collective habits of a language's native speakers." It goes on to note that "the standards of good usage change, however slowly."

Dictionaries are not always accurate guides to "good usage." "Despite occasional usage notes, lexicographers generally disclaim any intent to guide writers and editors on the thorny points of English usage."

Read more about Usage:  History

Famous quotes containing the word usage:

    Pythagoras, Locke, Socrates—but pages
    Might be filled up, as vainly as before,
    With the sad usage of all sorts of sages,
    Who in his life-time, each was deemed a bore!
    The loftiest minds outrun their tardy ages.
    George Gordon Noel Byron (1788–1824)

    ...Often the accurate answer to a usage question begins, “It depends.” And what it depends on most often is where you are, who you are, who your listeners or readers are, and what your purpose in speaking or writing is.
    Kenneth G. Wilson (b. 1923)

    I am using it [the word ‘perceive’] here in such a way that to say of an object that it is perceived does not entail saying that it exists in any sense at all. And this is a perfectly correct and familiar usage of the word.
    —A.J. (Alfred Jules)