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, Socratesbut 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 (17881824)
“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)
“Girls who put out are tramps. Girls who dont are ladies. This is, however, a rather archaic usage of the word. Should one of you boys happen upon a girl who doesnt put out, do not jump to the conclusion that you have found a lady. What you have probably found is a lesbian.”
—Fran Lebowitz (b. 1951)