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::List of English words with disputed usage

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Title::usage''    English::usage    Chambers::american    Sense::chref    Bartleby::should    Heritage::usage

Some English words are often used in ways that are contentious between writers on usage and prescriptive commentators. The contentious usages are especially common in spoken English, and descriptive linguists point out they are accepted by many listeners. While in some circles the usages below may make the speaker sound uneducated or illiterate, in other circles the more standard or more traditional usage may make the speaker sound stilted or pretentious.

For a list of disputes more complicated than the usage of a single word or phrase, see English usage controversies.

Abbreviations of dictionaries cited
Abbrev. Dictionary Further details
AHD4 The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language 4th Edition
AHD5 The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language 5th Edition, 2013, online
CHAMBERS Chambers 21st Century Dictionary 2006
COD11 Concise Oxford English Dictionary 11th Edition
COED Compact Oxford English Dictionary AskOxford.com
ENCARTA Encarta World English Dictionary online
FOWLER The New Fowler's Modern English Usage Revised 3rd Edition (1998)
MAU Garner's Modern American Usage 3rd Edition (2009)
M-W Merriam-Webster online
OED Oxford English Dictionary online
RH Random House Unabridged Dictionary 2006; at Dictionary.com

List of English words with disputed usage sections
Intro   A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I    J    L    M    N    O    P    Q    R    S    T    U    W    Y    Further reading   References   External links   

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