Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Topic: Grammar and Style Books

10-second review: Some of the best manuals on grammar and style.

Title: “10 Must-Have Grammar and Style Books.” C Leddy. The Writer (August 2009), 52-54.

Comment: I have selected from the author’s list of manuals. For example, I left out Lynn Truss’s Eats, Shoots and Leaves. It deals with the British style of punctuation which is irrelevant in America, although the message of the book is important here in America too: correct punctuation is vital to good writing. RayS.

. The Elements of Style: Fiftieth Anniversary Edition. Strunk and White. Longman. Brief, to-the-point advice on style. Doesn’t always follow its own rules.

. Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English. O’Connor. Riverhead. “…uses more than a spoonful of fun to help the grammar medicine go down.”

.On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction.” Wm. Zinsser. Collins. Well written. Very useful.

. The Sound on the Page: Great Writers Talk About Style and Voice in Writing. B Yagoda. Collins. Interviews 40-plus writers on how writers develop their own style.

. A Pocket Style Manual. D Hacker. Bedford/St. Martin’s. “…guide to the essentials of writing and research….” “Practical.”

. Spunk and Bite: A Writer’s Guide to Punchier, More Engaging Language and Style. A. Plotnik. Random House. If you can forgive the opening pun, you may recognize the author of this book as a writer for The Writer Magazine. Commonsense approach to language, grammar and style. Entertaining, too.

. Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing. M Fogarty. Holt. “Pithy…advice about grammar in an engaging, accessible style.”

The author’s selections conclude with two well-known comprehensive “chestnuts”: Fowler’s A Dictionary of Modern English Usage and The Chicago Manual of Style.

Comment: I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this blog as a source of advice on sentence structure, usage and punctuation. I try to keep my explanations short and clear. I also make judgments about whether the issue is worth worrying about. Most popular usage problem? My advice on “shined” and “shone,” by far the most frequently visited page. RayS.

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