Learning better grammar

Painless Grammar by Rebecca Elliot Ph.D.

Click here to purchase Painless Grammar (Barron’s Painless Series)

I studied English as my minor for my B.A. and my major for my M.A., so I’m a bit embarrassed that my grammar is not that great. It’s not horrible, but I know I make all kinds of little technical errors. (In my defense, I studied English Literature which required lots of analyzing and writing, but not necessarily technical skills.) I think I do okay, (and I know on the internet, you will find far, far worse!) but I want to do better. A friend recommended this book. I was a bit hesitant at first because it looks informal. (What is with that shaky cat on the cover?) I eventually purchased it and found that it is a very helpful book. Clearly, I haven’t memorized everything in it, (because I’m sure I’ve made some mistakes in typing this already,) but I try to learn and remember a little at a time instead of all at once. I find that this book is very easy to read and the division of the chapters makes it easy to just read for five minutes or so then take a break to absorb the information. There are also little quizzes to test what you’ve learned.

The chapter titles are:
1. Parts of Speech
2. Building and Punctuating Sentences
3. Agreement
4. Words, Words, Words
5. Editing
6. Writing E-mails

This book is filled with examples of right and wrong, and a variety of charts and exercises, (plus some visuals.) There are sections about capitalization, misused words and phrases, proper use of commas and the proper uses of various words.  The text features red and black type plus underlines, bold print and other ways to emphasize the information. It really works well as a textbook format without being boring. Since the chapters are divided into many parts, it is easy to find good stopping points. (Plus, learning studies indicate that you learn best if you learn in short chunks, so that works well with this book!) If you are looking to improve your grammar, I’d recommend this as a very user-friendly book to read through or to just reference as needed.

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