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The Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English

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Early in the history of English, the words "grammar" and "glamour" meant the same thing: the power to charm. Roy Peter Clark, author of Writing Tools, aims to put the glamour back in grammar with this fun, engaging alternative to stuffy instructionals. In this practical guide, readers will learn everything from the different parts of speech to why effective writers prefer Early in the history of English, the words "grammar" and "glamour" meant the same thing: the power to charm. Roy Peter Clark, author of Writing Tools, aims to put the glamour back in grammar with this fun, engaging alternative to stuffy instructionals. In this practical guide, readers will learn everything from the different parts of speech to why effective writers prefer concrete nouns and active verbs. The Glamour of Grammar gives readers all the tools they need to"live inside the language" -- to take advantage of grammar to perfect their use of English, to instill meaning, and to charm through their writing. With this indispensable book, readers will come to see just how glamorous grammar can be.


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Early in the history of English, the words "grammar" and "glamour" meant the same thing: the power to charm. Roy Peter Clark, author of Writing Tools, aims to put the glamour back in grammar with this fun, engaging alternative to stuffy instructionals. In this practical guide, readers will learn everything from the different parts of speech to why effective writers prefer Early in the history of English, the words "grammar" and "glamour" meant the same thing: the power to charm. Roy Peter Clark, author of Writing Tools, aims to put the glamour back in grammar with this fun, engaging alternative to stuffy instructionals. In this practical guide, readers will learn everything from the different parts of speech to why effective writers prefer concrete nouns and active verbs. The Glamour of Grammar gives readers all the tools they need to"live inside the language" -- to take advantage of grammar to perfect their use of English, to instill meaning, and to charm through their writing. With this indispensable book, readers will come to see just how glamorous grammar can be.

30 review for The Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sheila

    So, what do you think about when you hear the word “grammar”? As a kid, I would think “Uh oh; I guess I wrote something wrong again.” As a young adult I’d say, “Hey, that’s just the way I speak.” As an Englishwoman moving to America I’d groan that it’s not just the spellings that are different here but the grammar rules as well. And after reading this book I’d say, “Wow!” So, what about my punctuation above? Why did I put that question mark outside the quotes when the exclamation point went insid So, what do you think about when you hear the word “grammar”? As a kid, I would think “Uh oh; I guess I wrote something wrong again.” As a young adult I’d say, “Hey, that’s just the way I speak.” As an Englishwoman moving to America I’d groan that it’s not just the spellings that are different here but the grammar rules as well. And after reading this book I’d say, “Wow!” So, what about my punctuation above? Why did I put that question mark outside the quotes when the exclamation point went inside at the end of the paragraph? I’d often wondered how to punctuate quotes, and since I want to be a writer, I’d often thought I really ought to learn. At last I have. Clark’s book starts by pointing out that “glamour” and “grammar” come from the same root. I guess is makes sense. After all, we “spell” words correctly or otherwise, and wizards cast “spells.” Grammar’s just the next step. I used to teach chess, and I’d explain to the kids that there are two types of rules. Some have to be obeyed (pawns move forwards for example), or else you’re not playing chess. Others are there to be understood and used judiciously (such as “Don’t get your queen out too soon”) to set or avoid falling into traps. Once you know the rules, you know what it means when they’re broken. Spelling’s probably the first sort of rule, and Clark includes a chapter on how meanings can change where the wrong spelling or wrong word is used. Suddenly you’re not saying what you thought; your reader’s dragged out of the writing; you’re not playing the same game. But other grammar rules can be judiciously broken. We just have to know what we’re doing and why—be prepared for what the reader will see, and be ready to make sure it’s what we intend. Clark’s chapters are written with delightful style, great voice, amazing examples, and just pure fun. (Yes, grammar can be fun!) There’s advice for aspiring writers that any of us could use—the value of the well-chosen long or short word, the nuances of sound or foreign phrase, the alliteration of short and long sentences… And then there are chapter endings with quick and easily read “Keepsakes.” There he might emphasize a point, help the reader practice a technique, or simply list the rules. (That’s how I learned how to punctuate my first paragraph.) Clark doesn’t want to regiment our writing. He acknowledges how different countries (UK and US for example), industries (newspaper vs book), and even publishers have their own chosen styles. Obey the rules of your intended audience he says. But then he frees us to shift those chess pieces round and win the game. Is grammar glamorous? It certainly is now. I love this book, and I’d recommend that everyone who loves reading or writing really should read it. I can hardly believe how lucky I was to get a copy to review—you’ll hardly believe how lucky you are if you get your own copy too. And, just for reference, since Roy Peter Clark is vice president and senior scholar at the Poynter Institute, I have no qualms about trusting him to give me, and you, the right facts.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Steven

    I chose to read this book because I thought my writing had been getting stale and slovenly of late. I halfway expected the dry, academic approach to what works and what doesn't work writing-wise -- a kind of modern day Strunk & White. One topic he doesn't cover is clichés, so I feel I can describe Clark's book as a "delightful romp?" There, I did it. The books is composed of 50 mini-lessons on the effective usage of language, most of them 2-3 pages long, grouped into various categories, from the I chose to read this book because I thought my writing had been getting stale and slovenly of late. I halfway expected the dry, academic approach to what works and what doesn't work writing-wise -- a kind of modern day Strunk & White. One topic he doesn't cover is clichés, so I feel I can describe Clark's book as a "delightful romp?" There, I did it. The books is composed of 50 mini-lessons on the effective usage of language, most of them 2-3 pages long, grouped into various categories, from the simpler, to the more complex -- words, points (punctuation), standards, meaning and purpose. Each lesson ends with a keepsakes section -- bulleted lists of points to remember. These are compiled into a short appendix at the back of the book to make them even handier. Clark is funny and very enthusiastic about his topic. He talks throughout the book about living "inside the language" -- being curious about and attentive to words and how they're used. He brings in examples from all over the place -- fiction, nonfiction, journalism. I'm sure taking a writing class from him would be fun. I'm also hoping he never reads this review and thinks, "Wasn't that guy even paying attention?" Overall, a great little handbook on usage.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    What a superb book on grammar! Not only because of its clear and concise explanation of some baffling, confusing concepts, but also because of really engaging writing. A grammar book written by someone in love with language, rather than by someone who has his or her nickers in a twist over the rules. Love.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Eat.Sleep.Lift.Read.

    I ain't no writer, yo. But I do have a fetish for the English language. However, this little number wasn't as raunchy as she said she would be. #flaccid I ain't no writer, yo. But I do have a fetish for the English language. However, this little number wasn't as raunchy as she said she would be. #flaccid

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alexandria

    Yes, I read a book about grammar, that magical glue that ties together our thoughts and ideas and helps us communicate with one another. And yes, I liked it. Roy Peter Clark, longtime teacher at the Poynter Institute, is funny, down-to-earth (he even uses the f-word) and easy to understand. The full title of this book is, "The Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English," and Clark's enthusiasm for the English language is inspiring. I picked up this book after a par Yes, I read a book about grammar, that magical glue that ties together our thoughts and ideas and helps us communicate with one another. And yes, I liked it. Roy Peter Clark, longtime teacher at the Poynter Institute, is funny, down-to-earth (he even uses the f-word) and easy to understand. The full title of this book is, "The Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English," and Clark's enthusiasm for the English language is inspiring. I picked up this book after a particularly satisfying week of copyediting at the Columbia Missourian. I had just subscribed to the Grammar Girl and Regret the Error blogs, I started regularly looking up words in the dictionary and I was feeling motivated to learn more about grammar. When I saw "The Glamour of Grammar" on the shelf of selected books at the MU Journalism Library, I figured it was fate. I grabbed my student ID, checked out the book and turned the first page that night. One of my favorite things about this book is that it is an easy read, written in journalism style. Clark presents his grammar lessons in two to three page chapters, with a "keepsakes" list at the end to detail the main points of the chapter. But even if you chose to read 50 or 100 pages at a time, the lessons weren't so riddled with rules to be difficult to remember. Personally, Clark brought up a lot of grammar lessons I was already somewhat familiar with, but he explained the lessons in greater detail and example than I had been aware of. He also gave tips to more easily remember grammar standards, and his book includes appendices of commonly misspelled and confused words. Clark advises breaking archaic grammar rules when they don't mean anything more, and he scolds prescriptionist grammarians who refuse to budge from steadfast and anachronistic usage. I'm still not sure how I feel about the Oxford comma (I avoid in journalistic writing), but Clark's section on punctuation was insightful and useful. I also liked his advice to hang out in specialized locations, like gay bars or computer clubs, to learn the slang of different groups and his guidelines on how to use sentence fragments (in the section on meaning). Clark is the keynote speaker at the American Copy Editors Society national conference in April, which I'm attending, and I'm excited to meet the man whom I feel I've come to know by reading this book. I'd recommend this book for new and old language leaners alike, to both refresh what you might already know about grammar and learn at least a little something new.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Camilla

    I really wanted to like this book but I think it was written for a different audience. It may also be my fault since my expectations were different from what the book delivered. I was hoping for a Lynn Truss-like book about rules of grammar and language that are a little unusual or unheard of. I was hoping to be edified and perhaps amused by light-hearted humor. The author did attempt some humor but I think you might need to be a middle-aged man to really enjoy his jokes. And he doesn't even lik I really wanted to like this book but I think it was written for a different audience. It may also be my fault since my expectations were different from what the book delivered. I was hoping for a Lynn Truss-like book about rules of grammar and language that are a little unusual or unheard of. I was hoping to be edified and perhaps amused by light-hearted humor. The author did attempt some humor but I think you might need to be a middle-aged man to really enjoy his jokes. And he doesn't even like Lynn Truss! He is a descriptivist (sounds perfect--so am I) but I much prefer the prescriptivism of Eats, Shoots, and Leaves to the descriptivism of an author bent on forcing others to appreciate his boring, humdrum rules of language with no added cleverness or originality. Clark spent fifty chapters discussing rules of language that I already knew--nothing new or little known or unique was discussed. I "learned" about verbs and nouns and active and passive voice and any number of boring, basic English structure. I thought that a person writing about grammar would be writing to an audience who cares about these things, meaning he'd write to those who already know the basics and are looking for more depth and expansion. Clark did not write to such an audience. He wrote to fifth graders learning how to write for the first time. I did enjoy the samples of writing he frequently used as examples of what he was discussing. I enjoyed hearing beautiful writing and guessing who wrote it in which book. It was extra fun when I recognized certain quotes from books I'd already read. I had even heard of the telegram jokes Clark inserted into the last chapter. But the book just wasn't fresh enough for me. Clark mentioned a lot about his life, allowing the book to be part-autobiography but his life is not terribly interesting to me, so I didn't appreciate the inserts. I especially disliked his political opinions, obvious but not outrightly written throughout each chapter. He loves the use of colorful language when used appropriately but I couldn't agree with any of his arguments on appropriate use so I especially disliked his use of so much swearing in certain chapters. Have you ever read a book where the author's voice was so smug and full of his own pleasure at being an author that you couldn't get into the story because the author kept getting in the way? That's how this book felt for me. I didn't hate it; at times I enjoyed it. But mostly I just slogged through it. I'll not be reading another of his many books on writing.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bob Nichols

    As with his "Writing Tools" book, Clark gives fifty suggestions on writing and reiterates what can be found in a high school English text. At the end of each chapter Clark summarizes. The reader can skip the text, read the summaries and do fine. The title of the book is overdone. It's about practical English. Glamour and magic and mystery oversell what Clark puts forward. Clark's chapters on tenses and connotation/denotation are good. The chapter on "To be" is disappointing. The author reminds us As with his "Writing Tools" book, Clark gives fifty suggestions on writing and reiterates what can be found in a high school English text. At the end of each chapter Clark summarizes. The reader can skip the text, read the summaries and do fine. The title of the book is overdone. It's about practical English. Glamour and magic and mystery oversell what Clark puts forward. Clark's chapters on tenses and connotation/denotation are good. The chapter on "To be" is disappointing. The author reminds us about our various "crotchets" such as getting stuck needlessly on not using a preposition at the end of a sentence, starting a sentence with "And" or "But", and avoiding split infinitives. With that in mind, it's interesting that Clark scratched his head over Armstrong's quote when the astronaut stepped on the moon. Clark insists that "an 'a' was missing." He adds it for him ("That's one small step for a man....") and thereby removes the music and wrecks the quote. Clark opens his chapter on sentence fragments by mentioning that his cholesterol numbers are "not good" and that this is "not a comforting image for a guy whose total cholesterol number is 70 points higher than his IQ." I scratched my own head on that one, first wondering about the relevance and then wondering about whether the author was engaging in display behavior about his high IQ.

  8. 5 out of 5

    T. Fowler

    Roy Peter Clark has a nice conversational style of writing which makes reading a book about grammar interesting. In short chapters, clear explanations, and many nice examples from other authors' writings, he goes over everything about proper grammar that writers should know. Along the way, however, he argues that breaking the rules can be acceptable and creative - but you must first know what the rules are. Don't be afraid of splitting your infinitives or dangling your participles (if you know w Roy Peter Clark has a nice conversational style of writing which makes reading a book about grammar interesting. In short chapters, clear explanations, and many nice examples from other authors' writings, he goes over everything about proper grammar that writers should know. Along the way, however, he argues that breaking the rules can be acceptable and creative - but you must first know what the rules are. Don't be afraid of splitting your infinitives or dangling your participles (if you know what I mean!) I couldn't give it more than a "like" (3 stars) because there are no collapsing empires or victorious armies in this book, but it is a useful, painless and fresh look at how to do good writing

  9. 5 out of 5

    David

    This is a pretty decent book about English grammar. The author has a breezy style that was entertaining for a while, but became irritating by the end. Though certainly nowhere near as irritating as that Lynne Truss woman, or Strunk & White. I can't say I really liked the book, though, which is why I am sticking at two stars. I have the Kindle version, and the whole time I read it I wished it was in physical book form. This happens to me for about 20% of the books I read as e-books; in trying to f This is a pretty decent book about English grammar. The author has a breezy style that was entertaining for a while, but became irritating by the end. Though certainly nowhere near as irritating as that Lynne Truss woman, or Strunk & White. I can't say I really liked the book, though, which is why I am sticking at two stars. I have the Kindle version, and the whole time I read it I wished it was in physical book form. This happens to me for about 20% of the books I read as e-books; in trying to figure out what they have in common, it seems to happen more often with non-fiction, possibly because, in the absence of a strong forward-driving narrative, one likes to flip around more in non-fiction books than in a novel or mystery story. It's possible that my vague dissatisfaction about reading this on the Kindle contributed to my lack of any great enthusiasm for the book. I think what I'm trying to say is that on a better day I might have given this 3 stars.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sean Cameron

    This book both clarifies the rules of grammar and gives a sense of freedom to pick and choose what best serves your writing. It's not a strict teacher but a friend who wants to hold your hand and show you what they love about writing and being understood. This book both clarifies the rules of grammar and gives a sense of freedom to pick and choose what best serves your writing. It's not a strict teacher but a friend who wants to hold your hand and show you what they love about writing and being understood.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Eleanor

    Interesting - very much American grammar which differs in a number of ways from Australian and English. However, a good refresher course for those who have been on automatic for years and years. A lot of the time I did not really appreciate his sense of humour - I found it quite annoying.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rouzanna Sarkissian

    "Roy Peter Clark knows more about writing than anybody I know who is not currently dead"--these are the words of humorist Dave Barry that conclude the author bio for "Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English".  Well, even if he does, I can't say a meaningful portion of this knowledge is shared in the book. I found it too basic and plain to be really enjoyable or useful. At least on the level I had expected it to be.   "Glamour of Grammar" is laid out in 50 small c "Roy Peter Clark knows more about writing than anybody I know who is not currently dead"--these are the words of humorist Dave Barry that conclude the author bio for "Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English".  Well, even if he does, I can't say a meaningful portion of this knowledge is shared in the book. I found it too basic and plain to be really enjoyable or useful. At least on the level I had expected it to be.   "Glamour of Grammar" is laid out in 50 small chapters, each containing pieces of advice to writers and aspiring writers in one of the following categories: "Words", "Points", "Standards", "Meaning", and "Purpose". Put briefly, the book is a combination of a grammar and usage guide with some writing advice, richly peppered with notes on word origins and the author's humorous remarks. Each chapter ends with a bulleted summary called "Keepsakes". Now, I am not sure exactly what kind of writers Mr. Clark had in mind, but these keepsakes represent some really basic and self-evident tips. I'll give you some examples. The first keepsake for the chapter on possessives says: "To form a possessive singular, add an 's: "Sadie's ring." Wow, some new information there. The first keepsake for the next chapter: "Use quotation marks before and after a direct quotation." Another: "In a story, a single exclamation point can go a long way." Yet another: "Sentences begin with a capital letter and end with a period, or full stop." And so on--you have the idea now.  I may be accused of being too harsh here, but I was also annoyed by the great number of subjective digressions that did not add to the value of the book. For example, this passage: "I also generally prefer American punctuation conventions to British ones, with one huge exception: the name we give to the little dot at the end of this sentence. We call it a period, but the Brits prefer full stop because it describes the effect on the reader. the period signals to the reader that the sentence is over, a thought completed, and another about to begin. Stop." To be honest, I find this neither useful, nor funny. Or (on forming possessive singular of nouns): "...Professor Strunk tells us to add the 's no matter the final consonant of the noun and cites as examples "Charles's friend" and "Burns's poems." This makes great sense to me because it echoes the way we would speak the word aloud. So it puzzles me that the Associated Press Stylebook, and influential work for journalists, argues that a simple apostrophe suffices after the proper nouns ending in s: as in "Agnes' book" and "Jules' seat." I don't know about you, but when I read those aloud, the missing s trips up my tongue, and on the page it bothers my eyes. I would say "Agnes's book" and "Jule's seat." But then the author drops his adamant stance and states something just too subjective to be of any use: "There are classic examples when adding an s gives you that Velcro feeling: I would not say Achilles's heel. Achilles' will do fine, thank you." Why? Why does Agnes deserve an "s" and Achilles does not? A mystery.   I could go on and on, but I will simply say that the book did not work for me. I liked neither its structure, nor tone, and I thought that it was rather fit for a high school student who wants to avoid mistakes in her essays and, as a side effect, learn some fun facts about words, than someone who is even remotely into writing and thus had already learned the basics. I am giving this book three instead of two stars just because I felt that the author was genuinely enthusiastic about various aspects of the language, especially etymology. Also, my impression of the first four parts was just a little redeemed by the last one, "Meaning". In it, to illustrate his last ten chapters/tips in this category, Mr. Clark found and provided samples of writing by various authors, which was quite handy.   Overall, I would be reluctant to recommend this book. I did not grow particularly fond of this attempted mix of a grammar handbook, a style and writing guide, selected word origin facts, and statements of related personal opinions. There are much better books in every mentioned category.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    This was such a helpful book to me. I learned things I hadn't understood before about punctuation, meaning, and writing style. One of the things I most enjoyed was how the book used as many background information details as it did examples. Then, at the end of each section, there was a review of the most valuable points covered within that section, which is especially helpful to someone reading a little bit each night. This book was very approachable to the lay reader and the application is imme This was such a helpful book to me. I learned things I hadn't understood before about punctuation, meaning, and writing style. One of the things I most enjoyed was how the book used as many background information details as it did examples. Then, at the end of each section, there was a review of the most valuable points covered within that section, which is especially helpful to someone reading a little bit each night. This book was very approachable to the lay reader and the application is immediate. If you are looking for a non-fiction book that gives a broad, understandable look into the details of English and English writing, consider this.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Susan Barber

    It's no secret that I'm a Roy Peter Clark fan, and this book did not disappoint. Anytime someone can write a witty book about grammar, that person is a genius and the book is a hit. This will be the type of book I pull out again and again for mini-lessons and teaching. It's no secret that I'm a Roy Peter Clark fan, and this book did not disappoint. Anytime someone can write a witty book about grammar, that person is a genius and the book is a hit. This will be the type of book I pull out again and again for mini-lessons and teaching.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sara Budarz

    How often can you read a book on grammar and describe it as fun and funny? I'd dare to wager that doesn't happen very often. But this book was both and informative to boot. How often can you read a book on grammar and describe it as fun and funny? I'd dare to wager that doesn't happen very often. But this book was both and informative to boot.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Lewis

    Some of Roy Peter Clark’s advice overlaps from other works but there is some fresh, new advice to be found here in regards to the mechanics of writing. Clark’s book is an extravaganza of quality literary quotes and examples that he’s collected over the years; stellar commentary on the use of language and politics, and of course practical tools to use to polish your writing and make it stand out. I’d recommend this book for writers!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Stewart

    Roy Peter Clark is a senior scholar at the Poynter Institute in Florida and has been a writing coach for many of his adult years. His 2010 book "The Glamour of Grammar" looks at parts of speech, punctuation, verb tenses, and other aspects of English language grammar. There was not much new for me in the book, but it is good to periodically get a refresher course in the basics of writing. One chapter tackles the issue of using a serial comma, of writing "red, white, and blue" or "red, white and Roy Peter Clark is a senior scholar at the Poynter Institute in Florida and has been a writing coach for many of his adult years. His 2010 book "The Glamour of Grammar" looks at parts of speech, punctuation, verb tenses, and other aspects of English language grammar. There was not much new for me in the book, but it is good to periodically get a refresher course in the basics of writing. One chapter tackles the issue of using a serial comma, of writing "red, white, and blue" or "red, white and blue." This interested me because I have two part-time jobs, one newspaper using the serial comma and the other not. The Associated Press Stylebook says no. For the record, Clark and I favor the extra comma. One of my biggest linguistics pet peeves is the misuse of "literally" and "figuratively." Here is an important distinction that has been eroded because people who don't know what "literally" and figuratively" mean have turned the former into a general intensifier, of which our language already has enough. Clark devotes a chapter to this problem and the misuse of "ironic." There are ear- or eye-jarring contemporary practices that Clark did not delve into, such as the word "issue" replacing the word "problem" in many American's vocabulary, although there is a difference in meaning between the two words. I cringe when I hear or read someone referring to a "computer issue" or a minor "health issue." The way I see it, if something would not normally be discussed at a candidates forum, then it is a "problem." The book is a useful tool for writers, offering 294 pages of practical English.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Literary Mama

    For all its wisdom, this is not simply a serious book of punctuation. Clark infuses The Glamour of Grammar with wit, making each lesson both intriguing and fun. The chapter on question marks, for example, begins: "In my senior year in high school, 1966, I played the keyboard in a garage band called T.S. and the Eliots." He goes on to describe a music mentor oddly named "?" and then asserts, "The question mark, used well, may be the most profoundly human form of punctuation. Unlike the other mark For all its wisdom, this is not simply a serious book of punctuation. Clark infuses The Glamour of Grammar with wit, making each lesson both intriguing and fun. The chapter on question marks, for example, begins: "In my senior year in high school, 1966, I played the keyboard in a garage band called T.S. and the Eliots." He goes on to describe a music mentor oddly named "?" and then asserts, "The question mark, used well, may be the most profoundly human form of punctuation. Unlike the other marks, the question mark... imagines the Other. It envisions communication not as assertive but as interactive, even conversational." Clark's infusion of personal narrative into grammar lesson makes his book both easy to read and easy to remember. He calls his lessons "practical magic" and hopes they will transform language into powerful purpose. Ultimately however, Clark, like Cohen and Long, want writing to be joyful. "My wish for you is that the knowledge you've gained from these pages gives your work with the English language more fluency -- and more joy." Read Literary Mama's full review here: http://www.literarymama.com/reviews/a...

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    "The comma is, after all, a small sign that flashes PAUSE. It tells the reader slow down and think a bit, and then move on. We don't have time for that. No pauses allowed. In this sense, the comma's fading popularity is also social commentary." kindle location 920 The layout is perfect for the person reading multiple books at a time because the chapters are short, not a lot of fluff, he shows examples of writings so you can see what the good and bad grammar looks like. He explains a lot of styles "The comma is, after all, a small sign that flashes PAUSE. It tells the reader slow down and think a bit, and then move on. We don't have time for that. No pauses allowed. In this sense, the comma's fading popularity is also social commentary." kindle location 920 The layout is perfect for the person reading multiple books at a time because the chapters are short, not a lot of fluff, he shows examples of writings so you can see what the good and bad grammar looks like. He explains a lot of styles other authors use, pros and cons. He shares a lot of information that was new to me, information that explained why I find some authors difficult and others easy and enjoyable, a lot of the time it boils down to grammar. This book is not exciting, unless you desire increase in the quality of your writing skills, then you will probably feel it was time well spent. I took a lot of notes, I saw many flaws in my knowledge of grammar and certainly wished I'd have paid more attention in class. Roy Peter Clark is the kind of author who can take a dry subject and make it fun, mission accomplished here.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    I heard the author in an interview on NPR and went right out and got this book on GRAMMAR! The English language is fascinating and this book delves into some of the mechanics that make it that way. Organized into fifty short chapters on Words, Points, Standards, Meaning and Purpose with usage examples and Keepsakes (key points) outlined at the end. The author makes the subject very interesting and entertaining and I really enjoyed this book- now if I can just remember what I learned and put it t I heard the author in an interview on NPR and went right out and got this book on GRAMMAR! The English language is fascinating and this book delves into some of the mechanics that make it that way. Organized into fifty short chapters on Words, Points, Standards, Meaning and Purpose with usage examples and Keepsakes (key points) outlined at the end. The author makes the subject very interesting and entertaining and I really enjoyed this book- now if I can just remember what I learned and put it to good use!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    I am not a writer. What I do write is unequivocally mediocre. At best. Roy Peter Clark is a writer. The Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English is Clark's love song to the English language and the art of writing. It is pithy. It is clear. And it is hysterically funny. Reading this book from cover to literal cover demonstrates my utter nerdiness. I am not a writer. What I do write is unequivocally mediocre. At best. Roy Peter Clark is a writer. The Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English is Clark's love song to the English language and the art of writing. It is pithy. It is clear. And it is hysterically funny. Reading this book from cover to literal cover demonstrates my utter nerdiness.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Thom

    A fairly complete collection of English grammatical rules, punctuation, and usage, with plenty of interesting anecdotes and excerpts. Audio book version, read by the author (which is always the best).

  23. 4 out of 5

    Deepak Jaisinghani

    A thoroughly entertaining and informative read. A must-have for grammar police and language lovers. Clark's way of writing is the icing on the cake. Quick summary points at the end of each chapter are a bonus. Definitely worth checking out. A thoroughly entertaining and informative read. A must-have for grammar police and language lovers. Clark's way of writing is the icing on the cake. Quick summary points at the end of each chapter are a bonus. Definitely worth checking out.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ramesh Prabhu

    Point your mouse to Poynter... and to Roy Peter Clark -- http://bit.ly/PrabhuA59 (The Reading Room) Point your mouse to Poynter... and to Roy Peter Clark -- http://bit.ly/PrabhuA59 (The Reading Room)

  25. 5 out of 5

    Milton Brasher-Cunningham

    Excellent, accessible, articulate guide to grammar and usage--with a sense of humor.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mariasilvia Santi

    A thesaurus (in its etymological meaning) for language lovers. From page 1 to 298.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ivan Kreimer

    From all the books I've read from Roy Peter Clark (Writing Tools and Help! for Writers), this one is the weakest of them all. Not only he repeats many of the concepts explained in the other two books, it seems to go way to deep into the author's ideas and experiences and not enough on the explanations of how the grammar rules work. I know Mr. Clark wanted to make the book fun and engaging, but in around half the cases (25 out of 50), he seems to make it too about himself and not enough about the From all the books I've read from Roy Peter Clark (Writing Tools and Help! for Writers), this one is the weakest of them all. Not only he repeats many of the concepts explained in the other two books, it seems to go way to deep into the author's ideas and experiences and not enough on the explanations of how the grammar rules work. I know Mr. Clark wanted to make the book fun and engaging, but in around half the cases (25 out of 50), he seems to make it too about himself and not enough about the rules. Fortunately, he adds a keepsake at the end of each chapter to summarize the main ideas, which help you get his main idea. But at times, you don't get to see what is his point. The fourth section of the book is the best one of all and the one that made the entire book worth reading. The rest, particularly the first two sections, seem quite useless. I'd recommend this book if you have enjoyed other of his books and want a nice overview of some grammar rules, but otherwise, I'd stick to the other two books I mentioned before, which I highly recommend to other writers.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Abbe

    From Publishers Weekly Grammar is a subject that typically induces wincing, wheezing, or worse. Clark, a lifelong whiz at the subject, wants readers to fully appreciate the importance of good grammar and the qualities of superior writing. To that end, he has laid out several entertaining, easy-to-follow rules, governing everything from punctuation to alliteration, that promise to dramatically improve one's writing and develop an appreciation for language. Clark draws on examples ranging from De From Publishers Weekly Grammar is a subject that typically induces wincing, wheezing, or worse. Clark, a lifelong whiz at the subject, wants readers to fully appreciate the importance of good grammar and the qualities of superior writing. To that end, he has laid out several entertaining, easy-to-follow rules, governing everything from punctuation to alliteration, that promise to dramatically improve one's writing and develop an appreciation for language. Clark draws on examples ranging from DeLillo to Rowling, a breadth of text that readers will appreciate as much as the author's humorous approach. Who knew that a discussion of grammar could induce laughter? This is an eminently readable, extremely enjoyable guide that readers will find highly useful on their path to development, not just as writers, but as readers. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Review "Very much a manual for the 21st century...a welcome addition to the bookshelf of anyone who cares about language-and is willing to argue about it." (Ammon Shea, the New York Times Book Review ) "A fine common-sense guide to the proper use of language." (Barbara Fisher, the Boston Globe ) "An engaging and witty exploration of the shifting rules of English grammar...Clark shows breathtaking knowledge of how language is used in the real world and a passionate commitment to helping writers make good choices." (Chuck Leddy, Minneapolis Star Tribune ) "[Roy Peter] Clark takes readers through a well-paced presentation...he conveys the magic that is to be found in English, in its ever active evolution." (Margaret Heilbrun, Library Journal ) "Clark...has laid out several entertaining, easy-to-follow rules, governing everything from punctuation to alliteration, that promise to dramatically improve one's writing and develop an appreciation for language. Who knew that a discussion of grammar could induce laughter? This is an eminently readable, extremely enjoyable guide that readers will find highly useful on their path to development, not just as writers, but as readers." (Publishers Weekly ) "What I learned from this book: 1) That grammar has meant mastery of all arts and letters (to the Greeks) and power, magic, and enchantment (to the Scots). Wow. 2) That for the artful writer, no decision is too small, including whether to use a or the. Awesome. 3) That there are right-branching, left-branching, and middle-branching sentences. How cool! 4) That Roy Peter Clark, a modern-day Pied Piper of grammar, makes good writing both approachable and doable. Phew!" (Constance Hale, author of Sin and Syntax ) "Who, other than a word-lover like Roy Peter Clark, would dare link "glamour" with (ugh) "grammar"? Here it is--a book of enchantment about words and how words work and what they mean and how to spell them, where even lowly semicolons get appreciated as "swinging gates" in a sentence. Who'd a thunk a book on grammar could be fun? And humorous. Check out "cleave" and "cleaveage."" (Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking ) "If grammar is medicine, then Roy Clark gives us the spoonful of sugar to help it go down. A wonderful tour through the labyrinth of language." (Anne Hull, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, The Washington Post ) "If 'Euphemisms are unpleasant truths wearing diplomatic cologne,' as Quentin Crisp once said, then Ralph Keyes has given word and language lovers a deeply fragrant-and thoroughly enjoyable-book." (Dr. Mardy Grothe, author of Oxymoronica and other quotation anthologies ) "If there is indeed a glamour to grammar, I should have known Roy Peter Clark would be the one to spot it. Clark is a trusty guide for anyone wanting to avoid the (many) pitfalls and scale the (hard-won) peaks of perpetrating prose." (Ben Yagoda, author of _Memoir: A History and The Sound on the Page: Style and Voice in Writing_ ) "Roy Peter Clark takes the language so seriously he dares to play with it. What other English professor would seriously write 'A good pun is its own reword.'_The Glamour of Grammar_ is required fun, seriously." (Eugene C. Patterson, Pulitzer Prize-winning editor and retired chairman and CEO, St. Petersburg Times ) "Roy Peter Clark, the Jedi master of writing coaches, has delivered another indispensable classic for every author, young and old. The Glamour of Grammar crackles with wit and wisdom and with page after page of rock-solid strategies to guide writers toward prose that sings with vivid clarity. Somehow, Clark makes grammar seem both playful and understandable, even for those who have trouble telling the difference between a dangling participle and a wandering antecedent." (Thomas French, author of Zoo Story ) "An indispensible book in this Twitter world where so few words must push your story forward. Roy Peter Clark shows you a fun way to say exactly what you mean." (Bob Dotson, NBC News National Correspondent for the Today Show's "American Story with Bob Dotson" )

  29. 5 out of 5

    Christy

    Here’s a grammar book that’s actually pretty fun. If you took high school English there’s nothing new in it, but you can go back over the rules and remind yourself, for example, when it’s “lay” and when it’s “lie.” (The author, by the way, twists these two into a hopeless tangle, although he’s usually spot on.) Here’s one thing I hadn’t known: early in the history of English, the words "grammar" and "glamour" meant the same thing: the power to charm. There’s plenty of charm in this book, if you Here’s a grammar book that’s actually pretty fun. If you took high school English there’s nothing new in it, but you can go back over the rules and remind yourself, for example, when it’s “lay” and when it’s “lie.” (The author, by the way, twists these two into a hopeless tangle, although he’s usually spot on.) Here’s one thing I hadn’t known: early in the history of English, the words "grammar" and "glamour" meant the same thing: the power to charm. There’s plenty of charm in this book, if you can forget that you ever hated the word “grammar,” and just let it all wash over you.

  30. 4 out of 5

    James (JD) Dittes

    Following his how-to hit, Writing Rules, Clark adds 50 or more so elements of writing that bring us closer to the language, and challenge readers. Many of the suggestions are basic, but Clark livens them up with clever examples and engaging directives. Each of the chapters is 3-4 pages long. It is the perfect "bathroom book" to leaf through at one's, well, leisure. I'm looking forward to taking quite a few of these ideas into my writing classroom. Following his how-to hit, Writing Rules, Clark adds 50 or more so elements of writing that bring us closer to the language, and challenge readers. Many of the suggestions are basic, but Clark livens them up with clever examples and engaging directives. Each of the chapters is 3-4 pages long. It is the perfect "bathroom book" to leaf through at one's, well, leisure. I'm looking forward to taking quite a few of these ideas into my writing classroom.

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