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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation: An Easy-to-Use Guide with Clear Rules, Real-World Examples, and Reproducible Quizzes 10th Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 207 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0470222683
ISBN-10: 0470222689
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, Tenth Edition

"Designed to answer the most pressing grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and usage questions . . . In this revised and updated tenth edition of her best-selling book, Jane Straus adds a new section on Confusing Words and Homonyms with hundreds of the trickiest words defined and explained. Hailed as 'a masterpiece of clarity and usefulness.'"
—From the Foreword by Mignon Fogarty, creator of the Grammar Girl podcast

The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation is filled with easy-to-understand rules,real-world examples, dozens of reproducible exercises, and pre- and post-tests.

This handy workbook is ideal for teachers, students in middle school through college, ESL students, homeschoolers, and professionals. Valuable for anyone who takes tests or writes reports, letters, Web pages, e-mails, or blogs, The Blue Book offers instant answers to everyday English usage questions.

Praise for Jane Straus and The Blue Book

"Clearly presented so that you can easily find the informationyou're looking for. This is great for students or for anyone who has troubleremembering the rules of grammar and punctuation."
—Kate Russell, BBC World/ClickOnline

"Never has there been such a well-arranged, easily navigatedguidebook as this. It is perfect for the homeschool family. One of the mostpractical, useable, beneficial resources, it doubles both as a quick referenceguide and student workbook (with answers in the back)!"
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

"Grammarians and citizens, I invite you to raise a glass to Jane Straus. The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation is one-stop shopping for comprehensive grammar and style rules and is as charming as it is useful. I can't imagine one person whose writing wouldn't benefit enormously from reading this book."
—Kate McCulley, The Grammar Vandal, www.thegrammarvandal.com

About the Author

Jane Straus created the popular Web site www.Grammarbook.com, which offers additional self-scoring, downloadable quizzes, video lessons, and a weekly online newsletter full of helpful tips. Jane was also a personal life coach and the author of Enough Is Enough! from Jossey-Bass.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 10 edition (December 14, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470222689
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470222683
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.4 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (207 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jane Straus (1954-2011) was an educator and best-selling author. She taught English grammar, punctuation, and writing classes to corporate as well as state and federal government employees. She developed her own materials that conveyed the rules of English in plain English. She continued to refine her materials, eventually turning them into The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation.
When the Internet was born, she launched a website, GrammarBook.com, which has helped millions of people all over the world improve their English grammar. Straus became a sought-after speaker in the fields of grammar, public speaking, and life coaching. Her other book is Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life (Jossey-Bass, 2005).

Following Straus's untimely passing in early 2011, her husband, Lester Kaufman, assumed management of GrammarBook.com and maintained Jane's legacy by continuing to issue weekly e-newsletters containing grammar tips to help people improve their English skills, and answering reader's questions in, as much as possible, the same light, direct, and instructive tone that Jane used. In collaboration with Tom Stern, he also undertook an update and revision of the Blue Book which was published in February 2014.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a writer, editor, and writing teacher. I've never considered myself a grammarian, but I'm pretty good at recognizing what's correct and what's not. I currently teach a grammar course at a community college and have been looking for good grammar books. I bought this on Amazon for two reasons: low cost and high rating. I should have looked at the unusual number of single-star reviews. You get what you pay for. Even upon quick review, I found numerous errors and just plain bad advice. Here are a few examples:

In her section on colons, the author implies that there are only two occasions to use the colon: when lists follow independent clauses and when sentences are joined without a coordinating conjunction, as long as the second sentence "explains or illustrates the first sentence." This is bad advice! First, what follows a colon most certainly does not have to be a complete sentence: a phrase or clause will do. Yet she doesn't have a so-called "rule" for this very common use of the colon! Here's one example of a colon construction that she completely ignores:

He was greeted by a horrible sight: a dead dog on his doorstep.

Furthermore, she instructs the reader to "use a colon instead of a semicolon" when the the second sentence "explains or clarifies" the first, yet in her examples,a semicolon would be entirely acceptable, or even preferable! This is totally misleading and just plain bad advice.

Her Examples:
I enjoy reading: novels by Kurt Vonnegut are among my favorites.
Garlic is used in Italian cooking: it greatly enhances the flavor of pasta dishes.

In each case, the semicolon would be a perfectly good punctuation choice, yet she has instructed the reader not to use it!
Read more ›
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I bought this hoping for a grammar reference that was as comprehensive as The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation. I was very disappointed. It is 75 pages of rules (many erroneous based on the other reviews, which I wish I'd read prior to purchasing) followed by 78 pages of quizzes and answers. There is no index. The lack of an index makes it particularly ineffective as a reference.
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Other reviewers have given examples, so I don't need to repeat that process. I just want to observe that is a book written by a "life coach" (one of those pseudo-professions, like being a feng shui "expert", a "psychic" or an aroma "therapist") and a blogger (like, well, almost everyone over the age of 12 these days). She is not a best-selling author, a professional editor, an English language professor, or any other sort of well-qualified person to write a book on English grammar. Anyone can write a book about anything, and (with luck, contact-networking and perseverance) get it published, but that doesn't mean it will be worth reading. On a technical topic like linguistics, failure to have both an applicable edu-professional background and the experience in the field to be authoritative is generally a shortcut to disaster. I'm not even a Fowlerian traditionalist when it comes to grammar - I applaud efforts by the Chicago editors, Burchfield (Oxford), and others to be more descriptive and modern, and less prescriptive and stodgy, in updated editions of their popular style guides - but some of what Straus advises is simply nonsense. This book and the associated website betray a deep-seated absorption of lazy habits (e.g., pretending that commas don't serve a purpose) from high-speed, low-thought writing on the Internet and in text messaging. While online communication has, for around twenty-two years of actual public impact, had an influence on modern grammar, it is a rash mistake to import expedient practices from the register of informal e-chat into the more formal context of planned writing. This even applies to blogging; writing an essay is still writing an essay, regardless of whether your fingers are pushing electrons through circuits or ink onto paper.
4 Comments 74 of 84 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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My ex-husband bought this book for our son without checking the reviews. One day, I needed to look something up and I borrowed it from my son's room. Boy, was I astonished! That's why I had to check what other people thought about it. The book is not only full of mistakes, but contains also many inaccuracies as well as false, made-up rules. Someone who knowingly leads young (and not-so-young) people's minds in the wrong direction should get jail time. It is just plain wrong to do that to kids.

It is already hard enough to teach them something, but when you plant something in their minds, it is also very hard to go back and remove (or correct) it. So, for a book that calls itself the "blue book" of grammar, it is completely inadmissible to erect such grammatical fallacies as truths, and spoil the mind of young adults. This author knows nothing about grammar, and the book should be recalled. Everyone who bought it should get a refund of their money.
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Half an hour ago, I had never heard of this book. I was in the middle of revising yet another paper for a peer-reviewed journal. A question about usage of the colon let me to the web site for the book, and eventually to these reviews in Amazon. The "rules" for colon usage seemed highly questionable, if not just downright wrong, so I looked further. It was obvious that this book deserved about 20 minutes of my time to warn potential buyers.

This book is bad news, very bad news. Just a cursory review of the web site reveals a complete misunderstanding of grammar, punctuation, and usage. (And for your other picky reviewers, I do attempt to use (editors permitting) the Oxford comma.) Just one example, in a long list of problems, from the website:

Who versus Whom?
Rule. Use the he/him method to decide which word is correct. he = who, him = whom
Examples: Who/Whom wrote the letter? He wrote the letter. Therefore, who is correct.
For who/whom should I vote? Should I vote for him? Therefore, whom is correct.

Is this a joke? Engrams are a notoriously unreliable way to guide grammar. What if a foreign user has no engram for he/him usage. What if a native user has incorrect engrams for he/him usage. Although this may work to some extent, how about a little discussion about subjects, objects, objects of prepositions, or perhaps cases. And all the "rules" are like this. They are misleading, incorrect, cursory, and unexplained.

The other glowing reviews are baffling. They must be either planted reviews, or the authors know nothing of English.

Update 6 July 2012:

What happened to the previous most helpful review? It had HUNDREDS of helpful votes. It described in minute detail many of the objective problems with the book, and the comments were valuable. Too bad it is gone.
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