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VINE VOICEon June 1, 2004
"The Elements of Grammar," intended as a companion for the excellent "The Elements of Style," suffers from a stiff, lifeless presentation that detracts mightily from the grammatical advice. The format of the book itself hinders the reader: the type is too small and relentlessly the same; the examples that follow the rules are set in even smaller type; no visual guides or aids link paired columns of text, making one's eyes climb up and down; and the chapters lack any internal navigational devices to help the reader find his or her way.
The author's explanations lack the authority required for this book to find a spot on my desk. For instance, we are told that a comma may be used to separate the month from the year when the date is omitted, but that current usage permits writing the month and year without a comma between them. I prefer the definitive advice in "The Chicago Manual of Style," which indicates no comma is needed when a month and year appear without the date.
In discussing the use of colons to introduce a list, the author allows a colon to follow a verb, bringing the sentence to a dead stop and interrupting the connection of verb and object or complement.
References to the Government Printing Office Style Manual do not help her case. That style manual is hopelessly outdated and insular
In fairness, Ms. Shertzer delivers a no-frills, somewhat taciturn overview to grammar and usage and one could do much worse than to follow most of the advice here. But this book is not the first choice for a novice editor or young writer unless already thoroughly steeped in the rules and practice of grammar. And in that case, this book's usefulness would be minimal. Seasoned editors and writers would not find this book that useful and many no doubt have nearly new, little used copies of this book wedged into their reference shelves.
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on August 27, 2001
This is a handy, concise reference for everyday grammar. It would benefit everyone if more writers would refer to its rules. With the advent of e-mail, more and more Americans are writing every day, with less and less literacy. As to the "Business Grammar", please note the illustration. The word "business" is not in the actual title, and the book seems to have no special orientation toward business usage. It is, however, quite comprehensive, and should meet the needs of most writers - whether business, professional, or personal.
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on January 24, 2013
We can all use a little (more) grammar in our lives. This is (or was) a required book for some college English class but I've referred back to it regularly over the years. It's a must, in my opinion, for any home office or home library, whether or not you were, are or will be in school.
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on January 5, 2009
It's short, it's quick, it's easy. I have six grammar books in all, some of which offer longer explanations if I truly want to understand something, but I always start with this one first. I've recommended it several times to different writers.
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on February 3, 2014
Nice little concise book to have on your desk.

Unfortunately, I started reading this after I had read Steven King's "On Writing"
and was easily bored. A week off and I found I kept looking things up in it.
Easier to grab Elements, than the Chicago Style tome. (now a door stop).

This is worth the small price to adorn your desk, and get thumbed to death.
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on September 23, 2012
Any writer (and every student) needs a copy of this timeless classic. No matter what your choice of medium happens to be, you will write better, you will make yourself more clearly understood, and your written words will give a good impression if you follow the rules.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon January 13, 2014
"The Elements of Grammar" is certainly a useful reference work and contains a decent amount of material in a fairly limited space. Most of the questions you'll have about grammar are covered in the book. Although the book contains what appears to be a fairly detailed index, I have not always found the index helpful in leading me to what I need to know. (For example, "How to pluralize proper names." I had to search through the text itself, since the index was unhelpful in leading me to the information I needed.) There is a considerable overlap between the material in this book and that found in Strunk & White, "The Elements of Style." If one has to choose between the two books, I would recommend Strunk & White over "The Elements of Grammar."
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on May 1, 2014
I chose the book because it was suggested to me by a friend. It has all the information I might need. However, for me (an old guy), it is somewhat hard to fin the cases when I try to look them up. I would recommend this book to young, and even college age kids. I think it would serve them better that it has served me.
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on February 13, 2012
I use this book all the time when I need to look up something I have forgotten or didn't learn well. I get a kick out of the examples, as I knew the author and recognize some of the proper nouns and names she chose to use. It's the perfect little desk reference for those of us who can't remember everything we learned in school, but have started writing again later in life. Superb investment.
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on May 15, 2013
I picked up her 1986 edition for four bucks at Half Price Books. I've been out of school for fifteen years, and I'm a little rusty on grammar. I wrote some killer research papers in college, though (ok, maybe a little over the top), so I already had a solid foundation. I just needed something with which to brush up my long dormant skills, especially for a job interview I had scheduled. This little book is probably not intended as an exhaustive grammar textbook, but rather as a handy reference. I read the little book in three days and learned what I needed.
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