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57 Reviews
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73 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, smart, and practical writing advice
I've read a lot of writing books. I write for a living. I run a large website for writers and would-be writers. Casagrande's book is the freshest and funniest entry in this tired old niche in a long, long time. It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences: A Writer's Guide to Crafting Killer Sentences definitely goes on my recommended-reading list for...
Published on August 16, 2010 by MacAllister Stone

versus
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Overly Helpful
This book would be very helpful for a beginning writer or possibly a teenager. The writer's style is engaging, which makes the book an easy read (not a simple task, given the topic!), and she provides relevant examples to emphasize her points. Personally, I did not find a lot of new information, so I was a little disappointed, but I did share some of the tips with my...
Published 19 months ago by Valerie Denison


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73 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, smart, and practical writing advice, August 16, 2010
This review is from: It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences: A Writer's Guide to Crafting Killer Sentences (Paperback)
I've read a lot of writing books. I write for a living. I run a large website for writers and would-be writers. Casagrande's book is the freshest and funniest entry in this tired old niche in a long, long time. It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences: A Writer's Guide to Crafting Killer Sentences definitely goes on my recommended-reading list for anyone wanting to improve their own writing.

Whether you want to craft the Great American Novel or just find a way to compose emails that people will actually read, this gem of a book is stuffed full of practical advice, in an extraordinarily accessible voice.
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90 of 101 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fabulous and entertaining tool for writers, July 27, 2010
By 
wanda d. (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences: A Writer's Guide to Crafting Killer Sentences (Paperback)
Ms. Casagrande has once again crafted a funny, educational and entertaining treatise on grammar that is approachable, useful and concise. After reading the first review posted here, I went to my local bookstore to check it out for myself. Maybe it's just me, but I often find that when someone takes the time to write a REALLY long negative review, I end up loving the writer. At the store, I chuckled out loud and read the whole first chapter of Casagrande's book before plunking down my cash and taking it home.

So, based on Mr. Fiske's keen and extremely meticulous analysis, I can only conclude that I am a not very bright, dull-minded, unintelligent, nine year old who is apparently also a non-native English speaker.

My parents will be very disappointed. They really believed that I graduated at the top of my class in college. Summa Cum Laude.
Damn.
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54 of 59 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ideal for freshmen- and sophmore-level writers, August 3, 2010
This review is from: It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences: A Writer's Guide to Crafting Killer Sentences (Paperback)
The author writes in an easy conversational style, so we're not learning grammar from a book so much as from a person. I'd say that's a wise choice, as grammar is a pretty dry subject. I read the whole book in one sitting. Although (not "While") explaining grammar inevitably hits things one already knows, it still spackled a few holes in my understanding, implied that breaking the rules sometimes is ok (the book's title is a comma splice), but most importantly, got me to read the thing to begin with.

If I were to improve the book, I would've left a little less unsaid. Such as, the reader occasionally needs to imagine the circumstances in which an example sentence would appear in order to properly understand the reasons for her edits.

Finally, the subtitle overstates the scope of the book. It teaches grammar. It will not teach prosody, scansion, or anything remotely close to poetry. So while the book promises how to make great sentences, it in fact only covers a particular aspect of sentence construction. You'll find nothing on rhythm, for instance.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Valuable Lessons, Hilariously Funny, August 13, 2010
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This review is from: It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences: A Writer's Guide to Crafting Killer Sentences (Paperback)
On the LA to Newark flight, I made the little girl in seat 28F nervous. I kept laughing out loud as I read "It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences." In one sitting, my writing and my humor improved. This book would make a wonderful gift for any student heading off to college. The book will benefit anyone who wants to be a better writer. It's clear, precise, easy to understand and, best of all, an absolute delight to read because it's so dang funny.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recovering grammar-phobe finds relief, Thank you Ms. Casagrande, October 23, 2012
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This review is from: It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences: A Writer's Guide to Crafting Killer Sentences (Paperback)
Honestly, I didn't know what a verb was until studying high school French (damned late 1960's "I'm OK, you're OK" elementary educational experiments) so the whole issue of speaking and writing grammatically passed me by when it would have been painless to learn it. Argh. Fortunately, one woman with a good grip on the gnarly weirdness of English and a compassion for the accrued errors in common parlance has weighed in to help. I voluntarily took myself to my college's Center for Academic Assistance to learn many of the lessons in this book, but not all stuck. So, I am thrilled to have a great, concise generously-illustrated guide to good grammar. Of some of the mistakes discussed, I said to myself, 'I knew THAT.' While reading too many others, I'm ashamed to say, I thought, 'What the hell is wrong with that?' Short of having a grammar nazi review every piece of your writing and explain your own personal grammar problems, this is pretty damned wonderful.

Another reviewer (the 3-star review counterpoint) points out Ms. Casagrande's supposed misuse of "had." This 'had' business bedevils me so I checked the Prentice Hall Grammar Guide and lo and behold, the reviewer is wrong because he ignores the existence of several subtle past tenses beyond just vanilla past tense. So, I will enjoy reviewing this without qualms to brush up my English. Thank you, Ms. Casagrande. I owe you an apple.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the top five books I have read on sentence structure, November 16, 2012
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This review is from: It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences: A Writer's Guide to Crafting Killer Sentences (Paperback)
I have been a lawyer for 30 years and written well over 1 million words in briefs, letters, memos, you name it. I still learned much from this book. Well worth the price and entertaining to boot!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Copyediting for Everyone., August 9, 2011
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This review is from: It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences: A Writer's Guide to Crafting Killer Sentences (Paperback)
The author of this book used to be an editor and her job was to take badly written articles and make them readable, and that's what this book is about. There are 21 chapters and each one covers a different subject - short vs long sentences, 'sentences that say nothing, or worse', matters of tense, unclear antecedents, etc. It also has 3 appendixes - one on grammar, one on punctuation, and one on how to spot common mistakes.

Cassagrande's approach goes like this - she shows us a badly written sentence, explains what the reader might have problem with, then shows how it can be redone to make it more reader-friendly. That's it. It's not grammar-nazism. She's trying to help you make things more readable.

I found the book handy. Cassagrande is a friendly teacher who knows her stuff. Highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a gem on how to write, June 3, 2012
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This review is from: It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences: A Writer's Guide to Crafting Killer Sentences (Paperback)
For any student who already understands the basics of English grammar but longs to learn more, Casagrande's book is helpful. It is clear and concise. And reverent. That is, the author's tone suggests that she really loves language and thinks that precision and clarity in writing is of the utmost importance. I sense from her tone that the way we speak and think is not a game to her. Some of the other works I have looked at recently shock me. Some people really do want to master language in order to better manipulate others for selfish ends. I shouldn't be shocked, but I am.

The reverent tone of the book struck me as unusual (compared to the other works I've read). But the book is virtuous for another reason. It at times summarizes points of grammar that are disputed today and then seeks to resolve any dispute as logically and concisely as possible. How valuable!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Overly Helpful, March 24, 2013
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This review is from: It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences: A Writer's Guide to Crafting Killer Sentences (Paperback)
This book would be very helpful for a beginning writer or possibly a teenager. The writer's style is engaging, which makes the book an easy read (not a simple task, given the topic!), and she provides relevant examples to emphasize her points. Personally, I did not find a lot of new information, so I was a little disappointed, but I did share some of the tips with my teenage son.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It was the best of books about sentences, October 12, 2010
By 
William A. Mikulak (Sherman Oaks, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences: A Writer's Guide to Crafting Killer Sentences (Paperback)
I started reading this book thinking it would be a feat to fill up 214 pages about sentences. But it turns out that sentences can go wrong in a multitude of ways. They wander into thickets of confusion, through swampy platitudes, and past all warning signs to STOP. It takes a fine writer to identify these mistakes, but it takes a better one to correct them. And you're in the hands of a smart and funny pro who does just that. I worked beside June as a copy editor, and marveled at her muscular writing and editing skills. They are fully in evidence here. I recommend this book without reservation for writers who care about their readers.
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It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences: A Writer's Guide to Crafting Killer Sentences
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