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The Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English Hardcover – Bargain Price, August 16, 2010


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Hardcover, Bargain Price, August 16, 2010
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (August 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031602791X
  • ASIN: B005ZO59YI
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,377,635 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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" )

Customer Reviews

I recommended this book to undergraduate and graduate students alike, and when I wrote my Ph.
rlweaverii
A good book to buy for a student entering college, a young professional starting a career, or anyone else who wants to brush-up their writing skills.
Christian Schlect
The authors wit and storytelling peppered throughout the chapters make this a fun book to read, who knew reading about grammar could actually be fun.
Brenda Casto

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Sheila Deeth VINE VOICE on August 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
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.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Donald K. Fry on August 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Roy Clark's new book, The Glamour of Grammar, is none of the following:
* A treatise on grammar
* A guide to grammar and style
* Competition for Strunk and White
* A volume of snarling "do nots."
Roy loves words and wants you to love them too in ways that will help you as a writer. He burrows beneath English words to show you their deep roots and reverberations. The "Glamour" in his title refers to magic powers, both in historical origins and modern persuasiveness. This book will enrich what you hear and what you write.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Monique VINE VOICE on September 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Learn to lie or lay,
as well as the principles behind the distinction,
Turn a language problem into a language lesson: lie
means "recline" and lay means"to place"
But in Hawaii, expect a lei.
(from the back cover)

With a lesson like the one above, how could you possibly go wrong with this book. While I've always been incredibly interested in the English language, reading this book turns it from an interesting subject to a fascinating one. If you only buy one book to help you write better, this would be the one.

Some people are born writers. Others of us learn to write by reading how other people write, and by practice. This is a book to keep on your nightstand (if you use your laptop in bed like I do) or on your desk (if you're a "real" writer (LOL!)) as you're writing (or before you start). There are so many practical lessons to be learned. Clark didn't write a book that you're supposed to read from start to finish. You could literally open the book in the middle, find the beginning of a passage and start reading. You're going to learn a new technique (like using shorter sentences to stretch out the story). Or you could start at the beginning and read a mini lesson at a time. Either way, you're not going to want to put the book down. It's just that good.

Although it's like going to English class all over again, it's so much better. While Mrs. Brusnwick was one of my favorite teachers, class did get a little, umm, boring.To be fair, Mr. Harris really tried to teach me that advanced math stuff, but I wasn't smart enough then. I'll still not smart enough.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By rlweaverii on August 25, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

I had no idea what this book was about when I picked it up. My first impression was that it was a book on grammar, and, as a writer, I have enjoyed extending my knowledge and understanding of grammar since my high school days of English classes. I was in an Advanced English course at Ann Arbor High School with a great teacher, Mr. Granville. He taught his students that you can never stop learning about the English language, so I thought this book might simply be an extension or elaboration of the book I regard as my bible with it comes to language usage: Strunk and White's Elements of Style. I recommended this book to undergraduate and graduate students alike, and when I wrote my Ph.D. dissertation, I depended exclusively on Strunk and White for any questions I had about my use of words, grammar, or sentence construction.

I thought so much of Strunk and White that when I wrote my basic book on public speaking called PUBLIC SPEAKING RULES! ALL YOU NEED FOR A GREAT SPEECH! (And Then Some Publishing, 2008), I made the cover plain and simple (and in a cream color) -- like the cover of Strunk and White's first edition. That was my tribute to them.

If you know this book, or if you have read any of the many reviews at Amazon.com, then you know at once that I was mistaken. Happily mistaken, I might add. Oh, the grammar is there, but the beauty of this book is that there is so much more, and the "so much more" can serve as the primary motivation for purchasing this book--no other motivation is necessary!

There are a number of delights in this amazing book. First, it is truly a great read with terrific examples and an extremely well-written narrative in each section.
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More About the Author

Roy Peter Clark has been called "America's writing coach" as his stated mission is to help create "a nation of writers." Since 1977 he has taught writing to small children and to Pulitzer winning authors from his mother ship, The Poynter Institute, a school for journalism and democracy in St. Petersburg, Florida. He is the author or editor of 17 books on writing, language, and journalism. The latest, all published by Little, Brown, are "Writing Tools," "The Glamour of Grammar," and "Help! for Writers," which is now also a mobile app. His work has been featured on the Today Show, NPR, and the Oprah Winfrey Show. More than a million of his writing podcasts have been downloaded on iTunesU. On five occasions he has served as a Pulitzer juror and twice has chaired the jury on nonfiction books. His honors include induction in the Features Hall of Fame, an honorary degree from Goucher College, and a stint at Vassar College as Starr Writer-in-Residence. His next book, due out in 2013, is "How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times."

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