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The Curious Case of the Misplaced Modifier: How to Solve the Mysteries of Weak Writing
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The little "mystery" novel helps greatly to show folks how weak writing can creep into their work without them really being aware of it.
It's a quick read, but worth it.
The Curious Case of the Misplaced Modifier, by Bonnie Trenga, is perfect for these people. Each chapter on a particular "grammar crime" begins with a case for Detective Pinkersolve. These case write-ups deliciously skewer the English language in some way. Each chapter goes on to explain why this type of grammar error confuses and confounds readers and how to fix it, with the help of many examples. Finally you're encouraged to fix up the opening case to make it more readable, then compare it to a sample rewrite in the back of the book.
This book will be particularly fun for those who enjoy reading mysteries, as the examples all draw on aspects of crime and police-work. The examples are hilariously comical and over-the-top, making them entertaining to read rather than headache-inducing or boring. The humor here is sly, ironic and delightful.
It's clear that Ms. Trenga has carefully thought through the content of this book; nothing here is off-handed or rushed. Rather than simply stating that passive voice is bad, as many people do, she details the situations in which it would be appropriate.
Instead of simply showing us "incorrect" and "correct" examples, she often details incorrect, correct, and "even better.Read more ›
I'm a professional writer who is always in search of ways to improve my craft, and have shelves of writing books; many of which are on the subject of grammar. They, for the most part, are dry, lifeless, and make for very dull reading. But 'The Curious Case Of The Misplaced Modifier' is different. It presents explanations of seven common grammatical mistakes in an easy to grasp, personal, and thoroughly enjoyable way. It's almost as if the author was sitting on the couch next to me, sipping tea, while explaining why and how to build better sentences through the proper use of grammar.
Although a physically small book, measuring just 8"x5" with some 150 pages, it packs a huge wallop.
Yes, Gracie, good things do come in small packages. Buy it, you will not be disappointed.
At the time, none of the available grammar books addressed the problems she continually encountered. She felt that writers needed a guide covering the seven common writing mistakes she saw most often.
The Curious Case of the Misplaced Modifier is the result of her effort.
Writing well takes more than correct grammar. A sentence with ackward phrasing can cause readers to lose interest. So, instead of focusing on grammar, Misplaced Modifier concentrates on writing clear sentences that inform and entertain readers.
Each chapter begins with a short mystery story full of the writing mistake addressed. The chapters are short, direct and supported by examples. Each one is concluded by a recap and a summary. Trenga tells us what she's going to tell us, tells us what she told us, and then tells us again.
The problems discussed in the book include passive voice, nominalization, vague -ing words, weak verbs, misplaced modifiers, long sentences and wordy prose. Although the example stories are mysteries, the information is useful for any form of writing.
After the seven chapters on writing felonies comes a list of ten writing misdemeanors. The list covers punctuation, clichés, spelling and vocabulary. An answer key for the mistake-ridden mysteries and a glossary follow.
The book concludes with a weak writing rap sheet. The rap sheet repeats the information presented in the book in a graph form. It's format, which lists problems, examples and fixes, makes it easy to find the answers to specific questions.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love the layout of The Curious Case of the Misplaced Modifier: How to Solve the Mysteries of Weak Writing. It is well written, easy to understand, and very helpful. Read morePublished 27 days ago by Danyell Durham
Bar none, this is the best book re: writing mechanics I have ever read/used. Originally, I found it while searching for a textbook to use while teaching a writing class, but it has... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Elf'sMom
Great grammar book. It is a detective book that makes learning grammar interesting. It does a great job to clarify grammar topics such as misplaced modifier, nominalization, ing... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Cai
I've just bought my second copy of this book. As an editor, I see sentences like this one every day: Looking over my shoulder as I ran, the strange man was gaining on me. Read morePublished 18 months ago by MaryAnnReads
This book showed the most common mistakes we do in our writing, and a few tips how to rid your wordy and boring script into something clear and concise. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Little-one