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The Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English Hardcover – August 16, 2010
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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.
"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"
Top customer reviews
The author talks about "living inside your language" and he covers a wide range of applications. His second section-"Points"-underlines the various symbols of grammar and is the most enjoyable. Since he and I are roughly the same age it's nice to see him advocate the use of serial commas...when did we lose them, anyway?...or display the much-disliked sentence diagram. However, I'm surprised he doesn't add a comment or two about interrobooms.
"The Glamour of Grammar" is structured in a way to keep the chapters short, allowing the reader to put it down or pick it up easily. It's comprehensively concise (would that be considered an "oxymoron"?) and a fun read. Hey, terrific book!!
Roy Peter Clark, while sometimes overly chirpy in his prose, keeps the reader involved as he marches his teaching along at a quick pace that serves to avoid boredom, while helping to make his grammar points stick in one's mind. Mr. Clark has a command of the rules of writing good English and offers a number of helpful quick tips to those who take the time to read this book.
I encourage those interested in this general subject area also to purchase and read Carol Fisher Saller's "The Subversive Copy Editor" (2009).
This seemed to me a perfect guide for my 14-year old nephew, who loves to write and is interested in how to do it. The book is accessible and fun to read. It is also very well structured as a learning aid: the chapters are short and focussed, and the "keepsake" sections at the end of each chapter are helpful summaries.
For a long-term language maven, it is an enjoyable read, but may not add that much new information. Also, the author does have some crotchets (like most writers on grammar) and some of these can become irritating. Finally, the author is very much there in this book, which can get in the way of the information he is providing.
I also love what he says about Spelling being magical (to cast a spell). There are some interesting ideas worth checking out in here if this is something you're considering checking out. Recommend it.
Each chapter is short - a few pages. This makes reading it fit well into my busy day. I can pick up the book and read a short chapter when I have a few moments. The book does not demand large chunks of time.
Each chapter is enlightening. From punctuation to word order to verb usage, this book has it all. Clark writes in a fun and clever way. I enjoy the experience of reading this book. I look forward to the little pearls of wit that he has sprinkled generously thoughout the book.
This book has changed me. I now write with confidence. Books really do change one's life. This one (and Clark's other book "Writing Tools") certainly has changed mine.
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