- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Adams Media; First edition (May 1, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781580628556
- ISBN-13: 978-1580628556
- ASIN: 1580628559
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 7.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 648 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,962 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Only Grammar Book You'll Ever Need: A One-Stop Source for Every Writing Assignment First Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
There is a newer edition of this item:
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
Susan Thurman has taught English grammar from the junior high school level to the college level. She edits and publishes Class Act, a national magazine that features grammar, writing, and ideas for English teachers, and has written more than fifty articles on English instruction, as well as a number of study guides. She lives in Henderson, Kentucky, where she teaches at Henderson Community College.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
[CT]Writing Better Sentences
Certain elements can either make or break a sentence. If a sentence contains a misplaced or dangling modifier or is essentially illogical, it becomes confusing at best and ludicrous at worst. Some brief sentences, called fragments, dont contain a complete thought and are not really proper sentences at all. At the other extreme, a writer may sometimes string several thoughts together to create an endlessand grammatically incorrectrun-on sentence.
This chapter will give you some pointers for looking critically at your sentence construction as well as the tools to fix any problems you find. Knowing what makes a proper sentence will ensure that your writing (and your reputation!) remain solid.
Simply put, misplaced modifiers are words or phrases that youve put in the wrong place. All of your wordswhether theyre single words, phrases, or clausesshould be as close as possible to whatever they modify (the words they describe or give more information about). Take a look at this sentence, written with a single word in the wrong place:
After her wreck, Joanna could comprehend what the ambulance driver was barely saying.
The way the sentence is written, the ambulance driver is barely speakingbut surely thats not what the writer meant. Barely is out of its correct place because it modifies the wrong word. It should be moved so that it modifies the verb could comprehend. The sentence should be written this way:
After her wreck, Joanna could barely comprehend what the ambulance driver was saying.
Misplaced modifiers can also be phrases, as in this example:
Witnesses reported that the woman was driving the getaway car with flowing black hair.
A car with flowing black hair? Really? With flowing black hair is in the wrong place in the sentence and should be placed after woman. That way, the sentence would read:
Witnesses reported that the woman with flowing black hair was driving the getaway car.
Clauses, too, can be put in the wrong place, as in the following sentence:
Mrs. Anderson could not stop thinking about her sick baby running in the six-mile road race.
Thats quite a baby who can run a six-mile road race (even while being sick). The clause running in the six-mile road race is out of place; it should be closer to the noun it modifies (Mrs. Anderson). The sentence should be reworded this way:
Running in the six-mile road race, Mrs. Anderson could not stop thinking about her sick baby.
One of the most common problems with misplaced modifiers comes with what are called limiting modifierswords like almost, even, hardly, just, merely, nearly, only (only is the one misplaced most often), scarcely, and simply. To convey the correct meaning, limiting modifiers must be placed in front of the words they modify.
Take a look at these sentences:
Already, Mr. Goulooze has almost eaten four slabs of ribs!
How does a person almost eat something? Did he have great willpower four different times? More likely, the sentence should be reworded to say that Mr. Goulooze has eaten almost four slabs of ribs.
Richard has nearly wrecked every car hes had.
Has Richard nearly wrecked the carsin which case, he should be grateful for his luckor has he wrecked nearly every car? Remember to always watch out for misplaced modifiers (as Richard should probably watch out for oncoming traffic). Otherwise, you may end up wrecking nearly every sentence you write.
Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features:
648 customer reviews
Review this product
Read reviews that mention
Showing 1-7 of 648 reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Meanwhile, the author adds sections about predicates, gerunds, and similar concepts that most beginning students will find quite difficult to understand because they are more nuanced than simple subject–verb constructions. She's all over the map in terms of who this book is intended for.
I understand the book was published some time ago, but several discussions about layout and style may not be completely wrong, but are definitely ill-advised. For instance, do we really want to teach writers that there is such a thing as a "compare-and-contrast" paper? Talk about redundant. Professional writers and editors do not use "compare and contrast," because they recognize that comparing includes contrasting by definition. And the whole "five-paragraph" essays smacks of the worst of what we teach students and businesspeople. Such an approach to writing is redundant, overwrought, and wordy as hell. Good writing does not need to repeat itself twice to make a point.
And finally, from a personal standpoint, having someone else read and provide feedback to your writing is not always "peer editing." Often it is simply editing. To assume the person reviewing the work is a peer is a stretch; and besides, if you're a beginning writer, do you really want one of your peers to be your reviewer/editor?
Get Bryan Garner's MODERN ENGLISH USAGE or his book on grammar published by University of Chicago Press (not CHICAGO MANUAL OF STYLE but rather the smaller yellow book on grammar). Though longer books, they are way more accessible, are better organized, and provide better and more concise examples that normal people can actually understand.
There might be better grammar books out there and all sorts of free tips and editing software like Grammarly and Ginger (both which I love and use daily), but I highly recommend checking out The Only Grammar Book You'll Ever Need. It's less than 200 pages, has a quick reference guide for all of your grammar needs, links to helpful websites to improve your writing, and - surprise, surprise - it's written well and gets right to the point.
Bonita Evans, Ph.D.