Thank you for your interest in my book.
I have been teaching college writing for more than 16 years.
This the heart of the matter: Far too many of my college students’ writing is at the middle school level or below. They write incomplete, incomprehensible sentences. Some do not even know the difference between “their” and “there” or between “too” and “to.”
So I had a huge challenge: I had to teach them the basics before they could write at the college level. This situation presented me with a huge teaching curve that kept me on my toes all the time.
I was frustrated because I was spending more and more time rewriting my students’ papers, but I saw little or no improvement in their writing. I finally realized that my students did not improve their writing because I was practically rewriting their papers for them.
So how could I really help these adult learners who were frustrated by their own writing?
In desperation, I began documenting their grammar errors. After several months, I discovered—to my surprise--that my classroom students and my local national online students were making the same errors. It seemed as if they all had the same (bad) English teacher!
The good news, however, is that they were not making every possible grammar mistake that could be made. I found common errors amongst all my students.
I then placed these common errors in what I called a “Quick Guide for Improving Your Writing.” I numbered each error and explained each grammar rule as concisely and clearly as possible. Wherever I could, I avoided grammar terminology. For example:
12. Correct Use of Quotation Marks, Underlining, and Italics
A. The comma and the period always go inside quotation marks.
NO: One of Hamlet’s most famous lines is “To be or not to be”.
YES: One of Hamlet’s most famous lines is “To be or not to be.”
I distributed the Guide to my students and went over the rules, section-by-section. I quizzed them on each section.
When I reviewed their papers, I would use the “insert comment”
utility to give them feedback. For example:
One of Hamlet’s most famous lines is “To be or not to be”.
Then my students would refer to the Guide, see their error under “NO” and see how to correct it under “YES.” If they corrected this error, they would earn more points.
I found this method much easier to use and much more satisfying because I began to see dramatic improvements in their writing.
I’m so excited about this system of helping my students that I couldn’t help but share it with more people. I asked myself, “Why shouldn’t there be an easy guide for ALL the writers and teachers out there?”
As you can see by the previous internet postings, good writing IS important in the classroom and the workplace, and always will be.
I sincerely hope that this book will help you improve your grammar. In turn, perhaps you can help others improve their grammar.