The Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English

The Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English

by Roy Peter Clark
     
 

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Early in the history of English, the words "grammar" and "glamour" meant the same thing: the power to charm. Roy Peter Clark, author of Writing Tools, aims to put the glamour back in grammar with this fun, engaging alternative to stuffy instructionals. In this practical guide, readers will learn everything from the different parts of speech to why

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Overview

Early in the history of English, the words "grammar" and "glamour" meant the same thing: the power to charm. Roy Peter Clark, author of Writing Tools, aims to put the glamour back in grammar with this fun, engaging alternative to stuffy instructionals. In this practical guide, readers will learn everything from the different parts of speech to why effective writers prefer concrete nouns and active verbs. THE GLAMOUR OF GRAMMAR gives readers all the tools they need to"live inside the language"—to take advantage of grammar to perfect their use of English, to instill meaning, and to charm through their writing. With this indispensable book, readers will come to see just how glamorous grammar can be.

Editorial Reviews

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.
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Ammon Shea
"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."
Barbara Fisher
"A fine common-sense guide to the proper use of language."
Constance Hale
"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!"

Ben Yagoda
"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."
Chuck Leddy
"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."
Margaret Heilbrun
"[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."
Sister Helen Prejean
"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.""
Dr. Mardy Grothe
"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."
Anne Hull
"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."
Bob Dotson
"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."
Eugene C. Patterson
"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."
Thomas French
"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."
From the Publisher
"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"

Library Journal
Journalist and teacher Clark (vice president & senior scholar, Poynter Inst.; Writing Tools) takes readers through a well-paced presentation, defining English grammar as a set of tools, rather than rules. Like Dunton-Downer (see review below), he conveys the magic that is to be found in English, in its ever-active evolution. Yet he stresses that users of English must understand the systems behind the magic in order best to convey magic themselves. As a teacher—and he writes here in a teacher's voice—he is excellent at explaining elusive topics such as the subjunctive and the serial comma, often comparing English to other languages whose different approaches illuminate our own. Each short section of the five main chapters ends with "Keepsake" reminders. The nuts-and-bolts information here is best for adults young and old in search of grammatical aid; yet Clark's erudition may be better appreciated by those who know their grammar. In either case, a rewarding purchase.
Yvonne Zipp
…in his engaging, sometimes downright funny study of English…Clark makes for the most genial grammarian since the singing conductor on "Schoolhouse Rock."
—The Washington Post
Colette Bancroft
"A streamlined, accessible, witty book...[Clark] is a coach rather than a scold, encouraging readers to 'live inside the language.'"
John E. McIntyre
"[Clark] is not of the hectoring, bullying school of language advice. He is an encourager...A good book for an aspiring writer, human and sensible about the great craft, relishing its possibilities and its power."

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316027915
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
08/16/2010
Pages:
294
Sales rank:
239,059
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Roy Peter Clark is vice president and senior scholar at The Poynter Institute, one of the most prestigious schools for journalists in the world. He has taught writing at every level—to schoolchildren and Pulitzer Prize-winning authors—for more than thirty years, and has spoken about the writer's craft on The Oprah Winfrey Show, NPR, and The Today Show; at conferences from Singapore to Brazil; and at news organizations from the New York Times to The Sowetan in South Africa. A writer who teaches and a teacher who writes, he has authored or edited fifteen books about writing and journalism, including his most recent, Writing Tools. He lives in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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