The Mountain Man's Field Guide to Grammar: A Fearless Adventure in Grammar, Style and Usage

Overview

"The Mountain Man's Field Guide to Grammar" is the brainchild of a man who loved to write, but hated learning the rules."
Samuel G. Freedman, the New York Times

A Fearless Adventure in Grammar, Style, and Usage

Conquer new frontiers with this fresh & outrageous take on grammar! The Mountain Man's Field Guide to Grammar - with its fresh, witty, and humorous style - turns ...

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Overview

"The Mountain Man's Field Guide to Grammar" is the brainchild of a man who loved to write, but hated learning the rules."
Samuel G. Freedman, the New York Times

A Fearless Adventure in Grammar, Style, and Usage

Conquer new frontiers with this fresh & outrageous take on grammar! The Mountain Man's Field Guide to Grammar - with its fresh, witty, and humorous style - turns the stuffy old grammar book format on its head, delightfully reminding you that grammar can actually be fun.

Whether you are a writer, professional, student, or just an adventurous soul, The Mountain Man's Field Guide to Grammar is the perfect trail guide to lead you safely through the tangles and gorges of the grammar wilderness.

Seasoned throughout with colorful stories, clever anecdotes, and offbeat words of wisdom, The Mountain Man's Field Guide to Grammar relives the rollicking, riotous days of the old West and the long-lost lore of the mountain man.

Mount up, and keep a sharp eye. Keep your steel keen and your powder dry. Where we go, few follow.

"In writing this book, I have attempted to make each line of text, each rule of grammar, and each example fresh and new and original. But a noun is a noun and a verbal is a verbal, and festooning them in gaudy finery can neither add nor detract from their essence. American grammar and construction—the essential stuff—is staid and stately, elegant, sensuous, raw, and beautiful."
Gary Spina

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
This offbeat field guide is designed for fearless hunters and gatherers who might feel a bit squeamish when confronted with a runaway prepositional phrase or an unruly subordinate clause. Lively and informal enough to be read around a campfire, The Mountain Man's Field Guide to Grammar provides essential help about the parts of speech, grammar, style, and usage. A hogshead of useful knowledge.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402207402
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/3/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 1,483,673
  • Product dimensions: 4.50 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Gary Spina has taught English in the New York City, Washington, D.C., and Rosebud County, Montana. The Mountain Man's Field Guide to Grammar utilizes the author's own unique classroom techniques for simplifying and clarifying complex grammar and usage rules.
"When I was a boy, I was a terrible student," Spina says. "I was especially proficient at failing English. By some fluke of fate I grew up to become an English teacher and writer. I never forgot what it was like to sit in a classroom and suffer through dull grammar lessons. I swore I'd make my lessons fun."
Gary Spina has ventured half way around the world and back again. Along the way, he has encountered many of the interesting characters who now people his writing. He has wandered amid adventurers in Alaska. He has lived among the Crow and Northern Cheyenne Indians in Montana, where he taught Honors English at an Indian High School. It was there, between the Powder, the Tongue, the Yellowstone, and the Big Horn Rivers, where his "Mountain Man" manuscript came together in a flesh-on-bone grammar book of western lore and modern American usage.
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Read an Excerpt

The Horse before the Travois:
Parts of Speech and the Basic Sentence
"Bein' ready fer trouble keeps trouble at a distance."
DSilas Potterd

French pelu meaning hairy or having hair. A plew was a fur-bearing skin, especially of the beaver, particularly one of prime quality. In the heyday of the old trappers, beaver skins sold for as high as ten dollars a plew in St. Louis.
"Some" was said of a person or thing held in the highest esteem. "Kit Carson-he was some, all right."
"Wagh!" is another mountain man word, somewhat more difficult to define. It is a guttural exclamation of amazement or affirmation, as in: "Wagh! That squaw was some, you betcha!" Or maybe that Indian gal had a taste for fancy trimmings, trinkets, or highfalutin amenities a mountain man called "foofaraw." Foofaraw had a connotation, if not denotation, of phony, high-toned ways, so a gal-Indian or white-with a bit of the foofaraw in her was repugnant to a mountain man.
"Castoreum" is secretion from the scrotum of the beaver. It could be used as a medicinal salve to ease the pain of a wound and to "draw out" swelling. It was also the "medicine" the trapper used to lure the beaver to his trap. Some trappers called it castor or castorum.
When a mountain man would brag about his rifle (and in effect about himself), he might say, "She shoots center."
A real mountain man had the "ha'r of the b'ar" in him. He knew "the way the stick floats." He could tell a tall tale shamelessly, or tell the truth if you cornered him into it. He knew that effective communication doesn't take a lot of words, just good ones.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1
The Horse before the Travois
(Parts of Speech and the Basic Sentence)
Chapter 2
Loading the Travois, the Dogs and Ponies in Harness
(What Is a Sentence, Really?)
Chapter 3
The Way the Stick Floats
(Subject-Verb Agreement)
Chapter 4
Filling Your Possibles Sack
(Civilizing the Noun and Other Wild Things)
Chapter 5
The Ha'r of the B'ar
(Mastering the Wiley Pronoun)
Chapter 6
Loading Your Pack Horse
(Moody Verbs and More of the Advanced Stuff)
Chapter 7
Counting Coup
(Modifying and Modulating with Adjectives and Adverbs)
Chapter 8
There's Good Diggins, and There's Bad Diggins
(The Sublime and the Silly)
Chapter 9
My Stick Floats with Yours
(Conjunctions and Transitions)
Chapter 10
Clauses in the Rules
(Phrases and Clauses)
Chapter 11
Smoke Signals
(Vocabulary and Spelling, Style and Wile)
Chapter 12
Usage and Stuff to Make Others Think You're Smart
(The Fancy, Foofuraw Stuff)
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2007

    Mountain Man's Field Guide to Grammar: A Fearless Adventure in Grammar, Style and Usage

    At first when I got this book as a gift, I thought, 'Oh god, this is the last thing that I wanted to read!', but then I was writing a report for my boss one evening, and I was not sure if I had phrased something correctly. I remember 'The Field Guide', and pulled it out. I was hooked after that. I laughed so hard at some of the stories, especially Stinky Petey! I actually started reading the book for entertainment! Buy this book. You will not be disappointed!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2006

    Who knew grammar was so easy!

    Where has this book been all my life! The grammar rules are so easy to follow and understand. It's perfect for my classroom. But it's the stories I love. They're so much fun that I have to keep reminding myself it's a grammar book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2006

    It's Paperback -- Not Hardcover! But it's still a good read.

    I hate to have to thank my brother-in-law, Dave, for recommending this book, but he's right for once -- though you probably have to read it through from beginning to end to get all the stories and jokes. I laughed and learned in spite of myself. At first I was disappointed because it was paperback, not hardcover, but it is a true 'Field Guide.' It's even got a ribbon to keep your place as you read. I read it aloud to my wife and she laughs and reminds me how her brother recommended it. It's a keeper.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2006

    Unique Grammar Book

    A solid and unique grammar book. Clear, easy to use, and cleverly done.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2006

    Brilliantly Written!!! Extremely Helpful!!!!

    This book is the perfect reference book for all types of writing. I have used it for business writing, personal writing, and educational instruction. I highly recommend this book for the grammar novice as well as the professional writer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2006

    Mountain Man's Field Guide to Grammar: A Fearless Adventure in Grammar, Style and Usage

    Gary Spina takes, what some may perceive as a stagnant topic, and makes grammar come alive through the humerous adventures of Big Jake, the mountain man. This is such a clever, funny and effortless way to learn the rules of grammar, while also learning the history of the mountain man. Better than anything like it on the market in the last 20 years!

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