Nitty-Gritty Grammar: A Not-So-Serious Guide to Clear Communication

Nitty-Gritty Grammar: A Not-So-Serious Guide to Clear Communication

Nitty-Gritty Grammar: A Not-So-Serious Guide to Clear Communication

Nitty-Gritty Grammar: A Not-So-Serious Guide to Clear Communication



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An easy-to-follow guide for all of your grammar needs.  

With clear text, appealing cartoons, and a focus on common grammatical errors and how to correct them, this little volume is a real gem that should find a permanent place with companies, universities, and anyone seeking a user-friendly guide to style and usage.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307785619
Publisher: Clarkson Potter/Ten Speed
Publication date: 02/02/2011
Sold by: Random House
Format: eBook
Pages: 112
File size: 34 MB
Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

About the Author

As “The Grammar Patrol,” EDITH H. FINE and JUDITH P. JOSEPHSON have fielded grammar questions on radio shows nationwide. Besides writing how-to books for adults, including Nitty-Gritty Grammar and More Nitty-Gritty Grammar, the authors have written award-winning biographies, science books, and picture books for children. They teach grammar and writing through San Diego State University’s extension program, and live in Encinitas, California, with their families.

Judith Pinkerton Josephson is also the author of many books for children, including Mother Jones: Fierce Fighter for Workers’ Rights,  Allan Pinkerton: The Original Private Eye, and Growing up in Pioneer America. She is the co-author of Armando and the Blue Tarp School.

Read an Excerpt


Grammar? You’re kidding, right?”

We had been teaching writing workshops at San Diego State for several years when the Director of Extension Programs at the College of Extended Studies asked us to build a grammar review class. Her request baffled us. Who would come? What would keep people from nodding off? Would we need a brass band to liven up our six-hour workshop?

Then again, we are both nutty enough to have liked diagramming in school. As teachers, we’ve touted grammar and explained it to young children, teenagers, and adults. As writers, we constantly edit and proofread, ever on the lookout for grammar gaffes—scrutinizing manuscripts, menus, billboards, articles, and ads. We even offer a grammar service, called Goof-Proofers! Slam dunk! The class was a go.

First came a nonthreatening, practical title: Nitty-Gritty Grammar.

Second, we needed razzle-dazzle. Given that grammar is a very serious business, we naturally thought of cartoons. Knowing that a good belly laugh is worth twenty furrowed brows, we culled our vast collection to find great grammar cartoons. We knew that most people hadn’t thought about grammar since high school; we’d ease them in with humor.

Third, we honed in on the basics—the structure beneath our often perplexing English language. Our first students helped guide us, with questions such as “What’s a subject?” “Agreement?” “Aren’t prepositions those three-letter words?” “How do you spell ‘potato’?”

Over the years, we’ve taught a wonderfully eclectic mix of people—sales reps, parents, students, medical workers, lawyers, engineers, secretaries, retirees, teachers, social workers, human resource managers, reporters, people new to English, and many others. We always promise students two A’s if they remember to spell “grammar” with two a’s!

Class participants cite similar complaints—“My boss redlines my work!” “I never learned grammar in the first place,” “Grammar’s my downfall,” “I listen to newscasters’ mistakes, and then wonder about the rules!”

Before we knew it, friends, relatives, and students were sending us grammar pet peeves, puzzlers, and gems for our Blooper Patrol Handbook. This became the Ticker Tape that runs through this book at the bottom of the page.

Nitty Gritty Grammar: A Not-So-Serious Guide to Clear Communication is for people who want to speak and write well and who can’t afford to have errors tarnish their image. This feet-on-the-ground guide is designed in short “sound bites”—perfect for reading while on a coffee break, stirring the stew, or waiting in the doctor’s office. In just minutes a day, you can review grammar basics, spot common errors, and brush up on your skills.

We’ve designed this book to be funny, unintimidating, and clear. Popular cartoons illustrate key points. Look for the right way, the wrong way, and the “why” to help you conquer grammar pitfalls.

As you plunge into this refresher, remember our maxim: Basically, between you and I—whoops!—grammar is fun!

—Edith H. Fine and Judith P. Josephson Encinitas, California
December 1997

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