Monday, June 6, 2011

Writing about Writing

It's true. Grammar can be confusing. It can make you want to pull your hair out...but, once you master it, it's really, really FUN.  Perhaps it's not fun like Let's-Go-to-DisneyWorld-fun! But it's good stuff. More importantly, it matters in the real world. I'm sure you're told that in school, every day. I'll tell you a secret. It really does matter. Half of the things you learn in college you may never use again. However, the ability to write can really set you apart from other people. From the career track to the classroom, knowing how to express yourself is a Very Big Deal.

Ok, this is where I show my nerdy colors. I love grammar. I love order. I love knowing that a comma will always go between a dependent clause and an independent clause ("When commas are used incorrectly, somewhere an English major falls down dead.") I also love anything to do with writing. Writing and grammar go together like a hand-in-glove. Mac and cheese. PB and jelly. John and Paul.


Here's a few of my favorite writing and grammar books.


On Writing by Stephen King - The master of horror writes beautifully and passionately on the craft of writing. (King also includes great grammar examples that may inspire the darkly amused teacher to have some fun in classrooms!  For example: "Passive voice: 'The body was dumped by John and Mary.' Active voice: 'John and Mary dumped the body.'" Almost worth the strange looks from students, ain't it?)

Fumblerules by William Safire - Ah, William. Marry me and we'll raise children who will never splice a comma.

A Writer's Reference by Diana Hacker - A must-have for high school and college writers, this one is neatly organized into tabbed sections.


American Psychological Association (APA) Publishing Guide - I've spent the better part of my adult career working with psychology or nursing students and whether you're in a freshmen psych course or tackling a doctoral level seminar, this is a must have.


Eats Shoots and Leaves by Lynn Truss - British writer and journalist Truss fought back against the world's wacky writing mistakes with this hilarious, impassioned take on punctuation and grammar.







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