Thursday, August 26, 2010

Review of Grammar Girl's Books

Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing and 
The Grammar Devotional by Mignon Fogarty
Genre:  Non-fiction
Pub. Date:  2008 and 2009

As a middle school English teacher I am always looking for grammar resources to answer the many questions that come up during a tricky lesson.  To be honest, sometimes I know the answer and sometimes I don't; in fact, there are times that I find out there's a debate surrounding the conundrum.  Even my colleagues will end up in a heated debate.  One might ask.....where do I get my answers?  For quick and easy grammatical advice that doesn't make you want to stab your eyes out with your pencil, I always turn to Grammar Girl's podcasts.  I often use her podcasts as part of my lessons and the students find her to be amusing and easy to understand.  I recently found out that there are Grammar Girl books and as a fan of her podcasts, I knew I had to read them!

Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing by Mignon Fogarty is every English teacher's dream.  This guide is painless and fun!  Fogarty is witty, amusing, and her examples always crack me up.  I can't wait to use her examples in my various grammar lessons, because they are extremely memorable.  This book is an invaluable reference that is easy to navigate and comprehend.  There are chapters focusing on everything from punching up punctuation, dirty words (ex: affect vs. effect), prozac for pronouns, and even proofreading tips, which I definitely want to share with my students.  As the new school year is approaching, I know I can count on Mignon Fogarty's handy guide to help me with all of my predicaments.

Mignon Fogarty's The Grammar Devotional is perfect for the classroom or for any other grammarians out there.  Each day she includes a little blurb regarding common errors with funny and clever examples.  I plan on sharing a few of these at the beginning of my grammar lessons.  I think they are a nice reminder of the many common grammatical errors that we all are guilty of from time to time.  Fogarty's focus isn't all serious; in fact, there are some fun "grammar" word games throughout as well as quizzes, which I know my students will love.  Here are a few sample topics:  
  • "Historic versus Historical"
  •  "Direct and Indirect Quotations"
  •  "The House that Grammar Built: Parallel Construction" 
  • "There's a Name for That? Euphemism" 
 In the back, Fogarty includes an answer key as well as explanations, which every teacher can appreciate.

In sum, Mignon Fogarty's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing and The Grammar Devotional are essential for any English teacher, grammarian or writer.  I find Fogarty's explanations to be fun and never like a boring lecture.  After reading these two books, one thing is for sure.  As I start this new school year, I will be placing them on my reference bookshelf and there's no doubt in my mind that I will be referring to them often and for many years to come.  

*Thank you to Jason at Henry Holt and Company for sending me these books to review.


  1. This is such a great post! My boss at the magazine and I were having a debate about something grammar related on Tuesday and we wished we had a straightforward resource!

  2. These sound brilliant Christina.

    How do you find about about good podcasts? This is something I have been wondering about but I just do not have a clue about the world of podcasting.

  3. Jamie- Thanks! Yes, it is definitely straightforward!

    JuJu- Thanks for checking out my review. :)

    Becky- Thanks, Becky! These two books come in handy. I find all my educational podcasts through iTunes, believe it or not. Grammar Girl is defintiely my favorite!


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