Grammar and Glamour

Although I do some writing, I often find it difficult to write good papers. English is not my native language, and at school, grammar was not my favourite subject.

But, everyone can benefit from improved writing skills at work, at home, online, you name it.

I often use Strunk and White’s “Elements of Style.” But now another book is my favourite:  “The Glamour of Grammar,” by Roy Peter Clark, which a book review in The New York Times says “is very much a manual for the 21st century”.

I recently read this fascinating book. To be honest, this is the only grammar book I have read from beginning to end, and I will use it to improve my language. I learned that for the good writer, no decision is too small, including whether to use “a” or “the”.

I did not associate the word grammar with glamour. The author explains: “The bridge between the words glamour and grammar is magic. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, glamour evolved from grammar through an ancient association between learning and enchantment. There was a time when grammar described not just language knowledge, but all forms of learning, ..”

The book is not only about grammar: it is about improving writing. Each chapter ends with “keepsakes” (reminders), where the author summarises important points and keeps things informal enough and thus avoids sounding like a textbook.

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