Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Glamour of Grammar

Ok, so maybe only a certain type of person is excited at the prospect of cozying up with a book about grammar (oher people call those types of people "nerds"). However, Roy Peter Clark's genuine enthusiasm, accessible voice and sense of humor will entice even those who don't really care when its proper to use "lie" instead of "lay."

This book is divided into five sections, all of which explore a different facet of the language - Words, Points (punctuation), Standards, Meaning and Purpose. Within those sections, the work is futher divided into 2-4 page mini-articles - that each focus on one very particular aspect of the language - the difference between "a" and "the," for instance, or verb tenses or different types of sentences.

Before you click off this page in horror, please believe me when I say that this book is funny! Clark doesn't take himself too seriously - he pokes fun at his own status as an "expert," and relates anecdotes of his own mistakes (and picks on his colleagues), tells stories about his college years, his family and his experiences with and within the language. Rather than reading like a textbook, it is more like having a conversation with someone who is totally fascinated by their field. And isn't that field something we all can relate to? We all talk, we all read...without getting too 1984 about it, its possible that language defines thought. Without words, we couldn't think the way we do - couldn't be who we are as individuals and as a species. Who, then, wouldn't want to read about grammar?!

The way the book is divided makes it easy to pick up and put down at will. If you're still not thrilled at the thought of reading a grammar book for fun, it would be a great reference for young readers and writers. All those comments English teachers make on papers - like "fragment sentence" or "comma splice" are deciphered within its pages. He also offers suggestions for writers to improve the quality and effectiveness of their writing, which will be helpful to writers of all ages. This book would be great for use in the classroom, for individual study or just to learn a little more about something (language!) that we all use every day.

So, what do you all think? Would you ever consider reading a grammar book for fun? Tell me about it!

No comments:

Post a Comment