As regular readers may have realized, I absolutely love to write. I also believe that I’m not half bad at it, so I try to make my writing as professional as possible. There is nothing more distracting when trying to read than being interrupted by spelling and grammatical errors. I once read a blog review in which the writer cheerily informed me that a company’s philosophy made “since.” Needless to say, I haven’t made that particular blog one of my regular reads!
I do a double proofreading on every review that I write to try to avoid any errors, but even though I check and double-check each piece, I still occasionally find mistakes that I didn’t notice and I am sure that others remain uncorrected to this day. Spelling is usually easily dealt with after using a spellchecker and doing a single proofreading. Basic grammar such as punctuation placement is generally caught and corrected as well. But I am always trying to make my writing even better, so I couldn’t wait to review The Big Ten of Grammar by William B. Bradshaw, PhD.
This incredibly useful book explains and demystifies the grammatical errors that the author believes to be the ten most common grammar mistakes in the English language. To be honest, I didn’t really believe that I would get much new information from a book about correct grammar usage. It only took a few pages, however, for me to realize that I was in desperate need of this book. The first chapter dealt with the misuse of “I” and “me,” and to my surprise, I was not always using the two words correctly!
Fortunately, there were some quick tricks that could be used to determine which word was required. I was, for the most part, using the two words correctly, but occasionally I was still getting caught, and some of the errors I was making were so ingrained that I didn’t even realize they were errors. Sentences ending in “I” or “me” were definitely a weak point in my grammar skills.
Bradshaw explains that when a sentence ends in “I” or “me,” completing the sentence can help the reader determine the correct usage. Since learning about this trick, I have already corrected the error twice in reviews I have written. It may sound correct to say, “Zackary often acts just like me.” It is, however, actually incorrect, as is obvious if the sentence is completed. “Zackary often acts just like me do,” sounds absurd. As strange as it may seem, the correct sentence is, “Zackary often acts just like I.” Because this error is so deeply seeded in so many individuals, I used Bradshaw’s tip and simply completed the sentence so that it would read easily.
With the very first chapter, The Big Ten of Grammar had already proven its value. The following chapters were similarly helpful, and dealt with topics such as using “he” and “him,” using quotation marks, choosing between “less” and “fewer” and using the apostrophe. I appreciated that there was clarification when an American rule conflicted with a Canadian one, and found all of the chapters incredibly helpful.
The only point in the book that I just couldn’t bring myself to accept was the concept of using a comma for the final item in a series. Two very skilful and dedicated high school English teachers and numerous finicky editors have all made it very clear to me that open punctuation is, in Canada at least, more often accepted as correct.
Overall, I found The Big Ten of Grammar to be an invaluable addition to my book collection, and one that I refer to often. I was excited to learn that many of the common mistakes had quick tricks to help determine correct grammar usage, and that other mistakes could be avoided by learning a few simple rules. This book is a great resource for absolutely anyone, from students to business professionals to bloggers. The ability to communicate effectively is something that every person in every profession will be able to benefit from.
The Big Ten of Grammar does a great job of helping readers to improve their grammar easily and quickly. With a bonus reference section that covers irregular and unusual grammatical rules, this book is sure to be one that is best kept close at hand. Check out The Big Ten of Grammar and start improving your verbal communication and writing today!
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Giveaway ends 11:59 pm CST on September 15, 2010. Open to US and Canada