Guide To Grammar And Writing

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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The universal favorite guide to grammar and writing, certainly for the last 20 years or so, is William Strunk and E.B. White's The Elements of Style. I'm looking at the third edition, which sold for $5.95 in 1979, and isn't the most recent. First published in 1956, or 1935, depending on how you interpret the front matter page, the book remains a quarter-inch thick gem.

At the price, then, of a drive in a Ford Tahoe from Washington to Baltimore, Strunk and White does an amazing job. No one's likely to deny that overall in the United States emphasis on two of the traditional three Rs of early education--reading, writing, and arithmetic--has given way to a focus on technical study. "Words out, numbers in" was the formula. If it doesn't get you a good job, forget it.

The irony is that this is the information age. A guide to grammar and writing is more important than ever. There is probably not a fourth-grade teacher in the country, however, who teaches grammar by getting students to diagram sentences. On the flip side are all those people who recognize the problem and try to address it. Any number of websites and e-books and online forums serve as a useful guide to grammar and writing as well as to punctuation, spelling, and style.

Where a Guide to Grammar and Writing Leads

Editors and grammarians generally aren't listened to by anyone but themselves, if that. I try not to listen to other editors. Most writers prefer not to listen to editors. We all, however, tend to like our own voices. This makes writing resources on the Internet ideal solutions to those keen on improving their writing. The incentive is the overwhelming majority of decision makers (80 percent) who trash job (80 percent) and promotion (99 percent) applications with grammatical errors. Writing skills count.

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