Adventures in Reading

Nonfiction: Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing by Mignon Fogarty

Roughly once a year I try to dip into a grammar, usage or style guide simply to brush up on my own lackluster skills. Additionally, reading a new guide is interesting to see what and how language has evolved since the last book. Though apparently quite the podcast success, I picked up Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing by Mignon Fogarty on impulse.

This user-friendly guide to grammar, punctuation and usage promises the reader to be “right most of the time.” Much of the advice Mignon gives is hokey, but Mignon knows she’s being hokey and that the antics of Aardvark and Squiggly actually will help the reader recall different rules.

With Grammar Girl’s I picked up the difference between pronouncing the prior to a vowel sound versus a consonant sound or using by or on accident. But it’s the final chapters of Grammar Girl’s that really makes it stand out from the rest of the usage crowd: chapters on Internet use as well as brainstorming tips for creative and nonfiction writing. Both of these are areas mostly neglected in other guides.

Though not nearly as funny as June Casagrande’s grammar books, Fogarty’s book is a terrific guide superbly suited for high school students and undergraduates. Fogarty comes out as a more progressive usage user, which certainly makes me quite partial to her book and prods me to look into her podcast.

Q&A from Conjugate Visits.



I can’t stand it when somebody says “on accident.” It’s like nails on a chalkboard to me.

Comment by Claire C. Cake

So how do you pronounce “the” before a vowel or consonant? Is it like “thee apples” and “thuh bed” (or vice versa)?

Comment by Chrissy

All of your grammer guide reviews are picquing my interest! Thanks for bringing these to my attention.

Comment by bkclubcare

Chrissy: You have it right in your example. “Thee” before vowel sounds and “thuh” before consonant sounds.

bkclubcare: In my experience, most grammar guides are surprisingly more interesting and exciting than people think they might be. I’m an enormous fan of June Casagrande and her books are written as mini-essays and are a great way to improve your mind and get some laughs in.

Comment by bookchronicle

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: