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.