Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Shout Out to Grammar Girl!

I've been making some really interesting finds during my weekly trip to the going-out-of-business sale at the local bookstore. One that I picked up last week was Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing. As I head into a brand-new semester and put my "teacher's hat" back on, this one definitely looked worthwhile.

Grammar Girl is the alias for technical writer and entrepreneur Mignon Fogarty, creator of the ultra-successful Grammar Girl podcast and Quick and Dirty Tips Network. Grammar Girl started hosting weekly podcasts in 2006 to help people answer those tricky grammar questions and ultimately help improve her listeners' usage and overall writing skills. Since 2006, she has become a bit of a writerly phenomenon, appearing on Oprah and sending weekly emails with grammar tips to her growing fan base.

I like what I've seen in her first book so far. The tone is conversational, so she makes it seem as if everyone casually discusses sticky situations like "affect" or "effect", punctuation, and the little spelling tricks that trip us all up from time to time (i.e. "a lot", "alot", "allot"; "they're", "their", "there"). Grammar isn't usually something I think twice about--I would say my usage is pretty strong--but since I'll be teaching first-year English again, I plan to spend quite a bit of time on grammar and I'm trying to pull from as many resources as possible. I can see Grammar Girl's book being right at the top of the list!

Any other required reading for sharpening those basic skills?

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