Aug 152010

The Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English
I never realized that there was a possible link between the words glamour and grammar, but thanks to Roy Peter Clark, I am now well aware of the connection. Clark’s The Glamour of Grammar is a book about language and grammar that should have a place in any writer, language lover or avid reader’s personal library.

The Glamour of Grammar is unlike any grammar book that I have ever read, as it is not only about rules and proper English. In the Glamour of Grammar Clark successfully attempts to convey his love of the English language to the reader, he explores the history of words, the usage of punctuation, he gives tips on how to best use grammar to the writer’s benefit, and he shows writers how to bend the rules if they need to.
Clark is clearly a master of the English language, and it is evident that every word from the smallest article to the longest adjective in the Glamour of Grammar has been thought through carefully and with amazing skill. All statements are backed up by great examples, and quite often Clark is able to pull in events from current trends to make grammar more accessible to the reader.
Clark repeatedly encourages the use and study of the dictionary, and he also suggests that reading is the best way to improve your writing. As a speaker of English as a second language, I can only concur with these observations. I used to spend a lot of time with my head in an enormous Webster’s dictionary, and while I was trying to perfect my English I dove into works of masters such as W.E.B. Dubois with Webster’s by my side. I would look up every word I did not know, and once I entered college, I realized that I actually had a clear advantage over my fellow classmates, because I had in fact studied the English language up close. 
Clark takes us on a journey from the Oxford English Dictionary to the website,  and from the American Heritage Dictionary to the Hip Hoptionary and the Urban Dictionary. Clark is a wealth of knowledge and in The Glamour of Grammar he enlightens, he teaches, and he shares his observations with the reader.

The Glamour of Grammar is one of the most pleasant grammar books that I have read, and I enjoyed learning from Clark, who is easy to follow, and whose love for the English language leaves its mark on every page, in every sentence, and in every word of the book. Clark makes grammar accessible and usable through the extensive knowledge, which he shares in the Glamour of Grammar. 

“Learning to use them (words) correctly is the license we need to bend them, stretch them, and blend them with others, as context, meaning and audience allow.”

                                                                                                Roy Peter Clark – The Glamour of Grammar

About the author:

Roy Peter Clark is Vice President of the Poynter Institute, where he founded the writing center. He has a   Ph.D. in medieval literature, and he is the author/editor of more than 15 books about writing and journalism including: Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every WriterCoaching Writers: Editors and Reporters Working Together Across Media PlatformsThe Values and Craft of American Journalism: Essays from the Poynter Institute and The Changing South of Gene Patterson: Journalism and Civil Rights, 1960-1968 (Southern Dissent).

Title: The Glamour of Grammar
Author: Roy Peter Clark

Hardcover: 304 pages 
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (August 16, 2010)

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Hachette Book Group has offered three of  Frugality Is Free’s readers a copy of The Glamour of Grammar by Roy Peter Clark. (3 winners!)

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