The Glamour of Grammar
A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English
By Roy Peter Clark
(Little, Brown and Company, Paperback, 9780316027908, 320pp.)
Publication Date: September 2011
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Early in the history of English, the words "grammar" and "glamour" meant the same thing: the power to charm. Roy Peter Clark, author of Writing Tools and the forthcoming Help! For Writers, aims to put the glamour back in grammar with this fun, engaging alternative to stuffy instructionals. Now in paperback, this widely praised practical guide demonstrates everything from the different parts of speech to why effective writers prefer concrete nouns and active verbs. Above all, Clark teaches readers how to master grammar to perfect their use of English, to instill meaning, and to charm through their writing.
In a world where we comminucate more and more through emails and text messages, how you use language matters--even in 140 characters. The Glamour of Grammar prepares readers to captivate with every word.
Roy Peter Clark is vice president and senior scholar at The Poynter Institute, one of the most prestigious schools for journalists in the world. He has taught writing at every level--to schoolchildren and Pulitzer Prize-winning authors--for more than thirty years, and has spoken about the writer's craft on The Oprah Winfrey Show, NPR, and The Today Show; at conferences from Singapore to Brazil; and at news organizations from The New York Times to The Sowetan in South Africa. A writer who teaches and a teacher who writes, he has authored or edited fifteen books about writing and journalism, including his most recent, Writing Tools. He lives in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Roy Peter Clark of the Poynter Institute says we ought to remind ourselves that language lives, breathes and learns more as it goes along. He advises professionals to write carefully, but not defensively and certainly not drably. Host Scott Simon speaks with Clark about his new book, The Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English. More at NPR.org
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"A grammar manual for the 21st century--a little more earthy, a little more relaxed. A welcome addition to the bookshelf of anyone who cares about language."
-Ammon Shea, New York Times Book Review
"A fine common-sense guide to the proper use of language."
-Barbara Fisher, the Boston Globe
"A streamlined, accessible, witty book...[Clark] is a coach rather than a scold, encouraging readers to 'live inside the language.'"
-Colette Bancroft, St. Petersburg Times
"[Clark] is not of the hectoring, bullying school of language advice. He is an encourager...A good book for an aspiring writer, human and sensible about the great craft, relishing its possibilities and its power."
-John E. McIntyre, The Baltimore Sun
"An engaging and witty exploration of the shifting rules of English grammar...Clark shows breathtaking knowledge of how language is used in the real world and a passionate commitment to helping writers make good choices."
-Chuck Leddy, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"[Roy Peter] Clark takes readers through a well-paced presentation...he conveys the magic that is to be found in English, in its ever active evolution."
-Margaret Heilbrun, Library Journal
"Who knew that a discussion of grammar could induce laughter? This is an eminently readable, extremely enjoyable guide that readers will find highly useful on their path to development, not just as writers, but as readers."
"What I learned from this book:
1) That grammar has meant mastery of all arts and letters (to the Greeks) and power, magic, and enchantment (to the Scots). Wow.
2) That for the artful writer, no decision is too small, including whether to use a or the. Awesome.
3) That there are right-branching, left-branching, and middle-branching sentences. How cool!
4) That Roy Peter Clark, a modern-day Pied Piper of grammar, makes good writing both approachable and doable. Phew!"
-Constance Hale, author of Sin and Syntax
"If there is indeed a glamour to grammar, I should have known Roy Peter Clark would be the one to spot it. Clark is a trusty guide for anyone wanting to avoid the (many) pitfalls and scale the (hard-won) peaks of perpetrating prose."
-Ben Yagoda, author of Memoir: A History and The Sound on the Page: Style and Voice in Writing
"Who, other than a word-lover like Roy Peter Clark, would dare link "glamour" with (ugh) "grammar"? Here it is--a book of enchantment about words and how words work and what they mean and how to spell them, where even lowly semicolons get appreciated as "swinging gates" in a sentence. Who'd a thunk a book on grammar could be fun? And humorous. Check out "cleave" and "cleaveage.""
-Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking
"Roy Peter Clark, the Jedi master of writing coaches, has delivered another indispensable classic for every author, young and old. The Glamour of Grammar crackles with wit and wisdom and with page after page of rock-solid strategies to guide writers toward prose that sings with vivid clarity."
-Thomas French, author of Zoo Story
"If grammar is medicine, then Roy Clark gives us the spoonful of sugar to help it go down. A wonderful tour through the labyrinth of language."
-Anne Hull, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, The Washington Post