Quick and Dirty Tips For Better Writing by Mignon Fogarty

Quick and Dirty Tips For Better Writing by Mignon Fogarty
Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing Book Cover Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing
Quick and Dirty Tips
Mignon Fogarty
Reference, Grammar
Henry Holt and Co.
July 8th 2008

Are you stumped by split infinitives? Terrified of using "who" when a "whom" is called for? Do you avoid the words "affect" and "effect" altogether?

Grammar Girl is here to help!

Mignon Fogarty, a.k.a. Grammar Girl, is determined to wipe out bad grammar—but she's also determined to make the process as painless as possible. A couple of years ago, she created a weekly podcast to tackle some of the most common mistakes people make while communicating. The podcasts have now been downloaded more than twenty million times, and Mignon has dispensed grammar tips on Oprah and appeared on the pages of The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, and USA Today.
Written with the wit, warmth, and accessibility that the podcasts are known for, Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing covers the grammar rules and word-choice guidelines that can confound even the best writers. From "between vs. among" and "although vs. while" to comma splices and misplaced modifiers, Mignon offers memory tricks and clear explanations that will help readers recall and apply those troublesome grammar rules. Chock-full of tips on style, business writing, and effective e-mailing, Grammar Girl's print debut deserves a spot on every communicator's desk.

[This post contains affiliate links. My affiliate policy can be found here.]

Move Over, Boring Grammar Books!  The Grammar Girl Has You Beat.

 Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better writing is the first in a series of grammar-related books from grammar and usage nerd, blogger, and podcaster Mignon Fogarty. It also just happens to be a book I utterly adore.

Grammar Girl, as I like to call it, is the book I go to when I need a quick refresher on matters of grammar and how some easily confused words are used. Or when I just want to read it. Yes, you did read the previous sentence correctly. I not only adore this book, I enjoy it enough that I will read it just because.

I chock that up to three things: the prose, the characters, and how truly useful it is.

The Characters

Need some help with grammar? Read my book review of Mignon Fogarty's Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty tips For Better Writing to learn how this book can help boost your writing.It may seem odd to some that I’m talking about characters when reviewing a book about grammar and usage, but the book does have characters: Aardvark and Squiggly. Squiggly is a yellow snail and Aardvark is a blue aardvark that Forgarty uses to help readers connect to the various examples in the book. This is a very effective technique for getting the point she’s trying communicate to the reader across. And while I wouldn’t say either have much personality independent of their uses in the various example throughout the book, they’re an ingenious device. One that fulfills its purpose perfectly and has the benefit of making the book fun to read.

Though I do have this in E-book format and the only way you know the characters are blue and yellow is that the reader is told they are. Having not read the paperback, I cannot say whether this is simply a format difference. But it didn’t impact my enjoyment of Grammar Girl in the slightest.

The Prose

The prose is awesome. Fogarty is very concise in her explanations but also very much thorough at the same time.  And she has a wry sense of humor that made me laugh more than once. A grammar book that makes the reader laugh because of its tone while still remaining well-written is very hard to find.

The traditional grammar text is dry and a bit dull, even for those of us who enjoy grammar and usage as a topic in its own right.

How Useful Is It?

The short version? Very useful.

The long version? Grammar Girl is arranged in sections that tackle a smaller topic within the concept of this book: quick and dirty grammar tips. This makes the book very easy to navigate. If you want to punch up your punctuation, there is a section for that. If you’re wondering about general grammar, there’s a section for it. There’s even a section on writing style. And all of this makes Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips For Better Writing invaluable to readers. Regardless of whether you’re trying to find advice on those pesky commas or just browsing to browse. Whether you’re a writer or a reader who sees a mistake in a book and wants to know why it may have been left in.

I would urge anyone who is looking for an accessible book about grammar or who is a grammar geek to give it a try. Or if you need a quick tip, just go to her website: quickanddirtytips.com

Her website covers a range of topics not related to grammar and featuring a variety of writers, but the grammar stuff is simply awesome and the grammar section of the site my favorite. If you want to talk grammar, this book, or something else I can be found on Facebook, Twiter, and Pinterest.

Have you read Grammar Girl or listened to Mignon Fogarty’s Grammar Girl podcast? Do you plan on buying the book?

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