1. passenger

    passenger Member

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    Looking for a good book on writing guidelines and grammar usage

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by passenger, Apr 8, 2016.

    Hi, I'm new to writing. Hardly know grammar. Thought I might ask if anyone knows any good writing guideline books or quick tip books on writing.

    I'm not trying to go pro. I just want to ba able to journal better.

    Thanks.
     
  2. NobodySpecial

    NobodySpecial Senior Member

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    Under the resources link there is a sub heading for grammar guides. You can start there, with the free stuff online, and probably cover what you're looking for.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2016
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  3. SethLoki

    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    'The Little Brown Handbook' serves me well. You can get it on Amazon.
     
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  4. thirdwind

    thirdwind Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    The Chicago Manual of Style is used by most publishers. It's very good and gets my vote.
     
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  5. DueNorth

    DueNorth Senior Member

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    Google the website "grammergirl". I use it when I am writing.
     
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  6. Sack-a-Doo!

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributor Contributor

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    But don't pay any attention to what they say about writing the word 'Internet' with a lowercase 'i.' It's a proper noun and therefore should be capitalized. They may cite historical precedent, but that's from a time when the military, government and large corporations were the only ones with access and they each had their own. Once they all became interconnected, it became one entity, the Internet (and there's even a good argument for capitalizing 'The').

    Frankly, the only reason people don't capitalize Internet is because it means one less jab at the Shift key. And that's just Laziness (with a capital 'L!').
     
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  7. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan Active Member

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    The Elements of Style by Strunk and White.
     
  8. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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  9. JLT

    JLT Contributor Contributor

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    I use the Associated Press Stylebook, which is also good. It's not going to be much of a consideration now, but when and if you start thinking about publishing, you'll find that publishers have their preferences.

    I agree. The "Little Book" has held up well over the years, having gone through several revisions. It has its detractors, mainly among those who feel that it's too authoritarian, but it's hard to argue with its success. And E. B. White was one of the master stylists of the twentieth century. I'm just now reading a collection of the stuff he wrote for the New Yorker magazine, and I'm blown away with his skill, and how easily he seems to achieve it. I firmly believe that if you want to be a good writer, read what the best writers are writing, and try to figure out how they do it. It really does rub off.

    In all cases, the goal is to be clear about what you're saying. You'll find that the more you write, the easier this becomes.
     
  10. DeadMoon

    DeadMoon The light side of the dark side Contributor

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    Just bought The Elements of Style this past week myself.
     
  11. jannert

    jannert Member Supporter Contributor

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  12. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I have the 6th edition, 2003. I haven't seen the newer one but I find new editions of writing advice/style books don't usually add enough to make it worth getting them.
     
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  13. jannert

    jannert Member Supporter Contributor

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    Thanks. I looked it up, but there seem to be umpteen editions. Damn. Couldn't find it on Kindle, though. I'm trying to keep from buying more paper editions of writing books. One shelf-full is enough? Still considering it, though....
     
  14. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan Active Member

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    I actually just picked up a copy of the second edition for like 5 bucks. It's amazing the kind of deals you can find when you're willing to prey on the suffering of college graduates.
     
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  15. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Supporter Contributor

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    This is yet a third test...
     
  16. Seven Crowns

    Seven Crowns Active Member

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    You want to come at this in steps. For grammar, try something like this:
    • The Transitive Vampire
      • Ridiculously simple on most levels, but accurate. It starts with kid stuff but the end gets interesting. You'll probably want to get something beyond it at the same time, because really, it's almost too easy. Try any of the Grammar Girl books. Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Woe is I, etc. They're fairly casual reading.
    • Simon and Schuster Handbook for Writers
      • Don't dare buy the latest edition, leave that to suckers spending $100+ on college texts. You can pick up the 7th edition for about $3. Though the last few hundred pages are on writing reports, the first 400 are perfect. The layout is immaculate. Full color text really helps.
    • Oxford Modern English Grammar
      • This is not the one you want to start with. Trust me on this. If you go in with a decent foundation, the notation isn't scary. Otherwise . . . yeah. Just don't do it. It contains pretty much everything omitted in a normal college text.
    Style is a subject orders of magnitude greater than grammar. Grammar is confined to the unit of the sentence, and even then doesn't guarantee the sentence is any good. Style reaches beyond the sentence and within it too. It's the big picture told in miniature brush strokes. There are tons of great sources on this. I'll try to list some from easy(ish) to tough.
    • Style: Ten Lessons in Grace and Clarity
      • This is for non-fiction college writing, but it is absolutely genius. Much of what it says applies to fiction too. It's very short but has a lot packed in there. (Hmm . . . the new editions are named slightly different.)
    • The Sense of Style
      • Steven Pinker gets very precise with what works. When he starts talking about rightward branching syntactic structures, well . . . it does make sense. Multiple readings of this will change the way you put sentences together
    • The Rhetoric of Fiction
      • I have a couple of different editions of this one. It is concerned with style at the broadest level.
    I could list a couple dozen more, but nobody's going to read that much, so I'll just end here.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
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