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  1. 33percent

    33percent Active Member

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    What books you suggest for Grammar?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by 33percent, Aug 13, 2018.

    One thing I feel as a crutch for me is my grammar. I just feel like there is so many rules with English grammar, it contradicts itself half of the time. Sorta, a never ending of tree branches relating to one particular thing. Do people who just have a niche just reading any story, analyzing every grammar error like a computer. I am learning different types of sentence structure, proper way to write dialogue. Things like this(, and) or (and)? I haven't got a clear answer if you need to put a comma before 'and' or not?

    I've been stuck editing my 1st chapter over and over again at the writing center. Acknowledging I have like 100k plus words to go and it's extremely discouraging. Now I question, is this what makes or breaks a writer? getting passed the gate keepers? Anyways, does anyone have any books that you suggest that would help me with my grammar skills? or better yet see what's wrong with my grammar on what I wrote?
     
  2. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    How much do you read? My knowledge of grammar doesn’t come from studying the rules, it comes from having read hundreds (Thousands? I’ll have to sit down and do an estimate.) of books.

    I realize that you don’t want to stop writing and read a few hundred books. But if you don’t read much, I’d suggest that you start, and that you read books that you can rely on to be correct.

    You might want to pursue one thing at a time. For example, work on dialogue until you’ve corrected every dialogue error in several pieces. Then pick the next thing.
     
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  3. Spencer1990

    Spencer1990 Contributor Contributor

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    You know, for whatever it’s worth, the Grammarly app helped me quite a lot. I would just use it as a plugin on my browser, and it highlighted the common mistakes and tolf me a little bit about why it’s wrong.

    It certainly isn’t great for grammatical nuances, and but it can absolutely point you in the right direction. That was probably the single most effective tool I used to improve my grammar.

    Revision and editing also helped a lot.
     
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  4. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Funky like your grandpa's drawers.... Staff Contributor

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    I wouldn't say it's make or break, but without a passable knowledge of grammar you'll never get past the threshold. I would certainly suggest reading more. In the above quote you used "passed" when it should have been "past." That's one of those words that sounds correct but if you read a lot you'll notice the difference in spellings.

    This isn't really a thing. There a few occasions where you might put a comma before an "and" clause in a stylistic sense, but it's seldom necessary. Even the comma I just wrote before the "but" in my last sentence is questionable. "And" kind of works the same way. I included it because there was a longer thought followed by a brief summation. There's an old fallacy that you should place a comma wherever there is a pause in the sentence. That's complete bunk. HOWEVER, there are times where a comma could lend a pause that helps the flow of the thought. But there are no hard and fast rules.
     
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  5. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Contributor

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    Two books I use consistently when I have a question:

    The Grammar Book for You and I (Oops Me) by C. Edward Good
    The Little, Brown Handbook

    ETA: Also:

    Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss
    (For something for publication, I go with the Chicago Manual of Style or the AP Stylebook, whichever the publication's style guide uses.)
     
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  6. 33percent

    33percent Active Member

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    I started reading again and taking a break from writing. I am going to college and working full time. Studying for my Real Estate test, fixing my house and even doing acting.

    I got the Maze Runner for free figured to give it a read and 1984 is next afterward. I found MR quite enjoyable for my taste. I enjoy his writing style, which is at the same level I am aiming for. I am halfway finishing up the Maze Runner. I noticed what strategies the author was using to keep you guessing and wanting more. My time is so contained right now.

    I thought passed was past tense like the word past? I'm visualizing someone walking passed the gate? I think my biggest weakness in grammar is sentence structure. I've been reading more on grammar basic rules. I learned a few things like always indent when you have a new speaker in a dialogue. Another example is the indent or space between every paragraph can't have either or. A paragraph is pretty much a glorified sentence. While every other idea/sentence is chain linking back to the sequence of previous ideas.

    I will look into those to add to my grammar toolbox.
     
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  7. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Passed is past tense of the word pass:

    "Please pass me the salt."
    "I already passed you the salt."

    "To join the club, you have to pass the test."
    "I passed the test, I filled out the form, I paid my membership fee."


    "Past" is the word that you were looking for:

    "Where are you?"
    "Walking past the gate."

    "Where's the post office?"
    "Go up to the traffic light, turn right, and it's just past the Starbucks."

    "Give me back my watch."
    "Can't get much past you!"

    To combine them:

    "To get to the post office, you have to pass the gate."
    "I'm already past the gate! There's no post office."

    or
    "I already passed the gate! There's no post office."
     
  8. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    This is far from comprehensive, but it's one of the best grammar websites I've run across. Best thing about it (besides being free to use) are the exercises. They get you to practice grammar issues, and clearly let you know if you were right or wrong, and why. I guarantee if you go down the list of topics on the left sidebar and do each one—including the exercises—till you get them all right first time, you will end up being a lot more confident about your grammar and punctuation.

    http://www.bristol.ac.uk/arts/exercises/grammar/grammar_tutorial/page_41.htm

    Lots of good books quoted here on this thread, but what @Homer Potvin said about reading really needs to be taken on board.

    If you read a lot of good books (not online blogs or comments or even websites, which can be full of mistakes) you will certainly get a feel for what's correct, and what isn't. Passed and past being a good example. The fact that they SOUND the same isn't important to a reader. Instead, a reader picks up the difference in the meaning, simply by context and repetition. You can't beat reading, really. Read.
     
  9. Thundair

    Thundair Contributor Contributor

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    33percent likes this.
  10. Drinkingcrane

    Drinkingcrane Active Member

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    The Elements of Style by Strunk and White a small and succinct book recommended by Steven King in On Writing
     
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  11. Thundair

    Thundair Contributor Contributor

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    Thanks for posting the name of the book. I put the link in but never mentioned what it was called.
     

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