Friday, July 12, 2013

There, Their, and They're: A No-Tears Guide to Grammar -- Annette Lyon

I’ve taught Jr. High School English for 34 years, and I’ve been an editor for the past 20 or more. You’d think when it comes to grammar and punctuation I should know it all. Not so!

Although I can hold my own with most conventions, there are still several that are stoppers for me—things I have to look up one more time, just to make sure. Maybe these rough spots have come about because it’s a concept I never really learned. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen the same error made so many times as I’ve read writing from both students and clients that I began to doubt my own knowledge and abilities to get things right.

Whatever the cause, Annette Lyons’ THERE, THEIR, AND THEY’RE: A NO-TEARS GUIDE TO GRAMMAR has been a lifesaver for me, and this new expanded version, with over 60 new entries, is all that much better as a resource as I edit, as well as write books of my own.

I read the book cover to cover—something I never would have done with a grammar text such as Warriner—and actually enjoyed reading Lyons’ explanations and examples. But the best thing is, I learned! In every chapter there were multiple times I stopped to say “I didn’t know that,” and suddenly situations I had faced before about word choice, punctuation, or the history of why one word had gone from the usage lexicon made that proverbial light bulb in the head go off in a way that I believe will help me remember the next time I am writing or editing a manuscript with the same problem.

I previously purchased copies of the first version for my classroom reference shelves. My recommendation will extend even farther this time into the other English classrooms at my school.

English teacher or not, editor or not, professional writer or not, if you do ANY kind of writing at all, you NEED a copy of THERE, THEIR, AND THEY’RE: A NO-TEARS GUIDE TO GRAMMAR right next to your computer where you can use it. The book is worth the price alone for the final chapter, Usage Errors & Confusing Words. If only I could send a copy to everyone who uses Facebook! 

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