One of the things that makes grammar so difficult at times is that we are exposed to spoken language, often delivered sloppily, lazily, or in ignorance. If we haven’t been exposed to formal grammar, or it’s not part of our environment, we are more likely to write like we speak. We are often not aware of the pain suffered by those who read our tweets, news feed posts, or e-mail. As with all change, the person who needs to improve his or her writing must want to do it. The next step is find a good resource to study, and the third is to practice.
Knowing that commas have seven jobs and apostrophes and semi-colons have two each isn’t something imparted genetically. Good writers don’t get good by luck or chance. All writers—whether they are book report writers, letter writers, technical writers, or novelists—need to have a reference book for those “in doubt” moments. I highly recommend My Dog Bites the English Teacher. It is concise, humorous (at times), easy to understand and use, and it has a cool title.
Anders teaches that good grammar is a skill, like driving a car, which needs to be developed. It’s also like driving a car because you need to pay attention. Once lessons are learned, it gets easier and easier to apply them. In commenting on My Dog Bites the English Teacher, a reader wrote, “I used to hate English, but this isn’t too bad.” I was relieved when I found that he or she was a college freshman. My Dog Bites the English Teacher is for anyone who hates grammar, needs a refresher, or has an occasional question.
Bottom Line: Would I buy My Dog Bites the English Teacher? Yes. Did you have to ask? (By the way, did you find five errors in this review?)