by Steven Arndt
Handbooks on English grammar are too numerous, yet few are written with keeping in mind the usual problems of students. Among such rare grammar books is the one written by Jane Straus, named as “The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation“. Its unique workbook format is really user-friendly.
Straus was a freshman when she started her career as a writer for the State of California, where she taught the state employees good writing skills. There while leading the workshop she found that the grammar books of that time were insufficient and dissatisfactory. She then decided to write her own. “The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation” explains not only grammar, but capitalization, punctuation along with the basic writing skills. This book also provides easy to learn examples on confusing words.
The rest of the book consists of dozens of quizzes along with their answer keys. Most quizzes particularly cover topics like pronouns, apostrophes, and capitalization and words that sound similar, like ‘lay’ versus ‘lie’ and so on. The quizzes seem too much for the reader, but once you go through each of them, for example going through an exercise of uses of ‘effect’ and ‘affect’, you will never make mistake in your future.
Another benefit of these quiz-pairs is that the instructors can use one as an oral quiz in the class and assign the other to the students as a home assignment.
The unique thing about this book, as mentioned above, is the quiz practice system, which makes it a precious resource for English language learners.
But, a critical analysis is necessary to present both sides of the coin, making it easier and more rational for the user to make a choice. The writer truly helps the readers in this book to easily understand the material. But, still one disadvantage of doing that is not going deep into the topic. Like, for example, in “Adjectives and Adverbs” chapter she writes that Adjectives might come before the word they describe or it may trail the word they define (That dog is cute.).” which isn’t a correct formula at all. It’s incorrect to say, “That dog barks cute.” One would definitely say, “That dog barks cutely”.
In a nutshell, “The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation” offers some very fine fundamentals. Teachers are welcome to try it as the quizzes can help those taking exams from the students.
Steven Arndt is a passionate writer, educator and a former history teacher. He tends to reconsider the role of modern education in our society and watches with awe the freedom the youth now have. He also writes some guest posts for PaperWritingHelp.net.