Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies: A Guide to Language for Fun and Spite

June Casagrande, Author Penguin Books $14 (199p) ISBN 978-0-14-303683-8
Hoping to make grammar both accessible and amusing, Casagrande offers practical and entertaining lessons on common uses and unfortunate abuses of the English language. The author, a southern California newspaper columnist, memorably delineates ""who"" and ""whom""; ""can"" and ""may""; ""affect"" and ""effect""; and provides pithy primers on the perennially problematic dark alleys of language (subjunctives, how to use punctuation marks around quoted material, possessive gerunds). In brief, cleverly titled sections, she addresses a slew of grammar and punctuation questions: ""To Boldly Blow"" examines the issue of split infinitives, ""Snobbery Up With Which You Should Not Put"" tackles prepositions and ""Is That a Dangler in Your Memo or Are You Just Glad to See Me?"" pokes fun at dangling modifiers and the confusion they create. By also touching on e-mail and text messaging, where traditional rules are commonly ignored, Casagrande keeps the discussion current. She maintains her sass and her sense of humor throughout, at one point calling the hyphen ""a nasty, tricky, evil little mark that gets its kicks igniting arguments...the Bill Maher of punctuation."" Readers intimidated by style manuals and Lynne Truss will enjoy this populist grammar reference.
Reviewed on: 04/03/2006
Release date: 04/01/2006
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