The Grammar Devotional

Daily Tips for Successful Writing from Grammar Girl (TM)

Quick & Dirty Tips

Mignon Fogarty

Holt Paperbacks

People are often moved and challenged by nuggets gleaned on a daily basis— whether from a spiritual devotional, a tip-a-day calendar, or a regularly e-mailed newsletter. But there are few groups who need constant encouragement more than writers— it is, after all, a mostly solitary practice. The Grammar Devotional, then, is here to help you: it has daily reminders of our basic tenets (who versus whom, anyone?); inspiring pro.les of writers and grammarians who have helped English evolve to what it is today; and quizzes, word scrambles, and word searches to help solidify newly learned tips.
English is a messy language. Unlike French, we don’t have a council to decide how we should write or speak. We only have a multitude of competing college handbooks, dictionaries, and us­age and style guides, such as The Chicago Manual of Style and The Associated Press Stylebook, which frequently disagree. Space is tight in this book, and I like to keep things simple, but wherever possible I point out when something is a style rather than a rule. Too many people go around believing the way they learned to do things is the only way to do things, when really it’s just one of the acceptable choices.
As you will see, the book is orga nized by generic weeks so you can start any time. It’s meant to be read through, just like a devotional, but we’ve also included an index so you can use the book as a reference guide and quickly .nd speci.c tips when you need them. Most of the time, punctuation is on Monday, Lan­guage Rock Stars are on Wednesday, quizzes and word scrambles are on Friday, and word search puzzles and cartoons are on Sun­day, although I occasionally deviate from this pattern to keep re­lated entries together.
It may seem like a trivial endeavor, a tip each day, but at the end of a year the knowledge adds up. A year’s worth of new knowledge can imbue your writing with new con.dence. Here’s to better e-mail messages, essays, marketing materials, articles, and novels.
Excerpted from The Grammar Devotional by Mignon Fogarty.
Copyright 2009 by Mignon Fogarty.
Published in 2009 by Henry Holt and Company.
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.