Thursday, July 25, 2019

Books for Writers: Improve Your Grammar with Easy Grammar Plus Revised

Books for Writers: Easy Grammar Plus 

Want to write, but aren't sure of your grammar skills?

I recommend Easy Grammar: Plus by Wanda C. Phillips.

Maybe interesting trivia: I homeschooled my son through high school. The previous edition of this book was his high school English book, so I am very familiar with it. 

The author used the book to teach middle-grade students but let's face it. Math is math, and English is English. It doesn't magically change from one grade to the next. 

At the same time that I was busy homeschooling my son, my husband was enrolled in collegiate courses at a private school. He and his fellow students had a really hard English Grammar course. On occasion, my son and I would go to hubby's school and sit in the library to work on homeschool courses. 

What I found was that this book covered the same material as my husband's more difficult to understand textbook. Many of his fellow students asked to review the material in Easy Grammar: Plus

I also learned that my personal grammar skills needed refreshing. For instance, I had been taught about prepositions from probably about the fourth grade, but I never understood what they were or why they were important to understand.

The preposition bingo game included in the book made it easy to learn the prepositions. My husband's instructor made it even easier. "A preposition is anything a rabbit can do to a hollow log," he told his students. "It can go over, under, through, around, at, with, beyond, within, withoutin, and out." Each of the bolded words is a preposition. There are many, many more prepositions, though. The book will help you learn fifty prepositions. 

Why is it important to understand prepositions? Knowing the prepositions in your writing make it easier to properly punctuate sentences. This book starts by teaching prepositions, then uses those to help you understand the parts of a sentence. Once you understand the parts of a sentence, punctuation is much easier.

I could spend hours telling you the good things about this book, but here are the most important:
  1. Instruction pages for each skill teach grammar using examples
  2. Student practice pages help internalize the material
  3. Solution pages indicate how well the material is understood
And they are all in the same book! You don't have to buy a student workbook AND a teacher's book to have the answers. To keep from having to make copies, I did purchase a student workbook for my son to use. This also allowed me to keep a record of his work in a book rather than on individual papers that could be easily lost. In the end, I used the book to refresh my grammar skills and learn those concepts that illuded me through all the years of English courses I took in school.

Several years later, I taught computer courses in a career-oriented college. To keep from having so many classes, the school made a deal with the state governing body that each class would require written papers from the students. This deal meant that the school didn't have to require English for their degree to be state-approved. Unfortunately, this left students with very little instruction, since instructors still had to cover the mandated course material.

Cover of first edition Easy Grammar Plus
The first edition Easy Grammar Plus
To help the students in my classes, I took this book to school. We played preposition bingo a few times. Then, because the book gives teachers permission to make copies of the student pages for students in their classes, I made copies to give to those students who needed extra help. 

I let them grade them themselves since it was extra work that wasn't part of their course grade. It kept me from having extra work and gave them the help they needed to turn in papers that met the basic grammar criteria. Most of my students loved it and took advantage of the option. Some even purchased a copy of the book for themselves.  

I still have my first edition copy on my bookshelf (see the book at left). When I have a grammar question, I get it out and work a few pages until I absorb the information.

Sometimes, you can find a new copy of the first edition, but often the price is two or even three times the cost of the new edition. After reviewing both, I can't see enough difference to warrant the higher price.

For writers or editors needing to learn more about grammar, or even just to refresher your skills without the cost of a class, Easy Grammar: Plus is an excellent choice. The more you understand about grammar, the better your writing or editing. 

In my opinion, this book should be on every writer's bookshelf. 

Later,





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