Book review: The Grammar Devotional


I am a self-described grammar perfectionist.  My friends call me “The Editor” (but maybe they’re trying to be nice).  No matter which name I go by, I’ve spent a fair amount of time over my university career editing essays, reports, proposals and policy documents for other people.

For some reason, I really enjoy editing.  Yes, you can call me crazy.

It really drives me crazy when people make grammatical errors, especially really simple ones.  For example, mixing up the meanings of there, their and they’re, or two, too and to. I cringe when people tYpE EvErYtHiNg lIKe tHiS or use texting short-forms other than when they are on their phone.

That being said, I am certain that my grammar is by no means perfect and can be improved.  Thus, I picked up a copy of Mignon Fogarty‘s The Grammar Devotional: Daily Tips for Successful Writing from Grammar Girl .

I must admit that I didn’t follow the intended schedule of the book: instead of reading one tip per day, I ended up reading the entire thing in a couple of sittings because the book was so entertaining!  Fogarty includes pop culture references and humour in her book, which made an otherwise boring subject come alive (with her friends Aardvark and Squiggly helping as well).

How many grammar books can you think of would include word searches, song lyrics, word jumbles, short quizzes, song titles, or a reference to How I Met Your Mother (the season three episode “Spoiler Alert”)?  Very few, if any, I am sure.

Humour and jokes aside, Fogarty offers her readers a lot of tips on how to correct their grammar, which can be transferred to academic writing (essays, book reviews, etc.), professional writing (emails, reports, etc.) and non-fiction writing.  There is also an index so you can find the tips you need at a later time.

If you do any kind of writing at school, this book is an excellent resource for you, and it can also be beneficial for you at work.  It is a small investment ($19 or less), but one you will get a lot of use out of as a student as well as a working professional.

Don’t forget to check out the Grammar Girl website for other great tips and tricks on grammar, writing, and how to avoid putting your foot in your mouth.

About the author

Danielle Lorenz is a long-time contributor to the Career Incubator. Danielle is a PhD student in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Alberta. When procrastinating from schoolwork, you will find Danielle lurking on several social media platforms and trying to befriend the snowshoe hares on the U of A campus.