Early in 2011, I picked up a book from my local Borders, after a quick double-take at the title, “The Glamour of Grammar”. After flipping through the first couple pages and discovering the source of the title, and the history of a magical connection between the words ‘glamour’ and ‘grammar’, I very quickly came to love Roy Peter Clark’s insight into the history and application of grammar, as well as his ability to show English as a far more complex creature than I had previously known it to be.
I am ill-qualified to delve into a full literary review of this book, but I will attempt a lesser endeavor: simply reviewing it on its reading merits. Roy Clark does a wonderful job of distilling grammar and the many intricacies of the English language into fifty succinct lessons for digestion at the reader’s pace and preference. The lessons are well-explained, and concluded with ‘Keepsakes’ sections which detail the bullet-points of the lesson for easy reference. Also included are historical background on various words and phrases, as well as dictionary and lexicon-backed word studies where appropriate.
Not only does he teach in these lessons, however; Clark masterfully entertains the reader with personal anecotes and a deep understanding of the complexities and pitfalls of the English language and its proper usage. He keeps the reader interested and intrigued by providing context and meaning to tie the lesson to practical use and reality.
If nothing else, this book has encouraged me in the use of such under-appreciated marks of punctuation as the colon and the semi-colon. Look, I’ve used them twice in this review thus far!
In closing, thank you Roy Peter Clark, for your wit and wisdom in navigating the rough and choppy waters of prescriptive/descriptive grammar.
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