The Great Grammar Book

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Title:The Great Grammar Book
Author:Marsha Sramek
Publisher:Arch Press
ISBN:978-0-9841157-0-9

Basic grammar, punctuation and sentence structure are essential for writing. Sramek has provided an excellent all-in-one reference guide and workbook. In the beginning of the guide, Sramek provides a 100-question test. Readers have an opportunity to test their knowledge before tackling each chapter. Readers can get to know where they need help. This will certainly save time and anguish.

Writers, students and business professionals, will find this text very useful. This guide has twelve chapters that cover topics such as, subject-verb agreement, common errors, pronouns, punctuation, commas and irregular verbs. Also included: a usage glossary, successful writing strategies and answer keys.

Each chapter highlights a brief definition of the topic that will be covered. Extensive exercises, rules of usage and examples are located throughout each chapter for easy reference. Each chapter focuses on the most common errors in English. Examples demonstrate how to recognize and correct errors.

Each term discussed, is covered in great detail. All the rules that apply are listed with examples. One I found interesting was, Identifying Prepositional Phrases. Sramek states, “Remember that prepositional phrases begin with a proposition and end with a noun or pronoun. The prepositions that students most often fail to recognize as prepositions are with, within, and without.”

Examples:

These are also common compound prepositions:

according to- because of- in spite of

across from- far from- instead of

along with- in front of- on account of

aside from- in place- of on top of

Sramek’s chapter on Successful Writing Strategies is also very helpful. This chapter helps readers understand how to eliminate unnecessary words and phrases.

Example:

People who are looking for bargains often shop at outlet malls or discount warehouses.

People looking for bargains often shop at outlet malls or discount warehouses.

The changes in the example sentences are obvious, but may not be recognized by someone who needs help in this area. Sramek provides examples of phrases and meaningless sentence extenders that can be eliminated. Sramek states, Eliminate the phrases “He is a man who” and “in terms of.”

Examples:

He is a man who is hard to get to know.

He is hard to get to know.

The employee was undependable in terms of often coming to work late.

By often coming to work late the employee was undependable.

Sentence structure becomes stronger and more concise. By the time readers finish each helpful chapter, they will know how make sentences shorter and stronger.

Overall, readers will understand how to identify grammar problem areas that need improvement. Readers will have fun learning the rules of grammar. Readers will enjoy the exercises and tests provided. And finally, readers will overcome their writing fears.

Marsha Sramek began teaching high school English over 30 years ago. Until her recent career shift to textbook writing and publishing, she taught in public and private schools, as well as tutoring high school seniors in the college application process. She was the Faculty Sponsor/Editor of the school newsletter and spent four years classroom-testing this textbook. Ms. Sramek never enjoyed studying grammar as a student and became determined to write a grammar book that was fun to read as well as a book that was comprehensive.

She and her husband enjoy traveling, hiking, and gardening. They divide their time between residences in Houston, TX and Asheville, NC.

Sramek first published this book in 2009. Students and instructors loved the book, but they had suggestions for improvement. This latest edition incorporated those suggestions and was reprinted in 2011.

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2 comments on “The Great Grammar Book

  1. I appreciated the interview that Kristi did on Marsha Sramek’s book, “The Great Grammar Book.” I enjoy grammar books because at times I need to look up punctuation rules. It is a brain teaser with me. At 66 years old, I find it easy to slip into lazy English. Grammar books are a great way for a writer to pay mindful attention. Thank you Kristi. I went out and bought the book. it arrived today.

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