Grammar and More, Sponsored by Portico Books Sample Icons To Represent Parts of Speech: Spring - Action Verb, Screw - Subordinating Conjunction, Glue - Conjunction, and N-Cube - Noun

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An Update on Strunk & White's Elements of Style for Y2K

For decades Strunk & White's Elements of Style rallied us to write our best English, no more and no less. Each of its sentences demonstrated to the listening ear that good writing was a matter -- not of Baroque gilding, Gothic loftiness, or Romantic breathlessness -- but of Yankee economy, craft, and precision.

Now the lessons that Strunk & White made clear to anyone with ears to hear have been given a visual and tactile dimension by Fran Hamilton in Hands-On English. This is an important enhancement for those of us whose best appendage for learning is not the ear but the eye or the hand -- I mean you, joy-sticking Webmaster, and you, numbercrunching Engineer, and even you, paint-spattered Marketer. . . . Step up and feel with your own hands the difference between the lumpen cube of a noun and the coiled spring of a verb! Admire the tongue-and-groove snugness of a well fitted sentence. For a mind-blowing effect, line up a series of verbs and watch them spring forth like so many slinkies tumbling down the stairs.

See an adjective -- with one daub of its paintbrush tip -- transform that noun-cube before your very eyes! And then marvel at the transformation of that adjectival paintbrush, in its turn, by one dusting from an adverbial magic wand! Let your fingers grope beneath the noun-cube for the hooks from which you can, if you have need, suspend one! -- two! -- three! -- prepositional magnets, each securely supporting a corresponding object of the preposition.

In short, Fran Hamilton succeeds where many others have failed: laying bare the mechanics of "grammar" so that that dread word will shake off forever its Dali-esque surreality. For this we all owe her Hands-On English a Siskel-and-Ebert-style two thumbs up!

If you are a parent, a teacher, an employed person of any kind, buy a copy of Hands-On English: you know someone in desperate need of this book. And if you mastered all this years ago -- even if you spent your down time as a kid diagramming sentences! -- buy this book for the wicked pleasure its stick-in-the-eye precision of language will bring you. It's a new-and-improved Strunk and White in Furby clothing.

Posted with Permission from a Reader in Minneapolis, Minnesota

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Hands-On English




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Buy Hands-On English, the Activity Book (Reproducible Edition), and Hands-On Sentences for $50.00


Hands-On English, Second Edition (Handbook)
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The Activity Book (Practice Pages)
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Hands-On Sentences (Card Game)
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