If the English language lives inside you, and if you live inside your language, The Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English invites you to embrace grammar with glamour.
Avoid speed bumps caused by misspellings
“But if spelling has the power to express, misspellings have the power to distract and confound.
British spellers prefer programme, centre, cheque, and humour to the conventional American spellings.
And how do you spell butterfly?
Well, if you are Spanish, you spell it mariposa; if you are French, you watch a papillon flutter by.”
Adopt a favorite letter of the alphabet
“Make believe you have a favorite letter. Write the letter on a piece of paper and then randomly list words that begin with that letter. Read the words aloud. Consult the AHD, and write down other interesting words that begin with your letter. Now write a hundred-word profile of your favorite letter.”
Learn seven ways to invent words
“With no disrespect to Abraham Lincoln or Grover Cleveland or Dwight Eisenhower, ‘Barack Obama’ is, by acclamation, the most unusual name among the forty-four men elected to the American presidency. And while his name, including his middle name, Hussein, may have been an obstacle to his election, the musical rhythm of ‘Obama’ inpired writers and commentators to coin a new lexicon to describe his historical achievement.
The online magazine Slate offered up this collection of neologisms, or new words: Obamaphoria, Obamanation, Obanarama, Obamanos, Obamatopia, Obamalujah, Obamatrons, Obamascope, Obamanator, Obamalicious, Obamaloha, Oh-bama, Bamelot, Obamerika, Barackstar.” [I have also heard of Obamacare]
Fight to the death for the serial comma
“The longer the elements in a series, the more likely you will need the serial comma, even if you belong to a language club that reviles them.”
Embrace the three amigos: colon, dash, and parentheses
“The colon can be used to introduce a statement or a quotation, to signal the beginning of a long list, and to highlight a word or a phrase at the end of a sentence: like this.
Do not use the dash because you have not mastered other forms of punctuation, such as the colon or semicolon.
In general, limit the number of reader interrumptions caused by the roadblock of parentheses. Strive, instead, for a steady advance.”