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Carolyn Howard-Johnson reviews Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies by June Casagrande


Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies: A Guide to Language for Fun & Spite

by June Casagrande

Penguin Books 2006


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A Desk Companion of Note for Everyone Who Writes

Grammar Columnist Gets Real About What Counts and What Doesn't


If our teachers, from first grade on to infinity had fostered a sense of fun about grammar, we all might like it better. From the outset, we know that June Casagrande, an entertaining grammar columnist, does just that. 


We have the title Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies. Then the subtitle, A Guide to Language for Fun and Spite. Don't stop there. The introduction is called "Grammar Snobs Make Good Prison Brides." Mmmm. Wonder what's in store?  Could this book actually be useful for people who, know...write!


Turns out, it can. A tad costly at $14.00 (where were the great minds at Penguin Books thinking?), I say this little volume is well worth it. (Maybe that's what they were thinking.) Well researched (Casagrande credits such stalwarts as Oxford English Grammar, the Associated Press Stylebook, the Chicago Manual of Style (and I've read her columns in the Glendale News-Press where she nods to other grammar greats like Strunk), she nevertheless manages to balance her advice to anyone putting his best grammar foot forward.


Find in it her comments on the big fuss over split infinitives, shared possessives, and my favorites the much hated and misused verbs "to lie" and "to lay." No, I'm not going to tell you what she has to say about them. Where would the fun be in that? Fork over the fourteen dollars. You'll be glad you did.



(Carolyn Howard-Johnson is an instructor for UCLA's Writers' Program. She is the author of two award-winning books, THIS IS THE PLACE and HARKENING. Her how-to book for writers, THE FRUGAL BOOK PROMOTER: HOW TO DO WHAT YOUR PUBLISHER WON'T, is the winner of USA Book News' Best Professional Book of 2004 and the Irwin Award. Her most recent book is TRACINGS, a chapbook of poetry available at Amazon and )




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