Books Writers Should Read—4. There, Their, They’re: A No-Tears Guide To Grammar From The Word Nerd 2nd Edition by Annette Lyon

Though Google can answer a lot of grammar questions, every writer needs to study and learn from a good grammar book. The guide I used, There, Their, They’re, is an excellent choice because it covers both general grammar rules as well as some of the most confusing grammar questions (Who or whom? Lie or lay?) in a way that actually makes sense. I even learned some new things from this book that I have started to implement in my own writing. Annette Lyon explains grammar so it makes sense and isn’t completely boring.

grammar and editing

  • “I’ve always maintained that knowing how to use punctuation well can make your writing go from mediocre to amazing. . . . [punctuation marks] can put across underlying implications that would be impossible to create in the hands of a writer who doesn’t know how to wield them.”
  • “You want writing to be invisible and your ideas to take center stage. Incorrect punctuation in these cases makes the writing stick out like a sore thumb.”
  • “Let someone else read over your revised work to catch anything you missed—because you will. No writer can see the entire forest for the trees, because the writer planted the forest. We’re so enmeshed in our work that there’s no way to see it entirely objectively.”
  • “At some point, grammarians and teachers decided that Latin, a dead language, should be our guide for determining grammar rules. Why using another language to prescribe English grammar ever made sense to anyone, I’ll never know.”
  • “Stories and conflict are most exiting when your characters are the ones who act, so cut the passive voice when possible.”
  • “Bottom line: be sure you know what the rules are for the audience you are writing to.”

Keep an eye out for my post tomorrow, where I will share a book about everything you need to know about self-publishing a novel.

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