Style Guru

Hand writingChanneling Pamela Yagle

Readers might wonder if the Style Guru is a grammar curmudgeon. Every week she vents about incorrect use of one thing or another. Here’s why: The Style Guru agrees with Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich, who recently wrote that grammar causes must be waged before inaccuracies become so commonplace in everyday language that no one remembers how to write and speak correctly. The next thing you know, we’ll revert back to dragging our knuckles and grunting while writing incomplete sentences on our stone tablets.

If you’d like to stay ahead of the other cave dwellers or simply impress friends and associates with your superior grammar, style and punctuation skills, make a habit of reading The New York Times “After Deadline” grammar blog. You might also want to check out the Society of Professional Journalists’ “Journalist’s Toolbox,” which contains a plethora of useful links. Other excellent resources include:

  • “The Elements of Style” – This is the most widely read and used English style manual in the United States. It includes a number of specific rules, dozens of commonly misused words and many suggestions for improving your style.
  • “The Associated Press Stylebook” – Contains more than 5,000 entries on matters of grammar, style, spelling, punctuation and usage.
  • “When Words Collide:  A Media Writer’s Guide to Grammar and Style” – This straightforward resource provides clear, concise explanations and examples, and quick answers to grammar and usage questions.
  • “The Chicago Manual of Style” – Among U.S. book publishers, this is the mostly widely used guide to style, editing and design.
  • “The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language” – In addition to words and their definitions, this book contains a section on usage and style. Don’t underestimate the power of a good dictionary!

Thanks to my old J-school professor, Pamela Yagle, for the inspiration.

About Dawn

Dawn is the senior editor at The Simons Group. As a grammar queen, she'd rather lose her wallet than misplace an apostrophe. Fellow copy ninjas unite -- you have an ally.

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