Someday, I’ll write gooder

I’ve been writing for as long as I could hold a crayon. So you’d think by now, especially since I announced to everyone at the age of three that I’d grow up to write books, I’d have an unfailing command of grammar and mechanics. I have a very good command of grammar and mechanics, but it is by no means unfailing. To compensate, I have a small stack of grammar and mechanics books that I refer to often. The language in them is clean and beautiful, and I wonder if I will ever absorb enough to write as beautifully clean someday. Maybe not. But it’s a nice goal anyway.

Here they are from top to bottom:

Lunne Truss’s Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation

Strunk & White & Kalman’s The Illustrated Elements of Style (I also have a regular un-illustrated one, but this one’s so much more pretty!)

The University of Chicago Press The Chicago Manual of Style 14th Edition (this is the mac-daddy of copyediting guides.)

Karen Elizabeth Gordon’s The Deluxe Transitive Vampire: The Ultimate Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed

(Hmm, there are a lot of red books in this collection. Were they unconscious or purposeful choices?)

So… am I missing any good ones?

14 thoughts on “Someday, I’ll write gooder

  1. Tracey says:

    @linguschtick You’re not raining on my parade. I appreciate your comment. It’s true that Strunk & White sometimes don’t take their own advice, but they’re still a good source. Plus the illustrated one is seriously adorable.

    @Cheryl you should check out Transitive Vampire. It’s fun. I think there are other versions as well.

  2. Tracey says:

    I just read the review of Strunk & White. Ouch. The author of that article has his own grammar book that you can get for $230! I don’t think so.

  3. linguischtick says:

    That’s a complete descriptive grammar of English. It covers EVERY aspect of syntax and morphology. And it’s probably the best one out there, being that it’s written by qualified linguists who have an education in the matter, as opposed to S&W which is written by utter amateurs. However, the average person doesn’t need a tome that size. And you’re probably looking for writing advice as opposed to grammatical analysis. I still think it’s strange you want to continue using a book with known errors as a reference guide, but to each her own.

  4. Tracey says:

    Well, when I said I was going to continue using it, I hadn’t read the article yet. It’s a good thing I have the Kalman version. At least I can still admire the pictures.

  5. debra elramey (@elramey) says:

    I’ve always used The Elements of Style but not the illustrated edition. Do you think it would hold the interest of high school students better than the first edition?
    What a clever title, “Someday I’ll write gooder!”

    Where is your ideal spot to write? Does your best writing require privacy? Or do you cheerfully come out of your hobbit hole every now and then?

  6. Tracey says:

    Uvi and Debra, check out the link to the review of S&W in linguischtick’s comments above. It may make you reconsider using Elements.

    I do require privacy to write. I generally banish the kids and hubby from my office, but occasionally, things come to me in the middle of busy days and I have no choice to write where I am. I rarely choose to write in public, like at the library, or a coffee house, or the park. That only happens when I need a change of scenery to shake something loose from my head.

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