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When Bad Grammar Happens to Good People

Book Description

Ever stumble when choosing between “who” and “whom,” “affect” and “effect,” “lay” and “lie”?

Are you worried that how you speak or write is holding you back at work? Do you fear you’re making frequent conversational errors, but just aren’t sure what’s correct?

How you use language tells people a good deal about who you are, how you think, and how you communicate. Making simple errors in written and spoken English can make you seem less sophisticated, even less intelligent, than you really are. And that can affect (not effect) your relationships, your friendships, and even your career.

This comprehensive, easy-to-use reference is a program designed to help you identify and correct the most common errors in written and spoken English.

After a short and simple review of some basic principles, When Bad Grammar Happens to Good People is organized in the most useful way possible—by error type, such as “Problem Pronouns” or “Mixing up Words that Sound the Same.” You choose how to work your way through, either sequentially or in the order most relevant to you. Each unit contains tests at the end to help you reinforce what you’ve learned. Best of all, the information is presented in a clear, lively, and conversational style—this is not your eighth-grade grammar textbook!

Ann Batko is a business communications expert and former executive editor of Rand McNally & Company. She has trained numerous advertising, marketing, and publishing executives how to be effective writers and presenters.

Edward Rosenheim is the David B. and Clara E. Stern Professor Emeritus, in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Chicago, where he taught for 42 years. For 20 years, he was the editor of the prestigious journal Modern Philology

Table of Contents

  1. Title Page
  2. Copyright Page
  3. Table of Contents
  4. Dedication
  5. Acknowledgements
  6. Author’s Note
  7. Foreword
  8. How Do We Learn to Speak Correctly?
  9. Pretest
  10. Grammar Review
  11. CHAPTER 1 - Perplexing Pronouns
    1. A Lesson on Pronoun Cases
    2. Subjective and Objective Cases
    3. Objective and Possessive Cases
    4. Relative Pronouns: “Which,” “That,” and “Who/Whom”
    5. Intensive or Reflexive Pronouns—What There for and Where NOT to Put Them
  12. CHAPTER 2 - Vexing Verbs
    1. Transitive and Intransitive Verbs
    2. A Lesson on Verb Tenses
    3. Tricky Verb Tenses
    4. The Subjunctive Mood
  13. CHAPTER 3 - Ambiguous Agreements
    1. .
    2. Agreement With Compound Subjects
    3. Agreement With Indefinite Pronouns
    4. Indefinite Pronouns and Personal Pronouns
  14. CHAPTER 4 - Mangled Modifiers
    1. Adjectives vs. Adverbs
    2. Comparatives vs. Superlatives
    3. Distance/Number/Quantity Modifiers
    4. Absolute Modifiers
    5. Imprecise and Made-up Modifiers
  15. CHAPTER 5 - Problem Prepositions
    1. Prepositions Expressing Fine Shades of Meaning
    2. Unidiomatic and Superfluous Prepositions
  16. CHAPTER 6 - Confused Connections
    1. Boolcend Expressions
    2. Imprecise, Pretentious, or Needless Connectors
  17. CHAPTER 7 - Puzzling Plurals
    1. 76. Media
    2. 77.Data
    3. 78. Alumni
    4. 79. Criteria
    5. 80. Phenomena
    6. 81. Memoranda
  18. CHAPTER 8 - Mixing up Words That Sound the Same
    1. 82. Accept vs. Except
    2. 83. Advice vs. Advise
    3. 84. Affect vs. Effect
    4. 85. Amoral vs. Immoral
    5. 86. Averse vs. Adverse
    6. 87. Beside vs. Besides
    7. 88. Biannually vs. Biennially
    8. 89. Climatic vs. Climactic
    9. 90. Could of vs. Could have
    10. 91. Elude vs. Allude
    11. 92. Imminent vs. Eminent
    12. 93. Ingenious vs. Ingenuous
    13. 94. Jibe vs. Jive
    14. 95. Tack vs. Tact
    15. 96. Tortuous vs. Torturous
  19. CHAPTER 9 - Mixing up Words That Look the Same
    1. 97. Adapt vs. Adopt
    2. 98. Allusion vs. Illusion vs. Delusion
    3. 99. Assignment vs. Assignation
    4. 100. Childlike vs. Childish
    5. 101. Continual vs. Continuous
    6. 102. Creditable vs. Credible vs. Credulous
    7. 103. Incredible vs. Incredulous
    8. 104. Elegy vs. Eulogy
    9. 105. Epitaph vs. Epithet
    10. 106. Flaunt vs. Flout
    11. 107. Luxurious vs. Luxuriant
    12. 108. Morale vs. Moral
    13. 109. Periodic vs. Periodical
    14. 110. Persecute vs. Prosecute
    15. 111. Proceed vs. Precede
    16. 112. Respectful vs. Respective
    17. 113. Sensuous vs. Sensual
    18. 114. Simple vs. Simplistic
    19. 115. Uninterested vs. Disinterested
  20. CHAPTER 10 - Mixing up Words Whose Meanings Are Related
    1. 116. Annoy vs. Irritate vs. Aggravate
    2. 117. Burglary vs. Robbery
    3. 118. Can vs. May
    4. 119. Compose vs. Comprise
    5. 120. Convince vs. Persuade
    6. 121. Eager vs. Anxious
    7. 122. Explicit vs. Implicit
    8. 123. Figuratively vs. Literally vs. Virtually
    9. 124. Imply vs. Infer
    10. 125. Kind of/Sort of vs. Rather
    11. 126. Let vs. Leave
    12. 127. Like vs. As/As If
    13. 128. Likely vs. Apt vs. Liable
    14. 129. Percent vs. Percentage
    15. 130. Quote vs. Quotation
    16. 131. Semiannually vs. Semimonthly vs. Semiweekly
    17. 132. Serve vs. Service
    18. 133. Take vs. Bring
    19. 134. Use vs. Utilize
  21. Chapter 11 - Made-up Words
    1. 135. Irregardless
    2. 136. Authored
    3. 137. Critiqued
    4. 138. Gift
    5. 139. Adding “-ize”
    6. 140. Enthuse
    7. 141. Adding “-wise”
  22. CHAPTER 12 - Wasteful Words and Infelicities
    1. 142. A half a
    2. 143. And et cetera
    3. 144. Like
    4. 145. The field of
    5. 146. Needless to say
    6. 147. Time period
    7. 148. Party
  23. CHAPTER 13 - Mispronounced Words
    1. 149. Air vs. Err
    2. 150. Anyways vs. Anyway
    3. 151. A ways vs. A way
    4. 152. Cent vs. Cents
    5. 153. Libary vs. Library
    6. 154. Reconize vs. Recognize
    7. 155. Stricly vs. Strictly
    8. 156. Heighth vs. Height
    9. 157. Athaletics vs. Athletics
    10. 158. Goverment vs. Government
    11. 159. Irrevelant vs. Irrelevant
    12. 160. Temperment vs. Temperament
    13. 161. Lightening vs. Lightning
    14. 162. Mischevious vs. Mischievous
    15. 163. Grevious vs. Grievous
    16. 164. Histry vs. History
    17. 165. Nucular vs. Nuclear
    18. 166. Perscription vs. Prescription
    19. 167. Prespiration vs. Perspiration
    20. 168. Disasterous vs. Disastrous
    21. 169. Accidently vs. Accidentally
    22. 170. Representive vs. Representative
    23. 171. Preform vs. Perform
    24. 172. Asterik vs. Asterisk
    25. 173. Artic vs. Arctic
    26. 174. Anartica vs. Antarctica
    27. 175. Expresso vs. Espresso
  24. Review Tests
  25. About the Author and Editor