kylebrittain, February 27, 2011 (view all comments by kylebrittain)
Grammar Snobs are Great Big Meanies is a decent introductory supplement for students of Standard American English grammar. The book’s casual approach makes it an ideal text for people who shudder at the thought of reading a grammar book. However, many of Ms. Casagrande’s explanations of grammar rules are oversimplified—she sometimes writes like she’s out of her element and it shows.
Ms. Casagrande writes a grammar column for a Los Angeles Times supplement. As a grammar columnist, she routinely faces challenges from the titular snobs. The book is both a response to the grammar snobs who have attacked Casagrande in the past and an instructive tool for burgeoning grammarians to defend themselves against the “big meanies” who lie in wait with red pens, ready to correct bad grammar wherever it can be found.
While the book functions better as a supplement than a main text (due to simplification of material), the prose is well written and frequently very funny. Plenty of pop-culture references pepper this easy-to-follow text; the subject matter is always engaging and approachable.
Despite the book’s flaws, I would recommend Grammar Snobs are Great Big Meanies to high school English students for use as a supplemental text as well as to adults who have learned Standard American English grammar but need a light and engaging refresher course.
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Shylah, March 1, 2008 (view all comments by Shylah)
An excellent primer for those who are intimidated by (or simply cannot grasp) traditional grammar manuals. Casagrande's humour and witticisms throughout the book make learning common grammar much easier, because it doesn't feel like such a chore. I recommend this book to anyone who struggles with dangling modifiers, misplaced semicolons, and excessive commas.
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"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Hoping to make grammar both accessible and amusing, Casagrande offers practical and entertaining lessons on common uses and unfortunate abuses of the English language. The author, a southern California newspaper columnist, memorably delineates 'who' and 'whom'; 'can' and 'may'; 'affect' and 'effect'; and provides pithy primers on the perennially problematic dark alleys of language (subjunctives, how to use punctuation marks around quoted material, possessive gerunds). In brief, cleverly titled sections, she addresses a slew of grammar and punctuation questions: 'To Boldly Blow' examines the issue of split infinitives, 'Snobbery Up With Which You Should Not Put' tackles prepositions and 'Is That a Dangler in Your Memo or Are You Just Glad to See Me?' pokes fun at dangling modifiers and the confusion they create. By also touching on e-mail and text messaging, where traditional rules are commonly ignored, Casagrande keeps the discussion current. She maintains her sass and her sense of humor throughout, at one point calling the hyphen 'a nasty, tricky, evil little mark that gets its kicks igniting arguments...the Bill Maher of punctuation.' Readers intimidated by style manuals and Lynne Truss will enjoy this populist grammar reference." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Children's Literature,
"This lively book with humorous essays is a sure winner."
"Both sassy and edifying, Casagrande's little tome will be especially useful to those in search of basic grammar instruction."
The antidote to Eats, Shoots and Leaves is an uproarious and very American word book for those who are tired of getting pulled over by the grammar police.
What do suicidal pandas, doped-up rock stars, and a naked Pamela Anderson have in common? They’re all a heck of a lot more interesting than reading about predicate nominatives and hyphens. June Casagrande knows this and has invented a whole new twist on the grammar book. Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies is a laugh-out-loud funny collection of anecdotes and essays on grammar and punctuation, as well as hilarious critiques of the self-appointed language experts.
I’m Writing This While Naked—The Oh-So Steamy Predicate Nominative
Semicolonoscopy—Colons, Semicolons, Dashes, and Other Probing Annoyances
I’ll Take "I Feel Like a Moron" for $200, Alex—When to Put Punctuation Inside Quotation Marks
Snobbery Up with Which You Should Not Put Up—Prepositions
Is That a Dangler in Your Memo or Are You Just Glad to See Me?
Hyphens—Life-Sucking, Mom-and-Apple-Pie-Hating, Mime-Loving, Nerd-Fight-Inciting Daggers of the Damned
Casagrande delivers practical and fun language lessons not found anywhere else, demystifying the subject and taking it back from the snobs. In short, it’s a grammar book people will actually want to read—just for the fun of it.
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