THE LITERARY MEERKAT: Howard Denson

grammar grumbles: forensic findings (formerly 'The Wrong Stuff')

Grammar Grumbles: Forensic Findings
 
GRAMMAR GRUMBLES: FORENSIC FINDINGS is available for purchase on Amazon.com and Barnes & Nobel's website.
 
“It’s Strunk and White’s Elements of Style mixed with the humor of the Comedy Channel.” The author appreciates the compliment, but also acknowledges inspiration from the Golden Age of Radio (Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Red Skelton), the original "Mad" comic book, the American scribbling gods of humor (James Thurber, Robert Benchley, Dorothy Parker), their counterparts in the U.K. (Punch mag, Alan Coren, the Pythons), and even serious writers and grammarians.

Grammar Grumbles (50,000 words, nonfiction) helps us to get past the gory Grammar Corpses we find in newspapers, magazines, and respected websites. It gives us armor amid the continuous struggle between the Armies of Prescriptive and Descriptive Grammarians. (Earlier editions were titled The Wrong Stuff.)

We all make mistakes in our writing, including author Howard Denson. Errors may be due to the pressures of deadlines, inattention, or simply our own ignorance about word usage. Errors also creep into our writing when “helpful” editors inadvertently slip up as they “fix” a problem or when an auto-correct program has made us look silly.

Denson collects interesting Grammar Corpses and analyzes each finding, as he tries to determine what should have been written and what went wrong.

It devotes chapters to "How to Read 
Grammar Grumbles," "Everyone Makes Mistakes," "The Dog That Didn’t Bark in the Night," "Does Anyone Check Copy Anymore?", "Some Words Creep into Usage on Cat’s Feet," " Accentuate the Positive and Avoid the Negative," "A Matter of Theology, Anatomy, and Points of Grammar," "School Marms Laid down the Law," "Did the Good Ole Daze Ever Really Exist?", "We Don’t Need No Stinking Copy Editors!", "Audiences Don’t Fancy Certain ‘Fancy’ Words," "Test Your Knowledge of Grammar and Style," "What the Devil is a PLAYP-en?". "Inverted Sentences and Wordy Framing Devices," "Shooting Fish in a Barrel," "A Last Word," "When You Find a Grammar Corpse," "What Insights Should You Have Gained?", "Appendix: Frank Green’s Rules for Proofreading." The chapter, “Bring ‘Em Back Alive,” is designed for aspiring novelists who need to rid their manuscripts of the “deadly –ing openings.” The chapter, "A Whole Effing Chapter on Cursing," explores when foul language is, and is not, useful.

Howard Denson has been a reporter, copy editor, sports writer for Southern newspapers and taught college-level English composition for several decades at what is now Florida State College in Jacksonville.
 
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