Book: Grammar Basics For Dummies
Author: Geraldine Woods
Edition: Mini Edition
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Alright, so for this week’s wonderful book review we have the ever exciting Grammar Basics For Dummies, a dreadful subject back from everyone’s childhood nightmares…or at least mine. As a disclaimer, I was not fond of grammar in school. I did, however, try to keep an open mind when reading this.
I originally started reading this book in order to brush up on my grammatical skills, only to find it covers just the most utterly basic lessons (I suppose next time I should probably pay attention when it blatantly states “Grammar Basics” in the title.) No matter, I would just continue reading it, assuming I would find a book that is decent for those who are either new to the English language or who never paid attention in school (sorry Mrs. Starett). I was wrong. While it is not quite terrible, and, in fact, has some parts that are decent, there were other sections that were downright miserable, even for a book on grammar. I tried to keep an open mind, but my issues with it started when I noticed that the author’s creativity in what she used for sample sentences are not only painfully lacking (my brain cells are still crying in agony), but there were a couple of sentences like this gem: “Justin will judge the beauty contest only if his ex-girlfriend competes.” I suppose nothing teaches grammar quite so well as using a creepy stalker illustration. But I digress. I then noticed later in the same chapter one of paragraphs explaining objective complements was lacking in its explanation. I continued reading, finding the next chapter to be pretty decent, aside from the sample sentences. I hoped that maybe I was wrong about the book, that it just had a rocky start, until the next chapter. It started off well, until once again, the sample sentences, which were not only poorly written in a grammatical sense, but there was one that had such an extremely poor choice in wording for the example she was trying to make, that it was difficult to decipher what she was talking about. I know some of this may sound like nitpicking, and normally I could overlook something like this, but this being a book on grammar, I would think it important to use good, concise sentences that leave no room for doubt as to what you are trying to prove.
Overall, I give this book 2 pages. Is it helpful? Yes. Are there better ways of learning grammar? Heck yes. While this book may work in a pinch, and is not so bad if you have a good understanding of basic grammar and just want to brush up, for those who are new and/or just learning this, it is probably going to be more confusing than anything. Much of what needs to be a strong point: good, well-written sentences that back up what the author is trying to explain are sorely lacking, and I find this inexcusable for a book that is trying to teach someone how to read, write and identify those exact things.