Do you want to improve your grammar skills?
There’s nothing better you can do than browsing through some of the best grammar books written for writers.
Believe it or not, but good grammar can open doors of opportunity for you. Hiring managers, CEOs, publishers, and especially editors won’t hire anyone who cannot demonstrate solid language skills.
In fact, Grammarly (which I use all the time) analyzed grammar in LinkedIn profiles of 100 native English speakers.
The ones who made lots of grammar mistakes failed to achieve director status, received fewer promotions, and got stuck in the same positions for longer. Being deficient in grammar makes you lose your credibility, and appear as someone who lacks consistency and conscientiousness.
But one of the best things you can do to improve your writing and boost your career is studying with the top grammar books.
Here’s a list of eight must-read grammar books:
1. The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need: A One-Stop Source for Every Writing Assignment
This is the most popular grammar book because it’s clear and concise. It’s only 193 pages long but it contains a wealth of knowledge and will surely improve your writing skills.
In it, you’ll find explanations of all the basic concepts including parts of speech, elements of a sentence, correct punctuation, and the use of language. The chapters are filled with dozens of useful examples which makes this resource user-friendly.
And the best part is that it contains extra chapters that’ll help you deal with specific writing assignments such as essays, narratives, reviews, and research papers.
Length: 193 pages
2. Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing (Quick & Dirty Tips)
Mignon Fogarty has been running the popular blog and podcast “Grammar Girl” for years. This book is a condensation of her vast knowledge of the English language, and a great resource for all aspiring writers.
If you’re confused about the difference between “affect” and “effect”, “although” and “while” or dealing with comma splices and misplaced modifiers, this book is for you.
The great thing about it is that it’s a short title to finish in less than a week. It also contains useful memory tricks that will enable you to recall grammar rules more easily.
Length: 240 pages
“Grammar is a piano I play by ear.” – Joan Didion
3. Write Right!: A Desktop Digest of Punctuation, Grammar, and Style
This is a hugely popular book with over 500,000 copies sold worldwide since publication. It’s not only about grammar but also about improving communication in the modern age.
As a copywriter, blogger, office worker, editor, or novelist, you need to learn a few rules that will make your prose crispy and easy to understand. Write Right contains lots of tips, funny language-related illustrations, and clever quotations that illustrate the key points.
It also comes with a glossary of all the terms you need to understand (like paralepsis, bi-capitalization, or negative-positive restatement). You know, the stuff you use every day.
Length: 224 pages
4. The Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English
This book is a response to lengthy, overstuffed grammar manuals often produced by major educational institutions. Learning the proper use of language doesn’t have to be torture. In fact, it can be quite fun and this book proves it.
It contains 50 quick chapters, 4 to 5 pages long that discuss language conversationally.
It will teach you how to appreciate even the smallest difference (for example, between “a” and “the”), expand your vocabulary, and get you familiar with quotation marks, and exclamation points. In short, it’s perfect if you need some intense grammar practice.
Length: 304 pages
“A man’s grammar, like Caesar’s wife, should not only be pure, but above suspicion of impurity.” – Edgar Allan Poe
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5. The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation: An Easy-to-Use Guide with Clear Rules, Examples, and Quizzes
If you want to buy a book that actually contains tests and quizzes, this is probably the best option.
Sometimes it’s hard to retain knowledge without spaced repetition and actual practice of correct grammar. This book changes this as it contains many dotted-line sections where you can test your skills.
It also has a large section devoted to homonyms (like “your” and “you’re”). That’s helpful because most spell checkers don’t pick them up which may lead to grave mistakes.
Length: 224 pages
6. The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th Edition
This is a legendary title that will allow you to master English grammar like nothing else. It’s a thick 1000-page-long brick that has been serving professional writers, editors, and publishers for decades.
The 16th edition contains updated information about electronic communications including web-based content and ebooks. There’s also a huge glossary of terms related to the publishing world as well as the description of the copy production workflow.
This title is clearly for writers who take their craft seriously. It’s the most comprehensive writing resource on this planet.
Length: 1026 pages
7. The Copyeditor’s Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications
If you’re working as an editor, staff writer, author, content manager, marketer, or deal with corporate communications, this is a great resource for you.
This book fills a huge void in the market because there are tons of writing and grammar books, but there are hardly any titles related to editing.
Inside, you’ll find huge amounts of information related to grammar, punctuation, spelling, and more. The concepts are supplemented by vivid, memorable examples.
Length: 576 pages
“The greater part of the world’s troubles are due to questions of grammar.” – Michel de Montaigne
8. Perfect English Grammar: The Indispensable Guide to Excellent Writing and Speaking
Written by Grant Barett, an expert linguist, this title serves as a concise book for the modern communicator. It deals not only with the written word but with effective speaking skills as well.
Inside you’ll find clever examples that’ll help you remember the major grammar rules, as well as composition guidelines.
The book is laid out in a logical manner which allows you to find answers within a couple of seconds. It’s great to have it close at hand when you’re working on an important writing assignment.
If you’re planning for a long and fruitful career in the writing business, you should definitely invest in one of the books from the list above.
Grammar may not be an essential component of a great piece of writing. In fact, sometimes it’s good to purposefully bend the established rules and create something unconventional. But to break the rules, you first need to know them.
I hope that the titles included in this quick review will prove useful. Good luck on your writing journey!