4 out of 4 stars
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It has been quite a while since I studied grammar in school. I don't know about you, but I remember mapping out sentences and learning the different parts of speech. Though I don't write much professionally, I thought a grammar refresher would be in order so as to make my reviews better. Thus, I picked up English Grammar: The Essential Facts by Victor Okada.
Mr. Okada is a Professor of English, Emeritus, at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona; as such, he knows the subject of grammar well, and it shows in this book. The reader is taught everything from verb tenses to absolute phrases to punctuation. He even covers common pitfalls like whether to use lie or lay and if who or whom is more appropriate.
At the end of each chapter, there are exercises for the reader to complete that solidify the content learned. In the e-book version, you can click on the numbers before each example in the exercise to discover the correct answer. It was convenient that I didn't have to flip pages to see if I was correct. All the important terms are in bold, making the reader pay extra attention. A glossary, located at the end of the book, then defines these terms further.
What appealed most to me was the chapter on sentence style. The author discusses ways to vary sentence structure, including starting or ending with dependent clauses as well as embedding phrases in the middle of the sentence. As a writer, even if it is only reviews, this was extremely helpful.
Included in the book are examples of various professional writings meant to drive home the author's points. In proving that accomplished writers alter the length of their sentences, Mr. Okada uses a passage from author Joan Didion. These examples helped greatly in my understanding of the various concepts.
Being that this is a book about grammar, one would hope it was professionally edited. Mr. Okada does not disappoint. I found only one minor formatting error, specifically a phrase not italicized when similar phrases were. There were no true grammatical issues, for which I applaud the author.
This book would be helpful to a number of groups, all of which are detailed by the author in the preface. It's meant for those that need a grammar review. It would also be helpful to any who speak English as a second language (however, they would need to be more advanced speakers to grasp the difficult concepts discussed herein). Lastly, it would work well for teachers or students. For those audiences, I see no issues and give English Grammar: The Essential Facts a perfect 4 out of 4 stars.
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