The best grammar books

2 authors have picked their favorite books about grammar and why they recommend each book.

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I Yam a Donkey!

By Cece Bell,

Book cover of I Yam a Donkey!

When I hear bad grammar, I cringe. So this book was cringeworthy, but because it was done in a silly way to show bad grammar and how to correct it, it was very clever. A yam tries to get a donkey with poor grammar to speak correctly. When his vegetable friends butt in to see what the fight is about, the donkey has the last word.


Who am I?

I love a good pun and have written a joke book all about food called Lettuce Laugh. I think food is relatable to kids and they can put themselves in the food’s shoes and learn about friendship and being true to themselves through talking food characters. Humor plays a big part in the books I recommended, but it’s a great way to deliver a lasting message. Another book I wrote is also about food - Jalapeño Bagels, but unlike Bagel In Love, these bagels don’t talk! I love Bagel In Love so much I had a dress made with some of the characters embroidered on it.


I wrote...

Bagel in Love

By Natasha Wing, Helen Dardik (illustrator),

Book cover of Bagel in Love

What is my book about?

Bagel loved to dance. It made him happier than a birthday cake! And more than anything, he wants a partner who will spin and swirl, tap and twirl with him in the dance contest. But Pretzel sniffs that he doesnt cut the mustard, Croissant thinks his moves are stale, and Doughnuts eyes just glaze over. Can a cute cupcake save the day for our would-be Fred Éclair? Witty and pun-filled, this picture book really takes the cake.

Woe Is I

By Patricia T. O'Conner,

Book cover of Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English

No writer’s library is complete without a shelf (that’s right – shelf) dedicated to grammar books. Breaking the rules is allowed, but only by design and for a reason, not due to ignorance. This is my favorite grammar book because it’s witty. Medicine tastes better with a few drops of honey. The important rules are explained with great examples. Learn how to put verbs in their place, find help for pronoun anxiety, and experience the joy of punctuation. What could be more fun than that?!


Who am I?

I’m a lawyer. One thing effective trial attorneys learn to do is become “pretend experts” in any area necessary for a case. It might be orthopedic medicine, commercial building design, auto accident reconstruction, or a thousand other subjects. In 1996, when I started writing my first novel, The List, I decided to become a “pretend expert” in the field of story-telling. Twenty books later, I’ve worked hard to make the transition to actual expert, someone who’s studied the craft of writing so I can create a story with professionalism and skill. These books aren’t the only ones I’ve read on this topic, but they’re some of the best.


I wrote...

Relative Justice

By Robert Whitlow,

Book cover of Relative Justice

What is my book about?

High-stakes litigation is way outside attorney David Cobb’s comfort zone. He’d rather eat southern comfort food at a restaurant in Wilmington, NC, than file a lawsuit. That changes when he agrees to help Zeke Caldwell, a family friend who’s patented one of his home remedies, and now believes it’s been stolen by a big pharmaceutical company. David’s sister-in-law Katelyn Cobb has the experience gained from working with a big Washington, DC, law firm. But working with her brother-in-law? There’s no law school class on that subject. Together, they seek justice for Zeke in a case that becomes much more sinister than a claim of patent piracy

The Best Punctuation Book, Period

By June Casagrande,

Book cover of The Best Punctuation Book, Period: A Comprehensive Guide for Every Writer, Editor, Student, and Businessperson

This was one of the first books I bought when I started my proofreading career. It has come in handy so many times and still does as a refresher. It not only shares the grammar or punctuation rules for one style, but has actual comparison lists for each style out there. Want a good reminder about the rules that guide the best writing? This is one of the best books to have on your library shelf, period.

Who am I?

I’ve been a writer since I was fourteen (possibly before that) and I’ve been an official freelance proofreader/copyeditor since 2019. I’ve published over thirty books and proofread or copyedited over sixty-two manuscripts as of this writing. I’ve garnered enough experience in both fields to, at least, be considered.


I wrote...

Make Your Writing Zing With Proofreading A Through Z!: Tips for Writers, Authors, and Publishers Alike

By John Irvin,

Book cover of Make Your Writing Zing With Proofreading A Through Z!: Tips for Writers, Authors, and Publishers Alike

What is my book about?

Do you love words and writing them down? Are you afraid your book isn’t going to quite cut it because you just know there are some typos in there? Are you unsure about a specific spelling or punctuation rule? This book gives fun little tips that could help any author or book publisher who cares about their writing!

Rápido, Rápido

By Lourdes Miquel López, Neus Sans,

Book cover of Rápido, Rápido

This is a classic whole year (or semester) method to learn Spanish. I recommend it both for teachers and students since it is so complete and so well structured, that it can be well profited from both sides. 

The method is designed to fast forward and the new versions have been improved with the help of teachers who already used it, which is so interesting. It’s well organized: 18 units divided in 5 points each (goals; texts-oral and written; grammar; activities for grammar and lexic practice; and a final task to be ideally prepared in group: a script for a radio show).

The pack is completed with audios that show the differences between Spanish language all over the world.


Who am I?

I’m a writer and a Spanish teacher. Creative and a little crazy. I love teaching people who arrive in my city (Madrid) to live for a while. I love writing fiction, specially novels, but also poetry and little stories. Sometimes I mix both skills and create texts as the one below. I dream about winning the lottery but I never buy tickets, and I also love to sing with my guitar when I’m alone. Pleased to meet you.


I wrote...

100 Entertaining Short Stories to Practice Your Spanish in Present Tense

By Patricia Lorente,

Book cover of 100 Entertaining Short Stories to Practice Your Spanish in Present Tense

What is my book about?

This is a book to learn Spanish language. To read little silly stories. To learn vocabulary having fun. To fix words in your mind. To practice structure and be more confident with present tenses before starting with the past. To feel ready to keep learning.

On my journey as a teacher I detected a lack of texts in present tense with students of basic levels. It’s not common to just talk or write in simple present, but it’s not impossible. A hundred short texts are enough to have a wide vocabulary review on different topics, with the help of highlighted key words and a preface with grammar, basic verbs, and essential words to be as fluent as you can be, being a beginner. 

The Elements of Style

By William Strunk, E.B. White,

Book cover of The Elements of Style

If you ever took a college English composition class, chances are you read this book. Why did you have to read it? Because it’s that good. Some things change, but crisp, clear composition remains relevant. “Omit needless words.” “Write in active voice.” Pithy statements like these still echo in the chambers of the minds of thousands of writers. Heed those voices! 


Who am I?

I’m a lawyer. One thing effective trial attorneys learn to do is become “pretend experts” in any area necessary for a case. It might be orthopedic medicine, commercial building design, auto accident reconstruction, or a thousand other subjects. In 1996, when I started writing my first novel, The List, I decided to become a “pretend expert” in the field of story-telling. Twenty books later, I’ve worked hard to make the transition to actual expert, someone who’s studied the craft of writing so I can create a story with professionalism and skill. These books aren’t the only ones I’ve read on this topic, but they’re some of the best.


I wrote...

Relative Justice

By Robert Whitlow,

Book cover of Relative Justice

What is my book about?

High-stakes litigation is way outside attorney David Cobb’s comfort zone. He’d rather eat southern comfort food at a restaurant in Wilmington, NC, than file a lawsuit. That changes when he agrees to help Zeke Caldwell, a family friend who’s patented one of his home remedies, and now believes it’s been stolen by a big pharmaceutical company. David’s sister-in-law Katelyn Cobb has the experience gained from working with a big Washington, DC, law firm. But working with her brother-in-law? There’s no law school class on that subject. Together, they seek justice for Zeke in a case that becomes much more sinister than a claim of patent piracy

Water for Elephants

By Sara Gruen,

Book cover of Water for Elephants

When I browse my bookshelves for recommendations, this one always stands out as one with a memorable story but also for the author’s gorgeous grammar.

In 1932 during the Great Depression, Jacob Jankowski hits a rough patch. Not yet finished with veterinary school, he’s suddenly orphaned and penniless. When he jumps on a train, Jacob is catapulted into a foreign world of misfits and freaks. The traveling circus is filled with beauties, brutal taskmasters, and animals that need his help. In spite of odds conspiring against him, Jacob discovers love in this unlikely time and place. Will he do what it takes to hold onto it?


Who am I?

My first driving research passion was Dracula! What aspects of decomposition birthed stories of the undead? How did the Transylvanian Impaler become the romantic blood-sucking Hollywood icon? A fascination with time travel and geocaching worked their way into my Haylee series, as did the California Gold Rush, abandoned ships in San Francisco harbor, downtown streets with quicksand-like mud, and the great fires when most buildings were constructed of wood. A minor Chinese character in the Haylee books has become a ghost riding on my shoulder. He's been driving my current work in progress, a Donner Summit historical novel centered around Chinese railroad workers.


I wrote...

Phases of Gage: After the Accident Years

By Lisa Redfern,

Book cover of Phases of Gage: After the Accident Years

What is my book about?

In 1848, an accidental explosion shoots a thirteen-pound iron rod through the head of a twenty-five-year-old construction foreman. Hurled to the ground, Phineas Gage convulses but remains conscious. He says he doesn’t feel pain. 

One of the ‘great’ medical curiosities of all time, Phineas’s injury may have been the first case to link brain studies with human personality. Many of our scientific assumptions and pop culture folklore are based on a faulty study written, years after his death, by the doctor who treated him. This work of fiction incorporates the known facts of this case (at the time of writing) and brings contemporary emotional qualities to the people who experienced a family tragedy and learned to live with a traumatic brain injury.

Mathematical Writing

By Franco Vivaldi,

Book cover of Mathematical Writing

Mathematics requires accurate calculation, and students sometimes think that getting the right answer is enough. But mathematics is also about valid logical arguments, and the demand for clear communication increases through an undergraduate degree. Students, therefore, need to learn to write professionally, with attention to general issues like good grammar, and mathematics-specific issues like accuracy in notation, precision in logical language, and structure in extended arguments. Vivaldi’s book has a great many examples and exercises, and students could benefit from studying it systematically or from dipping into it occasionally and reflecting on small ways to improve.


Who am I?

I am a Reader in the Mathematics Education Centre at Loughborough University in the UK. I have always loved mathematics and, when I became a PhD student and started teaching, I realized that how people think about mathematics is fascinating too. I am particularly interested in demystifying the transition to proof-based undergraduate mathematics. I believe that much of effective learning is not about inherent genius but about understanding how theoretical mathematics works and what research tells us about good study strategies. That is what these books, collectively, are about.


I wrote...

How to Study as a Mathematics Major

By Lara Alcock,

Book cover of How to Study as a Mathematics Major

What is my book about?

My book is about the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in undergraduate mathematics. I wrote it because research in mathematics education has revealed a lot about what students struggle with when mathematics shifts in focus from calculations to definitions, theorems and proofs. But the information was all in articles for other researchers – no-one had produced a version suitable for students. I thought that someone should, because mathematics students are intelligent and perfectly capable of understanding the relevant ideas. My book has two parts: the first is about how mathematics changes at the transition to proof, and the second is about independent study skills for mathematics. How to Study as a Mathematics Major is the North American version – the equivalent for UK-like systems is How to Study for a Mathematics Degree.

Lola Lago, Detective

By Lourdes Miquel López, Neus Sans,

Book cover of Lola Lago, Detective: Lejos de Casa

I guess I’s not a coincidence that this series of fiction books are written by the same writers as the previous one, since both of them have the same high quality in their content and are grammatically so well focused. 

The protagonist is Lola Lago, a detective who will solve a case per book.

The books range from level A1 to level B1 and come with an audiobook. The length of the stores is perfect (45-60 pages) and the format light enough to feel that you can do it. Every one of them is well focused on its level, and you can find, at the end, lovely explanation notes and light and fun comprehension exercises.


Who am I?

I’m a writer and a Spanish teacher. Creative and a little crazy. I love teaching people who arrive in my city (Madrid) to live for a while. I love writing fiction, specially novels, but also poetry and little stories. Sometimes I mix both skills and create texts as the one below. I dream about winning the lottery but I never buy tickets, and I also love to sing with my guitar when I’m alone. Pleased to meet you.


I wrote...

100 Entertaining Short Stories to Practice Your Spanish in Present Tense

By Patricia Lorente,

Book cover of 100 Entertaining Short Stories to Practice Your Spanish in Present Tense

What is my book about?

This is a book to learn Spanish language. To read little silly stories. To learn vocabulary having fun. To fix words in your mind. To practice structure and be more confident with present tenses before starting with the past. To feel ready to keep learning.

On my journey as a teacher I detected a lack of texts in present tense with students of basic levels. It’s not common to just talk or write in simple present, but it’s not impossible. A hundred short texts are enough to have a wide vocabulary review on different topics, with the help of highlighted key words and a preface with grammar, basic verbs, and essential words to be as fluent as you can be, being a beginner. 

Español Correcto para Dummies

By Fernando Ávila,

Book cover of Español Correcto para Dummies

It says it’s “for dummies, but the truth is, this book is for people with a high level of Spanish who want to complete their learning. 

The book is an extensive review of the Spanish grammar, all explained in Spanish, with more than 400 pages. I see it as a fun and entertaining encyclopedia of this language, because you can find almost every aspect of Spanish grammar in it. If you are a beginner, you can also use it as a reference book which can accompany you through the journey of learning.


Who am I?

I’m a writer and a Spanish teacher. Creative and a little crazy. I love teaching people who arrive in my city (Madrid) to live for a while. I love writing fiction, specially novels, but also poetry and little stories. Sometimes I mix both skills and create texts as the one below. I dream about winning the lottery but I never buy tickets, and I also love to sing with my guitar when I’m alone. Pleased to meet you.


I wrote...

100 Entertaining Short Stories to Practice Your Spanish in Present Tense

By Patricia Lorente,

Book cover of 100 Entertaining Short Stories to Practice Your Spanish in Present Tense

What is my book about?

This is a book to learn Spanish language. To read little silly stories. To learn vocabulary having fun. To fix words in your mind. To practice structure and be more confident with present tenses before starting with the past. To feel ready to keep learning.

On my journey as a teacher I detected a lack of texts in present tense with students of basic levels. It’s not common to just talk or write in simple present, but it’s not impossible. A hundred short texts are enough to have a wide vocabulary review on different topics, with the help of highlighted key words and a preface with grammar, basic verbs, and essential words to be as fluent as you can be, being a beginner. 

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