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on 21 October 2008
I bought I Before E and I Used to Know That earlier in the year as I need to brush up spelling, general knowledge etc as my godchildren keep asking me awkward homework questions!!!! I had an email from Amazon recommending this book so for a fiver I thought why not!
Very interesting read, I have to say I opened it with a great deal of fear as I always thought Grammar was a bit of a bore - but this book was both funny and informative - that has to be a first when it comes to Grammar :)
Broken down into basic chapters such as spellings and confusables, sentence structure, punctuation, speech and my own personal favourite odds and sods I now feel I know what I am talking about - hopefully my godchildren will now think I am genius!
This is a lovely book - a very nice Xmas gift I would have thought!
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on 25 January 2012
My grammer is awful, as you'll see from my written review. I'm not sure if it is because I didn't learn it well or if I just wasn't taught it well. I struggled a lot at university, my essays didn't read well, were difficult to follow, and I was frustrated because I felt as though I wasn't able to communicate my thoughts at a higher level. My dissertation was so poorly written that I was considering hiring a copy editor to go through it.

I bought this book some time ago and it has been sitting on my bookshelf all this time. I mean who has the time to learn about grammar eh? But I'm glad I got around to reading it. I now own several books on grammar but this one is my favourite. Mainly because it was the only one I could actually read through without my eyes glazing over.

What I really liked about this book was that it wasn't prescriptive and 'dry'. It was fun and educational. I particularly liked the way the author demonstrated poor grammar in a humourous way, making the points they were getting across more memorable. I'll admit, not all of it has sunken in after reading it in one pass, but it was still an entertaining read all the same. I am sure it will take much more effort and discipline before I start writing at a level where I will begin to explicitly understand the grammar that I am using. But hey, it's a good start.

I'm not giving it five stars because while some of the jokes were laugh out loud funny, some of them were lost on me, to the point where I wasn't able to discern whether or not it was a joke or a serious point. Sometimes it left me wondering - "hang on a minute, is this incorrect? If so then why is it incorrect? Is it a joke? Or is it incorrect? I'm confused". But I also found that this little problem only encouraged me to read more intently, like playing the grammar detective trying to figure out how and where the crime was committed.

But overall this grammar book is a great book to read and keep, and perhaps after further reading I am likely to 'get' more of it. The book has all the important subjects in it, presented in an engaging and witty manner. A must have for people like me, who feel that as though their education is lacking this important knowledge and information, but find ordinary books on grammar dull and tedious.

Ps. I was feeling self conscious so I went back and edited this entire review.
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on 16 June 2010
Yes it does and can. If we write and speak English correctly we can more easily say exactly what we want to say and ensure that the person to whom we are talking or writing will understand us. This is an easy book to read. It makes grammar light work and is an ideal way to help young people understand the beauty and precision of the English language. Don't read all at once. Instead read a couple of items at a time! Grandparents should give this book to the grandchildren.
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on 15 May 2009
It is deeply unfashionable to care about the proper use of language and grammar these days. Wince at "between you and I", get annoyed by "me and my friends", question a misplaced and misleading apostrophe and you will probably be dubbed an old fogey or, worse, an "elitist". You can expect a solemn lecture about how language is always changing, and how usage is what counts and sets the standards.

Well yes, language is always changing, and ultimately usage does set the standard, but (unless you are a politician or someone else with an agenda of their own) the purpose of language is to communicate, and not just facts. How we use it also communicates attitudes, how we see other people, and how we want to relate to them. Correct grammar does these things - sloppy usage does not, or at least reduces language's effectiveness.

For that reason this book should be required reading for journalists, broadcasters, and anyone else who supposedly communicates for a living. It is concise, logical, informative, and even humorous. It explains why we use, or should use, words in a certain way, and is fair enough to point out those forms that came about for academic reasons and can safely be forgotten. I wish it had been around when I was studying English at school!

And (showing my age again?) I really appreciate the fact that it is, despite the low price, a hardback.
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on 3 March 2009
A book that I have been waiting for during most of my adult life. I can use it to settle quite a few arguments!
It still amazes me how people, especially in the spoken media, still get it wrong when using pronouns!
A wonderful source for the grammatical perfectionists among us (or should that be "amongst us"?)
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on 12 December 2008
The title sold me! I get so annoyed at so called intelligent people always using 'you and I' and never 'you and me'. This book set this matter straight as well as correcting many other blatant grammatical errors that people make. The book dealt with the subject with humour and I loved it.
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on 5 April 2010
Whether you like this book and find it usefull very much depends on when you were at school. If you were at school in, broadly speaking, the 60's or later they you may well find it worth buying. But if you were at school in the 50's before "they" started playing around with the curriculum and stopped teaching English Grammar, you will perhaps wonder why you spent your money on the book. Nevertheless, it's not a bad buy, and if, as did I, you find you have drifted into some bad habits then perhaps this book may jolt you out of your complacency.
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on 11 April 2009
This is a great book if you are interested in grammar. If you need to know about grammar but find all the other books on the subject stuffy then this is the one to buy. The lighthearted approach makes you realise that grammar is there to help you convey your written points clearly, leaving no room for confusion to arise. It's a lovely book too, the cover is very tactile! One minor issue is that there isn't an index at the back which would have been mighty useful.
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on 3 April 2009
This is an absolutely fascinating book and should be required reading for all those students and scholars whose grasp of English grammar is woefully inadequate. Luckily, I had a stern and efficient English teacher and in reading this book, I was taken back over fifty years to the classroom where he made grammar fun.
The book explains various aspects of English in a concise and hunorous way and is intensely readable. Buy it for your children and they will appreciate your pedantic comments and might even love you for teaching them how our langauge works!
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on 7 February 2009
I am one of those people who like an apostrophe, comma & semi-colon in the correct place! At school I was not taught English very well, but have had to improve myself over the years. There is a time and place for good grammar, and as I speak and write publicly for my living this book helps me check up on the correct way of expressing myself. Very useful.
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