Just about every day I have a grammar question, despite that in junior high school I was an ace at diagramming sentences. Most commonly I need to figure out how to punctuate something I have written. I search for an answer, and I want to remember the information — if possible — so that I can use it the next time the same question arises. Yes, I could consult The Elements of Style, On Writing Well, The Chicago Manual of Style, or countless other good grammar books.
These days, however, when I am puzzling over a comma or a particular word, I almost always go online to find a podcast at Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips. I listen to the explanation, usually accompanied by music and amusing examples, and even days later I still remember the rule or the spelling or usage — even if the topic has not reappeared in my writing.
If you have not checked out the Grammar Girl podcasts, take some time to do so. They are great fun — two words that I never associated with sentence diagrams.
Does someone in your house need an occasional grammar review? Do occasional questions about word use or punctuation come up as a family member writes important essays and reports? If so, check out Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing. It’s amusing for kids and adults, too, but there’s a lot to learn along the way. We listen to these podcasts just for fun, and I know a family that downloads the “casts” to listen to on family car trips (okay, it’s my family).
Grammar Girl posts regular podcasts — free and never more than a couple of minutes long — and they are chock-full of interesting information about usage, punctuation rules, and accepted practices. She uses humorous examples, not unlike the understated but clever examples found in Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style, a revered but unpretentious reference first published in 1918 and still widely used today.