You may be wondering what the new Academic Writing team (Judith Elkin, Cheryl Cliffe and myself) are doing over the summer? One of our objectives is to dive into the Library’s vast collection of grammar books, which includes Harrison et al (2012) Improve your Grammar (found at 425 har on the 1st floor). Harrison et al (2012) naturally covers speech, sentence clauses, and everything you would expect from a grammar book but what I found most helpful was commonly misused words (pp. 112-113) and the appropriate selection of phrasal verbs in writing more academically (pp. 110-111), as well as Palgrave’s effective layout and subtle use of colours to highlight themes. This opening statement about practical accessibility does justice to our extensive range of Palgrave Study Skills books (49 titles!) held in the Library:

“‘Improve Your Grammar’ is a study and practice book for students attending or planning to attend a UK university.  It concentrates on the specific areas of grammar and coherence where students frequently make mistakes, and deal with these in a straightforward, accessible way” (Harrison et al, 2012, 1).

That said, French novelist and linguistic conjurer Gustav Flaubert sparked a revolutionary approach in grammatical use by writing sensuously about what he felt, what he imagined, rather than adhere to strict rules that he considered claustrophobic and detrimental to his art; an unorthodox approach praised by fellow great novelist Proust when he noted Flaubert’s grammar elicited a beauty in itself. Perhaps that is the answer? Once you feel comfortable with expressing yourself grammatically then you have attained the ultimate goal and have to voyage beyond conventions…

Capture grammar

Harrison, M., Jakeman, V. & Paterson, K. (2012). Improve Your Grammar. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.