The Great Grammar Book by Marsha Sramek
ISBN 978-0-9841157-0-9. Published by Arch Press,
Review by Chris Phillips
Grammar books have certainly changed since this reviewer last looked at one. Sramek has written the suitably titled The Great Grammar Book. What stands out about the book is its layout. With a workbook style she covers all the regular topics, but very well. Starting with the Diagnostic Test in the beginning she instructs and informs with trivia and fresh exercises testing the material taught.
The Diagnostic Test is not easy and does test the basic ability of the reader. However, it does provide immediate support in showing the correct answers. The subsequent chapters strengthen the weaknesses revealed with this test. Each chapter is divided in to a statement of the rules, examples of these rules and exercises to reinforce the rules. Finally, the review exercises and the “Final Chapter Review” test the reader on all the topics thoroughly.
Remarkably, Sramek has introduced examples and exercise sentences that are both new and interesting as they stand. “George Washington created the Purple Heart in 1792, making it the nation’s oldest military decoration,” reveals a trivia tidbit that keeps the attention of the reader (pg. 73 for the exercise. This is the corrected version for those interested). Under Parentheses, one of the examples is something this reviewer didn’t know, another bit of trivia, “In 1898 (fourteen years before the Titanic tragedy) Morgan Robertson wrote the novel Futility, about the largest ship ever built hitting an iceberg in the Atlantic on a cold April night.” This book is filled with interesting facts in Sramek’s efforts to keep the subject lively and the reader interested in completing the lessons.
The chapters follow the standard topics, but she ends the book with the most practical chapter of all “Successful Writing Skills.” Sramek condenses the whole book into a series of explanations and exercises utilizing the lessons taught in the first part to “practice, practice, practice.” The particular instruction and exercises enhance what comes before while using practical applications to emphasize each section. This chapter is good for students and the obvious reason for the book. This chapter is also very good for refreshing skills using proper grammar for others outside of the education sphere.
This book is definitely well targeted by the marketing department of Avon Press. Students preparing for SATs and ACT will benefit greatly. However, another marketing arm could be pursued with the businesses world. All persons who communicate via the written word would do well to review this book and work through the exercises. This reviewer is recommending this as a practical guide for any one that writes on a regular basis.