Date: Thu, 23 Mar 1995 09:29:32 -0600
From: Natalie Maynor maynor[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]RA.MSSTATE.EDU
Subject: Grammar Books
It's book order time for fall semester, and once again I'm faced with the
problem of choosing a book for Descriptive English grammar, a junior-level
course populated mainly by English-Ed majors. I've taught it every fall
for the past five or so years now and have yet to find a book I really like.
The one I loved when I taught the course a couple of times a long time ago
has long been out of print: LaPalombara. The books I've used since then
are Kolln (not bad -- I may return to it someday, especially having
discovered that one thing I disliked about it could have been solved by
changing the order of the chapters -- I started using it with 3rd ed. and
later saw a copy of the 2nd ed., which had a much more logical arrangement);
Stageberg (too skimpy); Kaplan (an utter disaster -- started out fine but
quickly became extremely confusing to the students -- I ended up telling
them to forget the book and spent every weekend the rest of the semester
making handouts to use instead of a textbook); Klammer & Schulz (decent
enough that it's the only book I've used two years in a row, but I'm not
wild about it -- it's a bit boring and a bit skimpy).
Sitting on my desk right now as possibilities are Marilyn Silva's _Grammar
in Many Voices_ and Dorothy Sedley's _Anatomy of English_. Have any of you
used either one of these books? If so, how did it go?
My goals in teaching the course are to give the students an idea of what
grammar is and some details of how English grammar in particular works and
to get them interested in something other than their clothes, their hair,
and their dates. *In general* (with notable exceptions, of course), the
students who take this course display little interest in anything other
than their social lives. I'd like to show them that analyzing English
grammar is fun.
--Natalie (maynor[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]ra.msstate.edu)