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]