Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 09:52:17 -1000
From: Norman Roberts nroberts[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]HAWAII.EDU
Subject: Re: seeking textbook advice

Mark, the very best thing I know is the little Strunk and White _Elements
of Style_, now in its 15th+ edition -- 16th, maybe. It is invaluable in
situations like your correspondent described. It's short, simple, easy to
use, not fussy. No theory, just practical advice.

Second best: The _Texas Style Manual_ (approximate title), a tiny book,
used often by law reviews. Similar to above, a little fussier.

If others know of other resources, I would like to know about them.


For many years I used Joseph C. Blumenthal. English 3200: A Programmed
Course in Grammar and Usage. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1994. It's
essentially "school" grammar, and some of my students did not like
programmed instruction, but anybody who ever worked through the program
could not help but learn grammar and usage. This book was pioneered in the
early sixties, was "desexed" in the eighties, and given "writing
applications" in the fourth edition (1994). The grammar and usage which
the program teaches is mostly the stuff that those of us who are legally
old learned in elementary school but which today is only to be found in
graduate linguistics courses for the gifted and talented. It's ideal for
self-study and much, much cheaper than the computerized "programs" that
teach English fundamentals.

There are smaller versions entitled English 2400 and English 2600, but the
program is essentially the same. The numbers refer to the number of frames
[Bit of instruction] in the books. The same books come in both "school"
and "college" editions, but the program is identical in each.

Many of my colleagues didn't like English 3200 because it didn't leave them
anything to do. However I found that it freed me to teach writing.