Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book!
What really goes on inside a sentence? What is your subject, and where is your verb, and what is its tense, and where is your modifier, and why does it matter? Where do you need a comma, and where do you not? Why are dashes and semicolons so misunderstood? When is it which and when is it that?
In The Little Green Grammar Book, Mark Tredinnick asks and answers the tough grammar questionsbig and smallwith the same verve and authority readers encountered in The Little Red Writing Book. The Little Green Grammar Book does for grammar what The Little Red Writing Book did for style. It will have you writing like a writer in no time.
Great little book for first year University students
Excellent book for learning or rediscovering the use of grammar in writing for any reason
The Little Green Book of Confused Rants
On Mark Tredinnick's website, which contains numerous spelling mistakes, including the misspelling of the word language ('langauge'), he states that The Little Green Grammar Book is 'fun' and 'useful' and quotes his own media release, 'It is a book, like Lynne Truss's Eats, Shoots and Leaves, to be enjoyed, not merely used'. This is a brave comparison; critics savaged Eats, Shoots and Leaves for its inconsistencies, grammar and punctuation errors, and for failing to follow its own advice. It is an apt comparison, however, because The Little Green Grammar Book-Tredinnick's follow up to The Little Red Writing Book-is fundamentally inconsistent and capricious.
Tredinnick adamantly claims that The Little Green Grammar Book is a book for writers-that it is not a reference book, and he rages against 'a cardigan-wearing cadre of joyless pedants' (p. 14) and 'cardigan-wearing grammar nazis' (p. 199). Maybe he thought this 'langauge' would appeal to his readers, but such comments would be at home alongside others such as 'I'm not racist, but...' or 'feminazi', and, as such, are inappropriate. His repeated outbursts about cardigans (what have cardigans ever done to him?) and pedants are at odds with large sections of the book that are prescriptive and specifically tell us the 'dos and don'ts' of grammar and punctuation.
Of the four main parts of the book, 'Part Three-Keeping the Pieces Apart', and 'Part Four-Twenty-one Grammar Gaffes and How to Avoid Them', for example, specifically tell us what we can and cannot do with grammar and punctuation. However, Tredinnick's approach is erratic. Amid telling us what is acceptable, he throws a tantrum about his editors telling him how to use quotation marks correctly (p. 188-189), yet then goes on to complain about TV news getting grammar wrong (p. 212) and how incorrect usage 'defies logic' (p. 213).
His confusion about the aim of the book climaxes in 'Epilogue-Learn the Rules; Forget the Rules', where he tells readers to learn and observe the grammar and punctuation 'disciplines' and to look them up 'in this book or another'. Despite this inconsistency, these sections and their examples-unlike other sections of the book-are somewhat useful. However, there are other issues-he breaks his own advice on using bullet points (p. 37), his reasoning for not using a full stop for abbreviations contradicts his reasoning for insisting on commas, and, for some reason, many of the words in italics seem to randomly change font/size (e.g. p. 154, p. 177).
In parts one and two of the book, Tredinnick awkwardly tries to straddle the line between traditional grammar and modern linguistics and jumps straight into complex discussions about syntax and grammar. The result is confusing and overwhelming, and he usually only defines what he is talking about as an afterthought.
'I suppose I should have added that there might be more than one subject, verb, object and/or modifier on stage, as here, at any given time. There might be two or more leads, and two or more support actors, and two or more verbs and any number of modifiers, or none at all. And to be completely honest, there are a couple of other quasi-functions that I'll come to later: or at least there are a couple of fancy names for bit parts that occur often enough and closely resemble the main ones. I'm thinking of appositive and complements.' (p. 27)
Tredinnick borrows much of the information in parts one and two from linguistics. Unfortunately, he picks and chooses the bits that suit him and doesn't seem to fully understand the linguistic functions he is discussing.
'Pam Peters notes (p. 788) that, in mainstream contemporary grammatical thought, the entire predicate of a clause may be referred to as a verb phrase, which is not, perhaps, the same thing as a verbal phrase. Huddleston's book is an example of this approach. He gives this example,
Cats like water,
Describing like + water as the VP, that is, the verb phrase, and predicate; he then calls like the 'verb' and 'predicator', and water the 'object' and 'noun phrase'.
I'm not sure it helps to call the predicate anything else than the predicate, so I won't be calling it a 'verb phrase' here. (I should also note that the usage noun phrase for a noun, when it is a single word, doesn't make much sense to me...)' (p. 61)
Commentators have described The Little Green Grammar Book as 'light-hearted', 'humorous', and 'a pleasure to read', but many readers will find that adjectives such as confused, rambling, and awkward would be more appropriate. While some sections do have merit, other books-such as The Professional Writing Guide: Writing Well and Knowing Why or Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace-will prove more useful for writers.
Tredinnick, Mark. 'The Little Green Grammar Book.' Tredinnick, 2 Jan. 2010. Web. 2 Sep. 2014. http://www.marktredinnick.com.au/inde...
The Little Green Grammar Book
ISBN: 9780868409191 ISBN-10: 0868409197 Audience:
Tertiary; University or College
Number Of Pages: 256 Published: 1st September 2008 Publisher: NewSouth Publishing Country of Publication: AU Dimensions (cm): 20.8 x 14.8
Weight (kg): 0.294
Edition Number: 1