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I found this book by accident while browsing through a now-defunct Los Angeles bookstore/cafe. It was the luckiest accident of my life. At that point I had been a professional writer for more than twenty years, but I rarely enjoyed my work, and I felt all of it was disposable in one way or another. At first, reading this book gave me an incredible, if unfamiliar, feeling of joy and self-confidence.

Afterwards, I began to surprise the hell out of myself in terms of what I was able to accomplish. This little book is very practical and precise.

If youve forgotten your grammar lessons, it begins by explaining the rudimentary parts of speech: noun, verb, pronoun, adjective, adverb.

Then it move on to the sentence. What makes a sentence a sentence and not a clause; and just what is the difference between a clause and a phrase. Do you know!? I do now! Joseph Devlin tells us, Apart from their grammatical construction there can be no fixed rules for the formation of sentences. The best plan is to follow the best authors and these masters of language will guide you safely along the way.

The essential paragraph allows you to contain all the thoughts on a single idea in one area and then blessedly separate it from the next bit of writing. A solid page of printed matter is distasteful to the reader, it taxes the eye and tends towards the weariness of monotony...

There is a chapter devoted to figurative language: simile, metaphor, personification, allegory, synecdoche, metonymy, hyperbole... Really essential components to make writing interesting.

Then Devlin delves into puncutation.

You get the idea, a concise book that covers a truck load of good grammar taught well.

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