There’s a poster in my office that says, “Grammar is not a secret code.” It is a code, sort of, but it’s certainly not a secret. Grammar is for everyone, and everyone deserves to feel confident using it. Plenty of resources exist to help people improve their grammar and language skills if they are so inclined.
The point here is that I wrote a book, “The Perfect English Grammar Workbook,” which is coming out in January, to support anyone wanting to learn more about language and how to use it according to current professional standards. It has explanations and practice exercises, and chapter-end quizzes so you can check your mastery.
“Perfect” was in the title chosen by the publisher (the workbook is a companion to Grant Barrett’s excellent handbook, “Perfect English Grammar“), but I do explain in the introduction what “perfect grammar” means. The guidelines in the book reflect “standard American English,” that is, the English that’s considered typical for an educated professional, what you see in books and magazines, on TV news and in the classroom. This doesn’t mean that other ways of speaking and writing are bad or less valid—they aren’t—it just means that if you’re writing and speaking professionally, this is the best way to reach a broad range of people and establish credibility with them. I also acknowledge that because living languages change, “perfect grammar” is a moving target.
Grammar doesn’t have to be confusing and it doesn’t have to be boring or technical (in fact, grammar is fascinating!). But it does take some practice—that’s what this book offers—and practice makes perfect.