Northwest Brainstorms Publishing

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Word Up! How to Write Powerful Sentences and Paragraphs

By Marcia Riefer Johnston

While it seems the essence of stunted conversation littered with acronyms and smiley faces has taken a stranglehold on the English language;  never to be distracted with the need for complete sentences and proper spelling, there, amid old paperback books and Discman players, lies a hidden truth.  At some point, a person will be judged, evaluated, panned, celebrated, admitted, hired, terminated, scrutinized or emulated by what, and how, he writes.

Despite the digital age touting the assurance of spell check to keep things running smooth, the need for strong grammar skills remains unchanged. If you want to move to the next level in life, you must be able to convey a clear thoughtful message to another person.

This is what makes Johnston’s book so timely.  Yes, it is a reference manual providing pertinent information and instruction on basic grammar rules. However, it lacks the fuzzy stale aftertaste most literary reference manuals leave behind.  Her advice is solid.  And, it is presented in a voice that welcomes all readers, both newcomers to the world of grammar and seasoned writers.  Johnston’s book is a refreshing testament that there is no excuse for bad grammar. The rules for suitable writing are available, easily accessible and a pleasure to read. Even Johnston’s footnotes drum up a chuckle.

Don’t be fooled into thinking the only people who need to care about grammar are the artsy-fartsy literary nerds who gaily exchange witty commentary based on something we heard on NPR this morning. Acquiring and building a strong foundation of basic grammar practices is essential for everyone who intends on communicating with another human being sometime in the near future.

When it comes to WORD UP!, I intend to take the advice of quirky Brad Hamilton from the 1982 movie, “Fast times at Ridgemont High” when he said, “Learn it. Know it. Live it.”

Reviewed by J’Nel Wright for IndieReader