I was rearranging books this morning (which means I was trying to cram the strays onto shelves and between bookends on tabletops) when I came across a copy of the only book I bought at the first Kentucky Book Fair I attended in 2002.
The book is The Grouchy Grammarian written by Thomas Parrish. It is subtitled A How-Not-To Guide to the 47 Most Common Mistakes in English Made by Journalists, Broadcasters, and Others Who Should Know Better.
I met Mr. Parrish at the Book Fair and he kindly inscribed my copy of his book. He is an author and editor and lives in Berea, Kentucky.
The Grouchy Grammarian is Mr. Parrish's fictional friend who, depressed over the grammatical blunders and missteps he encounters daily in the media, encourages the examination of examples of such errors and voila! we have a book.
There are chapter headings such as: There - the Introducer; May and Might - Did They or Didn't They?; Floaters and Danglers; Whiches, Who's and Thats; Pairs - Some Trickier Than Others; and Between vs. Among.
And, it contains a extensive bibliography and helpful index.
I have dipped into and dawdled among this book's 172 pages over the years, but I think the time has come to sit down and read it straight through. A mini-grammar refresher.
This is just the sort of book I enjoy reading. Not for everyone's taste, but I am the person who rereads Strunk and White's Elements of Style every year, so of course this book appeals to me.
From the book jacket:
"No one is safe from the Grammarian's vigilant monitoring of the English language. From the New York Times to the New Yorker to network sports broadcasters, the Grammarian records various gaffes, careless errors, and basic grammatical mistakes made by those who should know better."
The moral of the tale: Sometimes we can learn from our own mistakes and sometimes we can learn from the mistakes of others.