by Lesley J. Ward and Geraldine Woods
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English Grammar For Dummies®
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About the Authors
Lesley J. Ward has worked in the publishing industry for over thirty years,
editing and proofreading books and journals. She is a founder member of the
Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP), and regularly leads training
courses for SfEP, the Irish Book Publishers’ Association and The London
College of Communication. She is also a distance-learning tutor for the
Publishing Training Centre. Her favourite course is Brush up your grammar.
She lives in Berkshire and is notorious for being a harmless eccentric/
dangerous radical who refuses to have e-mail. She doesn’t have a cat.
Geraldine Woods’ career as a grammarian began in her elementary school,
which in those days was called ‘grammar school’ for very good reason. With
the guidance of a series of nuns carrying long rulers (good for pointing at the
board and slapping unruly students), she learned how to diagram every con-
ceivable type of sentence. She has been an English teacher for 25 years and
has written 40 books, give or take a few. She loves minor-league baseball,
Chinese food, and the novels of Jane Austen.
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From Lesley: This book is dedicated to Oliver and Francesca, who are going
to receive copies from their grammatically obsessed maiden aunt.
From Geraldine: For my husband and son, the hearts of my life.
From Lesley: Most of the people I need to thank will have to remain nameless
because I can’t remember their names. The primary school teacher who got
me hooked on grammar in the first place isn’t even a nameless face to me any
more, although I can still see the blackboard and remember the weather
(rainy) on the day she showed me that language is fascinating. My teachers
at grammar school also did a wonderful job. (A special thank-you here to all
the members of successive governments who didn’t decide that I didn’t need
to know grammar.) Every author who argued with me, and every publishing
house that gave me feedback on the work I did for them, helped to hone my
skills. And all the experts who have taken the trouble to write grammar books
that I could understand. Bless them – I now have a much better idea of how
much effort those books took.
Also, thank you to Alison Yates and Simon Bell at Wiley. They were incredibly
patient when I missed deadlines. And to Tabby Toussaint, the technical
reviewer who saved me from a gaffe or two, and the poor frustrated copy-
editor. They tried. Anything that’s still wrong is my fault.
From Geraldine: I offer thanks to my students, whose intelligence and curios-
ity never fail to inspire me. I also thank technical editor Tom LaFarge, whose
good sense of humour and knowledge of grammar vastly improved this book.
I am grateful to my project editor, Linda Brandon, whose thoughtful com-
ments challenged me to clarify my explanations and whose encouragement
changed many a bad day into a good one. I appreciate the hard work of
copy editors Billie Williams and Ellen Considine, who constantly reminded
me to focus on you, the reader. I am also grateful to acquisitions editors
Joyce Pepple, Roxane Cerda, and Susan Decker, who encouraged me at
every opportunity. I owe a debt of gratitude to my agent, Carolyn Krupp,
who calmed my nerves and answered my e-mails with unfailing courtesy and
valuable assistance. Lastly, I thank my colleagues in the English Department,
whose passion for teaching and love of our subject make my time at work a
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Acquisitions, Editorial, and
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Contents at a Glance
Part I: The Parts of Speech and Parts of the Sentence......7
Chapter 1: I Already Know How to Talk. Why Should I Study Grammar? ..........