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About the Author

Works by Karen Elizabeth Gordon


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Common Knowledge




Over the years Karen Elizabeth Gordon's brand of cuteness has worn out its welcome with me. I say this as someone who once owned all her books and touted her to others (and, indeed, used The Deluxe Transitive Vampire as the basis of instructional materials I developed to aid high schoolers with low rates of literacy). This book may well, in my relatively extensive experience with grammar and style manuals and lexicons, be a nadir for not only the genre, but for Ms. Gordon as well.

I write this as I look at her entry in this book for the words affect and effect; I submit that if you didn't already have a relatively firm grasp of the problems in usage related to these two words, this book would be of no help to you. Ms. Gordon's exemplar for the use of these words reads: "Startling Glower once dragged onto the show 'Up Your Eponym' a collection of pop psychologists (mincing to their places and sporting moles and affectations, all powdered and dressed up in Restoration frippery to pander to Glower's sartorial and aesthetic proclivities) who discussed 'the affect of an abused sibling, crying into her mother's soup' or 'a Lothario who was utterly destitute of affect, but handsomely rich in beaux gestes and looks.'" N.B. that she neglects, in this precious prose, to offer an example of affect in its use as a verb.

If a person looking for a clear exposition of these words, who lacked any understanding of their use and their places in the taxonomy of the parts of speech, came to these pages, I am hard pressed to see how this entry (page 4, incidentally) would elucidate the use of these words. And this problem repeats throughout this book, making it almost useless for those toward whom I would think such a book would be aimed.

In other words, this is basically a useless tome that is arguably a reflection of its author's vanity.
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Mark_Feltskog | 2 other reviews | Dec 23, 2023 |
Very fun! Clarified a few things for me and expanded my awareness quite a bit. Now it's time to take a few choice paragraphs and deconstruct them with this book as a guide.
lschiff | 19 other reviews | Sep 24, 2023 |
The author begins by explaining: "This is a book of sentences: sentences about sentences, and sentences sentencing themselves." She continues, "Part of the art of creating a sentence is knowing the substance and elements of which it is composed." In the following chapters, she ten explains nouns, verbs, verbals, adjectives and adverbs, pronouns, agreement in tense, prhases, clauses, fragments, and comma usage. Her selection of sentences for examples is entertaining, but it is probably not a book that could be used below the high school level because of the often risqué nature of the humor.… (more)
nbmars | 19 other reviews | Dec 13, 2021 |
Good writing generally means clear meaning, which is immeasurably enhanced by good punctuation. This pithy and entertaining book uses examples - many of them humourous - to delineate guidelines for using periods, question marks, exclamation points (so overused!), the comma, the semicolon, the colon, the hyphen, the dash, quotation marks, this punctuation mark it is misused in practice more than others.
nbmars | 3 other reviews | Dec 13, 2021 |


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