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"'The Frugal Editor: Do-It-Yourself Editing Secrets for Authors' is a complete course of instruction under one cover." ~ Jim Cox Editor-in-Chief Midwest Book Review

Monday, July 30, 2018

Even Accomplished Editors Can Learn from June Casagrande

Those of you who visit this blog or are subscribed to it know that I also blog at The New Book Review where this lovely review might inform (and tease!) you a bit, but because I have long been a fan of June Casagrande's sage editing advice, I wanted to share it with you here, too!  

Title: The Joy of Syntax

Subtitle: A Simple Guide to all the Grammar You Know You Should Know

Author: June Casagrande
Publisher: Ten Speed Press (July, 2018)
Paperback: $14.99
Pages: 272
ISBN-13 9780399581069
Genre: Reference/Writing/Grammar/Editing
Buy on Amazon:


Reviewed by Marlan Warren originally posted on L.A. Now and Then blog

“If someone tells you that it's wrong to X, where X is something native English speakers do regularly, you can be pretty sure the rule is bogus.”  ~ The Joy of Syntax, June Casagrande

The first thing that popped into my head when I first began reading June Casagrande's lively, informative The Joy of Syntax: A Simple Guide to All the Grammar You Know You Should Know was me in the backseat of my parents' car circa 1960, listening to Mom and Dad engage in a heated argument over incorrect vs. correct grammar. I don't recall what "rule" they were debating, only the yelling. That's how seriously a grammar mistake can affect us.

When it comes to syntax, I suspect people may be divided into three categories: those who know what syntax is and care; those who heard about it in English class but it didn't stick; and those who do not care at all. The first group contains people who love words or need them to advance their careers, future careers, and/or social standing. Those are the people who stand to get the most out of this book.

Casagrande's style is simple, direct, and friendly-humorous. The book's contents reflect a trove of enlightening trivia such as "Well as an Adverb and an Adjective;" "Dangling Participles and Other Danglers;" "Language Myths" (brace yourself). Part I focuses on "Syntax" and Part II on "Usage and Propriety." The latter goes beyond the average English speaker/writer's grasp of what is grammatically correct and explains that the acceptability of certain words can depend on whether they have been accepted into common usage.

Did you know that if a word is found in the dictionary, it's considered "valid"? Not necessarily appropriate for your dissertation, but not "wrong" in more casual contexts.

Pop Quiz:
True or False?
(1) It is always wrong to say or write "ain't."
(2) "Nauseous" and "Nauseated" can be used interchangeably.
(3) "Tomorrow" is both a noun and an adverb.
(4) Most, if not all, grammar questions can be answered by looking in the dictionary.

Here's a hint: number one is false. Surprised? Want to know why? Read the book. As for the the book. It won't kill you and you might even learn something.


About the Reviewer:

Marlan Warren is an L.A. journalist, novelist, playwright, screenwriter, blogger, and publicist with Roadmap Communications and Book Publicity by Marlan. She reviews for the Midwest Book Review and her blogs include “Roadmap Girl’s Book Buzz”  and “L.A. Now and Then.” Her press releases are published in Broadway World Book News and the BBC Record. She is the author of the novel, “Roadmaps for the Sexually Challenged: All’s Not Fair in Love or War” and the producer/writer of the acclaimed documentary, “Reunion." Marlan is now in production for the documentary “What Did You Do in the War, Mama?: Kochiyama’s Crusaders based on her play “Bits of Paradise." 


Howard-Johnson is the author of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. She is also a marketing consultant, editor, and author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers including the award-winning second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter  and The Frugal Editor. Her latest is in the series is  How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. Learn more on her Amazon profile page,

Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers is one of her booklets--perfect for inexpensive gift giving--and, another booklet, The Great First Impression Book Proposal helps writers who want to be traditionally published. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it will help them convince retailers to host their workshops, presentations, and signings. It is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. In addition to this blog, she helps writers extend the exposure of their favorite reviews at She also blogs at all things editing--grammar, formatting and more--at The Frugal, Smart, and Tuned-In Editor ( )Her blog focuses on the writing life and book marketing and promotion. It is a Writers' Digest 101 Best blogs pick.

Even Accomplished Editors Can Learn from June Casagrande

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