My collection of grammar books has been growing steadily since becoming a full-time freelancer, and I'd like to share some of my favorites with you!
I use this book every single day I edit, and it is widely used among the publishers I work with. While I'm still figuring out the most efficient way to organize the material I use most often (tabbing the pages turned out to be a nightmare, with rainbow-colored tabs bending every which way and/or falling off when the book was placed back on the shelf), The Chicago Manual of Style has been my primary source for all things grammar and formatting.
Although I normally default to grabbing CMoS off the shelf, Garner’s has helped me immensely as I’ve developed as an editor. This book is a usage dictionary/style guide and has so much valuable information. When I can’t locate something in CMoS, it is very likely in Garner’s. This essential reference is very dense (as one would expect from a usage dictionary), and as such, I am unlikely to pick it up just to read it, although I do try to flip it open to a random page every now and then to see what I can learn.
Update: A fellow editor has informed me that a new edition of Garner’s (Garner's Modern English Usage, Fourth Edition) is available as of this year. I’ve just ordered my copy, and I wanted to make you all aware of this newer version (thank you, Michael!).
This was one of the first books I bought when I started freelancing, as it was recommended by a colleague. It has since been assigned as required reading for two advanced copyediting courses I've taken, and it is full of helpful example edits and editing exercises (if only I could make more time in my schedule to complete all the exercises!).
I recently had the pleasure of meeting Mary Norris at the Editorial Freelancers Association's national conference in August, and what a treat! Mary was one of our keynote speakers, and she even took the time to sign books for those who bought them (I was first in line!). I was so inspired and intrigued by her keynote speech that I began reading Between You & Me on the bus back to Maryland that very same day (I will be sure to include a review in a future blog post!). This charming book is part memoir, part language guide and has been called "the most irreverent and helpful book on language since the #1 New York Times bestseller Eats, Shoots & Leaves."
So what about you? What are some of your favorite grammar books? I will include business books in another post, so stay tuned for that one!