Textbook Recommendation for Word & Grammar

Textbook for Word & Grammar

Vex, Hex, Smash, and Smooch by Constance Hale


Constance Hale is a name that should belong to a 19th century schoolmarm who moonlights has an author of penny dreadfuls. Or maybe she's a no-nonsense Girl Friday who fights her way up the food chain to becomes a journalist in her on right

Either way,  you get the sense that a person named Constance Hale knows words and you’d be right. She brings out the glam in grammar with a flair rarely found in writing books. In this book, her focus is on verbs, but she touches on everything aspect of writing and offers exercises that work well with our deliberate practice method if done consistently and with the goal of adding stronger verbs to your writing. These lessons, called Try, Do, Write, Play, are built to improve soft skills like writing. Each has a game-like feel that stretches your writing in interesting direction.

Here is an example from her chapter on verb tenses and my work on the exercise.

Try Do Write Play: Describe a place that has undergone great change. Start in the present tense and then flash back to the past, describing it as it once was.

At the corner of Highland and Midland is a complex of soon-to-be-finished luxury apartments. The skeleton is up; rough walls, pink insulation peeking out between the future floors, naked elevator shafts that lack a complementary building. Bulldozers and cranes trample down the brown dirt, moving forwards and backwards between the jigsaw puzzle buildings. A sign out front declares "Highland Row Opens Summer 2016."

This lot had been a field of vibrant green grass, more green than any in the surrounding neighborhood. It was a meadow in the middle of the city, bulldozed flat and planted with some exotic seed that made the rest of the neighborhood seemed withered and dry.

Before that, this had been the sight of a stately church with deep red bricks and a bell tower, a church that had been there my whole life, a cornerstone, but an empty one. I had never seen anyone go in or out, but I only saw it on weekdays, on my way to the library, how could I know it stood as empty on Sundays as it had on Thursdays? The church had seemed as permanent as God.