Introduction

The Foundation of Good Writing

Grammar has a bad reputation. It is often regarded as dull, dry, mysterious, and frustrating. That is an unfortunate perspective. Gaining a deeper understanding of language and its structure can in fact be an exciting and rewarding activity. It is certainly a valuable one, with many practical professional benefits.

After all, a solid grasp of grammar is the foundation on which good writing rests. Good grammar is not by itself a guarantee of good writing, but good writing cannot exist without it.

The purpose of this small book is to provide guidance to professionals perplexed by questions about the proper placement of the comma, or the nature of dangling modifiers, or the difference between who and whom. With a better understanding of the building blocks of language, you will be better equipped to focus on other ingredients of good writing, such as content, clarity, and style.

Besides reviewing the grammar vocabulary necessary to a discussion of grammatical principles — verbs, pronouns and clauses, for example — this guide covers sentence structure, the rules of punctuation, and common problems in grammar and usage. It does not provide an exhaustive survey of these topics; instead, it focuses on the grammatical issues most relevant for business communications.

By minding the grammatical details, business professionals can make their writing — as well as speech — clearer, more precise, more professional, and more authoritative.