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Publisher's Summary

Who eats shoots and leaves? A panda? Or a gunman at a restaurant? The answer to this all depends on - you guessed it - grammar. In the third part of his extraordinary Way with Words series, Professor Drout continues to explore humanity's intimate association with language, here delving into the finer points of English grammar. Since others judge you by the way you speak, the intricacies of grammar, in fact, should not be relegated to the realm of fussy "guardians of the language," but are rather essential clues all can employ to communicate more exactly. In such a light, this course forms an invaluable guide for everyone from all fields of interest.
©2008 Michael D.C. Drout; (P)2008 Recorded Books

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Enjoyable & Informative

I really loved listening to this course about grammar. I have always read quite a bit so I had an ok framework for being grammatical, but grammar courses never really engaged me before this one. With this course I finally understand the reasons why grammar and spelling are the way they are.

The parts of interest about the history of English were fascinating and they were presented in a clearer mode than I have encountered before. I really loved the sections on spelling and transformational grammar. I had never known about transformational generative grammar before this course, and it was very cool to see a clearer mode of taking apart and analyzing sentences. Overall, I think the "Drout Approach" to grammar is very calm, a little laid-back, yet still precise. I enjoyed that. In fact, I listened to this course two times already, and have decided to try some further reading about grammar to increase my facility. The course increased my interest in its subject matter, which is what I view to be a hallmark of a good course in any venue.

Prof. Drout has a nice speaking voice (not dry or boring) that is varied and interesting to listen to. The narration did not put me to sleep, but engaged me in stories that were amusing and easy to remember. This narrative quality, along with the helpful and interesting facts found throughout the course made this an enjoyable and informative listen.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Debbie
  • Columbia, MO, United States
  • 05-21-11

Cure for Grammar Anxiety

This audio course is for anyone who has ever suffered from grammar anxiety. Prof. Drout gives special dispensation to place prepositions at the end of sentences, to use split infinitives, and conjunctions at the beginning of sentences. He also gives you a solid defense against those grammar sticklers that make others fret over syntax: ???keep your imported Latin grammar rules to yourself!???

Thanks to Prof. Drout I now understand how to correctly use ???I??? and ???me,??? ???that??? and ???which,??? ???who??? and ???whom.??? With generous references to the history of our exquisite language and a delightful sense of humor, Prof. Drout makes all the grammar worries go away. You???ll understand why parts of our language are strange and confusing, and gain a new appreciation for those trying to learn English as a second language.

Prof. Drout reads excerpts from Beowulf and Chaucer, so you???ll hear the musical roots of our wonderful language. He explains that the evolution of English is more about conquerors, and less about scholarly progression. He discusses past scholars who have declared Latin the perfect language and, therefore, tried to force English to conform to Latin grammar. This has resulted is some of the most frustrating aspects of English.

He explains that English grammar is an art, not a science. For this reason, he rails against grammar checkers, ???let those Seattle trolls keep their green squiggly lines to themselves.???

I highly recommend this course. You???ll actually understand what a participle is and why it shouldn???t dangle. You???ll comprehend gerunds, infinitives, and modals. Not only will you gain a solid command of English, but it happens in just 7 hours; that???s amazing!

20 of 24 people found this review helpful

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  • Jeremy
  • Yuen Long, Hong Kong
  • 02-09-09

Excellent Course

This course contains an enjoyable and interesting series of lectures on English grammer. It is narrated by its author, Professor Michael Drout, who explains the history of English grammer; and its rules, conventions and contradictions in a thoroughly humouress, light-hearted and logical manner. I would recommend this course to anyone seeking to improve their use and knowledge of English grammer, whether or not you may be a native English speaker or learning English as a second language.

20 of 24 people found this review helpful

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  • Johanna
  • Riverdale, NY, United States
  • 11-13-10

GREAT!!!! I learned and was entertained.

This audio book helped me understand grammar from a different perspective. Professor Drout is probably one of the few people in the world who can explain grammar from a historical point and BE FUNNY!!!
This audio book has a website companion where you read his lectures and take an exam. I learned and was entertained. I recommend this book for not only non native English speakers like myself, but to anyone who wants to get grammar once and for all.

15 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • Emily
  • Colorado Springs, CO, United States
  • 10-01-12

As interesting as Grammar can possibly be

I was worried that this one might be dull but have been pleasantly surprised. Only Professor Drout could make Grammar this interesting.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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A Way With Words Part III

I never thought anyone could be entertaining and teach grammar at the same time! I will be reading everything else available from Michael Drout. If you need to know grammar and think you'll hate, it this book is for you.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Filipe
  • Belo Horizonte - MGBrazil
  • 12-13-09

I used to hate grammar, but I love it now!

I found this book at audible main page and the image of the red panda and Grammar together made me curious... I checked just by curiosity because I never found grammar interesting... in fact I used to hate grammar. But it enjoyed so much the preview that I bought and guess what? I enjoyed so much that I can say I love grammar now! This book is a lot of fun to learn... You will learn as much as you laugh! But this is not only about fun! Michael D. C. Drout (1968- ) is the Prentice Associate Professor of English at Wheaton College and an author and editor specializing in Anglo-Saxon and medieval literature, science fiction and fantasy, especially the works of J. R. R. Tolkien and Ursula K. LeGuin. Drout holds a Ph.D. in English from Loyola University Chicago (May 1997), an M.A. in English from the University of Missouri (May 1993), and an M.A. in Communication from Stanford University (May 1991). Want to know more? Please buy this book and you will never regret. I'm listening for the 4th time !

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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What is Grammar?

The books is a masterpiece. For a book about grammar to be that interesting to me , a non-native speaker, it has to be really really good.
However, don't expect it to magically transform your grammar or use of language. It is more of a history and explanation of what is grammar not of grammatical rules (although it has some of those as well of course)

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Robert
  • Yamhill, OR, United States
  • 10-03-12

I have always given Drout high marks.

I have always given top ratings to Michael D.C. Drout's entries in the Modern Scholar series. Not this one.

Before reading it, I wondered exactly how much grammar could be packed into 8 hours of lecture. The answer is more than I expected and less. Drout includes a lot of history of the English language in a number of the early chapters. He defines many English constructs that do not need defining or clarification and glosses over parts of speech that could have received more attention. It is obvious that he took much of the content of these lectures from other lectures on other subjects. Having read a fair amount of Drout, I have found that he does this a lot. It's almost like filler that he could have taken the time and space to use more prudently. Drout is on an ego trip and totally taken up by himself in these lectures.

The botom line is that I would not recommend this book. If you are interested in English grammar, get Mignon Fogarty's Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing. It is fun and a masterpiece in writing. Or, if you are a podcast kind of person, subscribe to Grammar Girl's: Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing on iTunes. It doesn't get any better than this. I'd give Grammar Girl 10 stars.

26 of 35 people found this review helpful

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Go red panda!

As great a lecturer as Professor Drout is, even with his humour and considerable talent, an 8 hour lecture on grammar seems to be too much of a feat. No fault on the lecturer's part, it's the subject.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Herbal
  • 12-23-12

A clear and enjoyable guide to English grammar

I needed to ensure that I knew when to use "its" or "it's", "who" or "whom", "and I" or "and me", and avoid other easily made mistakes in the English language. Michael Drout not only provides the answers but gives tips on how to remember them, backing up his information with interesting and often entertaining stories about the history of English and how we came to have the words and usage that we have today.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • 05-12-16

Inspired to Learn More...

What did you like most about A Way With Words Part III?

I want to listen to it again because it was logical and entertaining: having learnt some of the history behind the conventions, I now have a deeper understanding; this deeper understanding is also likely to improve memorisation. That said, I will print out the guidebook, read it and make notes so I can cement the invaluable lessons contained within this course.

This course has answered many questions, but it has also evoked a thrist for more knowledge about grammar. I am particularly interested in learning more about the history of the English language and Chomsky's transformational grammar.

This is the third A Way With Words course by Professor Michael D. C. Grammaticus that I have listened to, and I always hate it when I have to stop listening to go to work etc; he's very knowledgeable, clear, logical, entertaining and his critical thinking skills make him open to see the pros and cons of the various schools of thought on the given topic. I love the 'take the good and leave the stupid' approach. For example, using tools such as, correction punctuation for clarity and ignoring irrational Latin grammar rules, which don't apply to English.

My only negative criticism is that I feel that the course was too short; it did feel rushed in places. On the other hand, no one course can provide all of the answers and this course makes me want to learn more; it's great to get the perceptive of a philologist.

The course is made up of fourteen lectures:
Lecture 1 The Red Panda and the Drout Way: A Sensible Approachto Grammar
Lecture 2 What Is Grammar?
Lecture 3 Why It Is the Way It Is: The Short History of the English Language
Lecture 4 G-H-O-T-I Spells Fish
Lecture 5 Word Classes
Lecture 6 Pronouns and the Noun System
Lecture 7 The Verb System I
Lecture 8 The Verb System II: Infinitives, Participles, Gerunds
Lecture 9 The Verb System III: Truly Irregular Verbs
Lecture 10 Subjects and Predicates and Objects, Oh, My!
Lecture 11 Transformations
Lecture 12 Phrases and Clauses, Word Choices and Pauses
Lecture 13 Punctuation: Pause and Effect
Lecture 14 Fight! Fight! Fight! For English (for English?)

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-03-14

A Way With Words Part III

What didn’t you like about the narrator’s performance?

The author narrates, which is unfortunate, as, for my British ears, both his American accent, and humour, I found jarring.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I had to listen to the author in small sittings.

Any additional comments?

The content is excellent, so if you are happy with the narration, then you will enjoy the book.

3 of 7 people found this review helpful