June Casagrande: The Joy of Syntax

This is another informing book on grammar from Casagrande. She explains syntax in a clear, comprehensible, and joyful writing. Her examples help seeing how sentences are constructed. Although I know most of the rules, I still trip up grammar when I write. Here are a few guides I have noted.

On page 42, Casagrande shows the apostrophe-less adjective:

Often, the implied word for comes into play. If it’s a policy for homeowners, the apostrophe is commonly omitted: homeowners policy. If it’s a massage for couples, you’re likely to see it written couples massage.

On page 91, she explains be:

So be is a base form. You’d use it to replace is, am, or are when employing the subjunctive mood.

He is here.
It’s crucial that he be here.

You are nice.
It’s crucial that you be nice.

I am ready.
It’s crucial that I be ready.

On page 92, she shows how the verbs don’t change in the subjunctive form:

He walks. — It’s crucial that he walk. (Note: No s)
He is. — It’s crucial that he be. (Present tense)

On page 93, she demonstrates the contrary-to-fact meaning:

If Mary were alive
(The speaker knows Mary is not alive.)

If Mary was alive at the time
(Mary may have been alive.)

On page 169, she explains the use of the singular they:

Singular they, them, and their fill a need in the language. English has no designated third person singular personal pronoun that isn’s gender specific. He and she are third person singular, but you’re assigning a sex to someone when you use one of these.

On page 170, she provides some examples:

Everyone should keep their car locked.

Anybody caught out after 11 p.m. knows their movie privileges will be revoked.

Someone who loves me said they will come to my defense.

I highly recommend this book for a crash course on grammar.