Thursday, December 30, 2010

Arlene Miller's The Best Little Grammar Book Ever!

Hi Arlene: Welcome to my blog. You are the first non-fiction author I have had on my blog.
Please tell us why you wrote this book when there are plenty of grammar books.

Most grammar books are long and b-o-r-i-n-g! My book is short and friendly. It has a complete review of grammar, but most of the book talks about common problems and confusions. For example, the book includes all those confusing things like principle/principal, affect/effect, imply/infer, I/me, etc. There is also a great index, which I did myself, by hand. Everything in the book is in the index.

I found the chapter on capitalization most handy. I can't believe all the rules on what words to capitalize and NOT capitalize when preparing a table of contents! 
What is your back round that has enabled you to write such a difficult but comprehensive book?

 I spent many years as a technical writer and editor. I also have experience in newspaper writing and editing, as well as textbook editing. I have a degree in journalism -- and a teaching credential in English. I have been teaching English to 7th graders for seven years. I also teach workshops based on my book at Santa Rosa Junior College and College of Marin. It all really started when I began teaching school. I noticed that the writers I had edited and the students I was teaching all tended to make the same mistakes. I thought it would be a good idea to put them all together in a book. And that is what I did!

Who do you recommend this book to?

 EVERYONE, of course! It is intended for approximately ages 12 to 112. I can see the book being particularly useful to students, parents who want to be able to help their students, homeschool instructors and students, teachers who want to brush up on grammar, writers of both fiction and nonfiction, business people who need to speak and write in their jobs, job hunters, college applicants, and those whose native language is not English.

Your Utube is a very cute, funny and  imaginative story! Everyone look at it here:

I got the germ of the idea from a friend and expanded on it! My son did the animation portion, music, photography, and then he put it all together.

I see that The Best Little Grammar Book Ever is actually your second book. Please tell us about your first one. 

My first book is called Beyond Worksheets: Creative Lessons for Teaching Grammar in Middle School and High School. It is available as a download only from my website and from a website called Teachers Pay Teachers. It is a group of grammar lessons that I developed. I love teaching grammar, but often the students' eyes start rolling around in their heads! It can be boring, and the concepts are often difficult for students. Therefore, I try to make it interesting by thinking up different ways to use the grammar book.   A few years back I had a student teacher who thought I should put these lessons together in a book, so I did!

As an active member of the Redwood Writers Club, please tell us your future goals as a writer. 

Well, I don't know if I have any more books in me!
Actually, besides my grammar book, and the grammar lesson book I just talked about, I wrote part of a diet book several years ago. I think about maybe finishing it and putting it up on Scribd.
Many years ago, I wrote poems and song lyrics, but now I stick to the nonfiction stuff!
 I admire those of you who write fiction, and I would love to try it; perhaps I will do the next NaNoWriMo.
However, for now, my goal is to take my writing/grammar course from the junior colleges into corporations. I am beginning a business conducting half-day and daylong workshops for corporations and other groups. If anyone is interested, please contact me! The workshops will cover both grammar and business writing. They are either 3 hours long (the Blitz Course) or a full day (6 hours). My website is and my e-mail is
Well, Arlene, you certainly are ambitious to teach all those classes! Where is this adorable, little yellow book available? 

The Best Little Grammar Book Ever! 101 Ways to Impress With Your Writing and Speaking is available on my website, on and most other online booksellers, at Copperfields in Petaluma, Borders in Santa Rosa, the Santa Rosa Junior College bookstore, College of Marin bookstore, and at the Sonoma County Library. My book is available as a download in Iphone and Ipad. It is also for sale at Redwood Writers meetings and out of the trunk of my car, wherever I am!

Please post a comment by pressing the blue comments. Go to the end of everyone's comments, under post a comment, write a comment, under comments as select Name/URL, type your name and email address on ONE LINE(no url necessary), then press POST comment. Thank You! 

The four winners of Linda Loveland Reid's Touch of Magenta were: Kathy, Drmimi, Osha and Dan. Congratulations! Thank you, Linda for being so very generous.


  1. I'm an MFA student in nonfiction writing, a reporter and a teacher. I am also a lover of grammar. I remember rolling my eyes in school only because the teachers would repeat what we had learned the previous year; it seemed I was the only one who could still differentiate between a direct and indirect object. Thanks for writing your little book.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Nicole! No matter what I try to teach my 7th grade students, they say they never heard of it -- they tell me they never learned any grammar before!

  3. This is a great idea. Most grammar books are dull and long. Thank you for writing it.


  4. Julie Henig juels2020@comcast.netDecember 30, 2010 at 1:36 PM

    Can't wait to get my hands - and eyes - on your book. I love to study grammar...but still find I make mistakes. My otherwise sweet hubby and I argue incessantly, or at least often, over comma placement - perhaps your book will lend me some ammunition. What do you think about the opinion that language is constantly changing? I find the topic fascinating.

  5. I look forward to reading your book not only for my teenage daughter, but for myself! My father was an English teacher and since he is not with us anymore, I'm counting on you!

  6. Great interview and what a great sounding grammar book. Can hardly wait to read it. Thanks for the interview and writing the book.

  7. Thank you for the wonderful comments! I guess that language is constantly changing, but good communication does not! I tend to be a purist in my opinion about grammar rules! I am a "grammar hawk," as they say!

  8. Arlene, you are my hero. Your book sounds wonderful, just what I need. Thanks for doing all you do. I don't know where I'd be without experts like yourself. Happy New Year.

  9. Arlene,
    I'm looking forward to picking up a copy of your book at the next Redwood Writers meeting. I'll set it next to my copy of "A Dash of Style: The Art and Mastery of Punctuation." by Noah Lukeman. You'll both be in good company.

  10. Arlene, You know I am one of your biggest fans. You did a fabulous job and this book. It is a great resource for anyone who needs help with their writing and punctuation. Edie

  11. I'd love to read this; I love grammar, and it looks like an interesting book!

    janemaritz at yahoo dot com

  12. I'd love to have this as a resource. I have always had a problem with good and well and I cringe every time I end a sentence with a preposition.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  13. I am a senior technical writer with many years of experience and a Masters degree in Information Studies. I find these grammar books very helpful because I often have a mental block regarding certain rules.

    pboylecharley at hotmail dot com

  14. I would LOVE to receive this book!
    I am a grammar teacher and so long for an EASY to use resource of grammar:)
    chakasa58 at gmail dot com

  15. I know a lot of my students would benefit from this handy little resource.

  16. Arlene's book makes a perfect, inexpensive gift too!

  17. Thank you so much everyone for your positive and supportive words!!!

  18. Wow do I need this book. I can read well, speak well and spell too. But I've never learned all the rules of writing like I/Me and so on. So many things you mentioned.

    Once someone told me I used to many comma's in a letter. I think my comma's make sense. I'd like to know who is right! lol

    Thanks for a chance to win it!! :) It sounds like it's right up my alley. Maybe if I had a teacher like you I would have like Grammar and English classes growing up. Thanks, Christine

  19. This looks like a wonderful resource to have thanks for the giveaway

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

  20. Very nice interview. Book looks like a good resource. Maybe it should be used in ESL classes or in literacy classes for adults. Also, I'm wondering how it differs from Eats, Shoots & Leaves? Years ago I taught English grammar to GIs--now that was a challenge! Would love to have had Arlene's book back then!

  21. Good interview, Jeane. I do have Arlene's little book and it is handy. I think we all have little gaps in our knowledge of grammar. It's a great resource. Just like the dictionary, it's got a place on my desk. I know a certain man I'm married to who could also use the book on his desk, if I win the freebie.

  22. What a great idea! Would love to 'review' my rules of grammar!
    twinmomx5 at gmail dot com

  23. I have enjoyed reading everyone's comments! Thanks everyone....and thanks, Jeane, for the great blog!

  24. Thanks for the invitation. Definitely my pleasure. Enjoyed the blog.
    Blessings, Jeannie Walker

  25. Yes, your conception is really very handful to me. As a college student I like very much your writing and information. That helps me a lot to build-up more in a right way college student life.

  26. I have used this book in teaching! I completely agree with the author, this is the best book for grammar studying ever! thanks for reminding!

  27. However, for now, my goal is to take my writing/grammar course from the junior colleges into corporations.

  28. Grammar training is really very tedious and boring, but this book will make it easy and very clear to read everything.

  29. If this book is really short and written in a non-dry scientific language, then you should pay attention to it.