(reviewed in Winter 2010)
Reviewer: Yukie Takahashi
Grammar Girl is a Web site for ESL teachers/learners and the purpose of the website is to help them write better by providing knowledge of grammar which is complicated or controversial. Teachers can pick up some topics relevant to their writing class or helpful for their students such as “Lay versus lie”, “Who versus whom” and “Ending a sentence with a preposition”. This website is created, founded and managed by Mignon Fogarty, who is a magazine writer, technical writer and, entrepreneur. She has a B.A. in English from the University of Washington in Seattle, and an M.S. in biology from Stanford University. She is providing this Web site with the cooperation of Holtzbrinck Publishers Holding.
I recommend this website since all the writing tips are about common writing challenges and they are based on academic needs. For example, “affect versus effect” is always a problem for ESL learners because the difference between the two is not explained explicitly in their handy dictionary. The explanations are simple and funny, and they reflect recent uses and non-standard uses of grammar as well as prescriptive rules. These explanations account for a lot of strange commercial phrases such as “I’m lovin’ it”.
Although you can download the grammar tips as mp3 data and listen to them with i-Pod or other mp3 players, the helpfulness is questionable because it is more comprehensible when a user reads the explanations and sees the helpful cartoons than just listen to them, and because there is no need to take a roundabout by downloading and listening to them when you want to know about grammar rules.
What I think is inconvenient about Grammar Girl is that tips will be gone and not available after a while. Only recent tips are accessible so that the grammar books written by Fogarty sell well. At the end of all tips, there is a reference and a recommendation of her grammar books.
Subject Headings: ESL teachers, ESL students, grammar, commercial site