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Guide to Grammar & Writing

http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/

 

(reviewed in Winter 2011)

 

Reviewer: NaRi Kim

Recommendation: Highly Recommended 

Description

Guide to Grammar & Writing was created by Dr. Charles Darling in 1996. The purpose of the site is to create a space for students to access easily resources on academic writing, including grammar lessons. Dr. Darling taught writing, literature courses, and other business-related courses in the Capital Community College for 35 years. His brief resume is posted as a link on the Web site. It is now funded and maintained by the Capital Community College Foundation and donations they receive from the Web site.

Evaluation

I highly recommend Guide to Grammar and Writing to advanced language learners and ESL teachers. It is a user-friendly Web site with a table of contents to help users navigate its site by clicking on each topic.  In terms of content, the site provides key, pertinent lessons on grammar and academic essays with many helpful examples and quizzes. The site focuses on lessons that usually confuse language learners. It is an excellent guide to grammar and writing as noted in the title.

The site is well-organized with multiple systems to help users access easily the information they need. Resources are divided into main categories, and each category has a vertical scroll bar with a list of relevant topics. The site also has an index where users find definitions for grammatical terms as well as relevant lessons about them. A lesson on articles/determiners, for example, can be found under “Word & Sentence Level,” which is also listed in the index as “a, an, the” and “articles/determiners.” The first one provides a specific lesson on definite and indefinite articles while the latter goes over other determiners commonly used. In the same manner, users can learn about tense consistency or combining sentences under “Paragraph Level.” It also has a page to ask specific questions or read answers to “frequently asked questions.”

In addition to the site’s effective organization, lessons are written in a friendly tone and clear, focused manner with tables and pictures for visual learners. Each lesson on a specific topic is written in a friendly voice without using many technical terms. For instance, the site introduces articles, determiners, and quantifiers as “those little words that precede and modify nouns.” Although some grammatical wording is employed, it doesn’t sound technical because of the phrase, “those little words.” This kind of writing is prevalent throughout the site, more apparent in the posted answers to questions received – they are also fun to read.

Besides its friendly voice, the lesson is structured in the order of general information to specific information about each topic. Users could study the topic generally in the first part or choose to study the following parts for specific information. This approach enables users to read the parts they have difficulty learning or teaching.

The site’s organization and content make it evident that it is created to support advanced language learners in their academic endeavor. Also, it has links to pages about Dr. Charles Darling, who created and devoted his time for the site with his picture. Learning about Dr. Charles Darling’s credentials, years of experience, and personality also helps readers to see the purpose for the site and how that will drive what information is provided and how it will be presented. The Capital Community College writes that the site was “a labor of love for Charles” and a life-long project. Dr. Darling has passed away, but the college continues to fund it in his memory. 

Subject Headings: English grammar, college writing
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