Modern Punctuation and Grammar: Tools Not Rules

I asked at Writing Forums why a writer might use a fragment, and the collective wisdom agreed on one answer; I already had four. Do you really think you know everything in my fragment chapter?

And it's even more of the same for repetition, disfluency, emphasis, pausing, exclamations, and a variety of miscellaneous techniques for making your writing come alive.

And that's just the first section. You cannot possibly know what I say about commas; I doubt you have seen anything like my list of ways of writing conjunctions.

What I'm trying to say is that this book has a lot of punctuation and grammar information that you can't find anywhere else. I wouldn't have bothered writing it if I knew it was somewhere else.

You can read it in the preview and see if it useful.

And the attitude! Punctuation and Grammar are tools. You as craftsman should know what your tools accomplish and you should be able to use all of them well.

Punctuation and grammr should best fit your intended meaning.

Section 1: Effects

Chapter 2 is about pauses (dashes, elipses, other ways). Chapter 3 isitalics and all-caps, then the next two chapters are about deliberate usage of repetition and disfluency. There is a chapter on exclamations, then a final chapter on miscellaneous effects.

Section 2: Words

All of the problems of using adverbs, and why you nonetheless sometimes use them. All the problems with passives and also when they are useful. If you never thought about and, you will be surprised how complicated it is, and I discuss the other conjunctions. Finally I have that discussion about the different ways of conststructing lists.


Sentence length, paragraphing, and a very long discussion on combining two clauses. Boring, but these are constant choices. Then a chapter on the different ways of adding information (parentheses, the double comma, and the double dash.


This section is nothing like whatever you expect. Commas are mysterious yet understandable, and those little beggars are at the center of many writing problems.

Grand Finale

The first chapter focuses moreso on the grammar of action scenes, but you can read a disorganized discussion of the grammar of sex scenes here. And a disorganized discussion of the awesome moment here. Or you can read an organized discussion in my book.