Are you an aspiring writer? Then, check out our round-up of the best grammar books to help you on your next writing project.
If you want to become a better writer, a good grammar book can help. But unfortunately, although many grammar books are on the market, not all are created equal. So, how can you spend your money wisely and find the right book for grammar to meet your needs?
First, consider what you’re looking for. For example, do you want a practice book or a style guide you can occasionally reference? Or are you looking for a fun, witty overview of grammar? Again, you can find books for all needs if you know where to look.
To simplify your search, here’s a run-down of the top 15 books about grammar. You’ll find something that fits your writing goals, from academic to lighthearted and fun if you don’t have time to read a book, grammar software may be the better option for you.
- Best Grammar Books Ranked
- 1. The Elements of Style by Strunk And White
- 2. Eats Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss
- 3. Woe Is I by Patricia T. O’Conner
- 4. Several Short Sentences About Writing by Verlyn Klinkenborg
- 5. The Sense of Style by Steven Pinker
- 6. Write Right! by Jan Venolia
- 7. Practical English Usage by Michael Swan
- 8. An A-Z of English Grammar & Usage by Leech, Cruickshank, And Ivanic
- 9. Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips For Better Writing by Mignon Fogarty
- 10. The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation by Lester Kaufman and Jane Straus
- 11. The English Grammar Workbook for Adults: A Self-Study Guide to Improve Functional Writing by Michael DiGiacomo
- 12. Basic English Grammar For Dummies – US by Geraldine Woods
- 13. Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English by Prof Douglas Biber, Edward Finegan, Stig Johansson, Dr. Susan Conrad, and Geoffrey Leech
- 14. English Grammar: 100 Tragically Common Mistakes (and How to Correct Them) by Sean Williams
- 15. The English Tenses Practical Grammar Guide by Phil Williams
- Build Your English Grammar Library
- How I Chose the Best Grammar Books
- FAQs About the Best Grammar Books
- Further Reading
Best Grammar Books Ranked
1. The Elements of Style by Strunk And White
Often called the “Holy Grail” of grammar by college professors, The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White is an English writing style guide. This book on grammar takes the English language and breaks it down into rules of use, principles of composition, and matters of form.
Available on Amazon, it’s required reading for many college grammar classes or a needed reference for academic papers. This book benefits new writers and experts who want to master basic grammar rules.
It also explores commonly misused expressions and misspelled words in American English. In 2011, Time called this book one of the 100 best and most influential books written in English since 1923, so it is one of the best grammar books.
“The mind travels faster than the pen; consequently, writing becomes a question of learning to make occasional wing shots, bringing down the bird of thought as it flashes by. A writer is a gunner, sometimes waiting in the blind for something to come in, sometimes roaming the countryside hoping to scare something up.”Strunk And White
2. Eats Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss
There’s no denying that grammar books and grammar guides can be a bit dry. Even the most giant grammar nerd may struggle to get through one from cover to cover in a single sitting, but not so with this one.
Written by a former editor who understands grammar, Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss talks about all things punctuation. This English grammar book is quite witty and uses funny examples to explore what makes the humble comma, apostrophe, and semicolon crucial to good writing.
It looks at everything from signs in neighborhoods to historical mistakes in literature to discuss the importance of punctuation. It also has some fascinating history woven into the instruction. This grammar guide will tell you if you’ve ever wondered when the question mark or semicolon entered the scene.
“The rule is: the word ‘it’s’ (with apostrophe) stands for ‘it is’ or ‘it has’. If the word does not stand for ‘it is’ or ‘it has’ then what you require is ‘its’. This is extremely easy to grasp. Getting your itses mixed up is the greatest solecism in the world of punctuation. No matter that you have a PhD and have read all of Henry James twice. If you still persist in writing, ‘Good food at it’s best’, you deserve to be struck by lightning, hacked up on the spot and buried in an unmarked grave.”Lynne Truss
3. Woe Is I by Patricia T. O’Conner
Another former editor, Patricia T. O’Conner, gives us Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English, a national bestseller book. This one explores the grammar problems that plague even great writers. Since it’s written by an editor, who has seen these errors made time and time again, this book gives insight into the tools writers need to polish their craft. Woe Is I doesn’t just list grammar rules. Instead, it does so in a welcoming tone without judgment, then follows the rules with fun examples.
It strives to write in plain English, so anyone can comprehend what they need to become a better writer. This book also explains commonly confused words in the English language, like compliment and complement, and when they should and shouldn’t enter your writing.
“With grammar, it’s always something.”Patricia T. O’Conner
Several Short Sentences About Writing is an exciting look at the benefits of communicating by writing solid sentences. This grammar guide focuses on helping people write more creatively, starting with the sentence. Klinkenborg’s philosophy is that if a writer can write a full and complete sentence, then the writer can write strong paragraphs, chapters, and books.
Some readers find this book a little off-putting at first because it focuses on sentence construction entirely. However, the writer weaves these pieces together; the writing becomes stronger and more accurate. That’s the focus of this book. By teaching writers how to write strong, meaningful, and delightful sentences, Klinkenborg teaches them how to write well.
“Writing isn’t a conveyer belt bearing the reader to “the point” at the end of the piece, where the meaning will be revealed. Good writing is significant everywhere, Delightful everywhere.”Verlyn Klinkenborg
5. The Sense of Style by Steven Pinker
Can bad writing be fatal? Steven Pinker believes it can, and that’s a subject of discussion in his book The Sense of Style. According to Pinker, the wording of standard warning notices can cause fatal mistakes. By not warning directly about lethal dangers, household appliances can turn ordinary, everyday activities into deadly ones.
After making that point, Pinker discusses how manipulating the English language can trick readers. By teaching his readers about style and the structure of sentences, he tries to teach them how to avoid scams due to tricky writing. He also strives to help writers write more clearly and ethically using proper grammar and style. The book also explores the changes to modern writing due to texting and social media platforms.
“We can remind ourselves of the reasons to strive for good style: to enhance the spread of ideas, to exemplify attention to detail, and to add to the beauty of the world.”Steven Pinker
6. Write Right! by Jan Venolia
Write Right! by Jan Venolia explores why good grammar is essential. It’s through understanding why grammar is important that others can understand what we’re saying. This is the driving focus of this grammar guide.
This guide is less an entertaining read and more a well-organized guide for writing. It uses clear explanations and illustrations to help people understand the importance of the language rules it teaches. However, Venolia does throw some humor into the mix when possible.
As reference books go, what makes this book great is that Venolia updates it regularly. The rise of the Internet has caused rules to change quickly, and writers will appreciate that they can pick up the latest edition of this book to keep up with the changes.
“If you decide that semicolons are a pleasure rather than pretentious, here’s how to use them.”Jan Venolia
7. Practical English Usage by Michael Swan
Practical English Usage by Michael Swan addresses both English speaking and English written grammar. This book’s simple language makes it easy for even new writers to comprehend well.
One of the main focuses of this book is vocabulary. Unfortunately, vocabulary can be confusing since written and spoken vocabularies often don’t match. However, with the help of Swan and his guide, writers can get things straight.
In addition, this book covers idioms and common styles. It also addresses spelling issues and common mistakes that can plague the best writers. Practical English Usage is also heavy on examples. Examples help the reader comprehend what the author is teaching practically.
“Grammatical correctness, after all, has a powerful symbolic value: getting your language right implies that you can obey rules and respect authority.”Michael Swan
8. An A-Z of English Grammar & Usage by Leech, Cruickshank, And Ivanic
Written with teachers and students in mind, An A-Z of English Grammar & Usage is a reference guide to grammar. It uses a dictionary-like format to make it easy for the reader to find what they want. It’s known for being more accessible for English as a second language readers and writers to help guide their writing.
When students have a question, they can use this book to look it up. First, they look up the word or topic alphabetically to find the answer. His guide focuses on the words and phrases of the English language, not its rules. However, grammar rules are worked into its pages. In addition, it has many practical chapters on standard grammar and writing issues.
“Regard to, regards to: Several versions of this phrase are in common use, for example, with regard(s) to, in regard(s) of, in regard(s) with. The general consensus is that with regard to is the more accurate, but when possible, you should preferably use a simpler word such as concerning, about, regarding or in relation to.”Leech, Cruickshank, And Ivanic
9. Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips For Better Writing by Mignon Fogarty
Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing by Mignon Fogarty isn’t just for the ladies. This New York Times bestseller takes a lighthearted approach to the serious topic of grammar. In addition, the author often speaks on significant talk shows, dishing out grammar advice.
Grammar Girl Fogarty turned a weekly grammar podcast into an easy-to-read book. It is witty and fun but also informational. It also has fun ways to help readers remember tricky grammar guidelines. Grammar Girl may be fun, but it is also helpful. The style and tips will improve your writing and help you learn when it’s OK to break standard grammar rules.
“…passive voice is better than writing out a humongous number and taking the risk that your readers’ brains will be numb by the time they get to the verb.”Mignon Fogarty
10. The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation by Lester Kaufman and Jane Straus
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punction is one of the best books worldwide for teaching grammar and punctuation to learners. This bestseller is all you will ever need to level up your writing skills and equip yourself with the tools for writing success.
This guide to grammar is easy to understand and used to assist writing beginners, ESL students, homeschoolers, high school students, college students, and more. The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation includes quizzes, pre and post-tests, and up-to-date English grammar rules.
“This nook is logical, self-paced, and fun to use, with scores of interesting and challenging quizzes that you may photocopy to your heart’s content. Best of all, you can look forward to instant gratification because the answers to the quiz are included”Lester Kaufman and Jane Straus
11. The English Grammar Workbook for Adults: A Self-Study Guide to Improve Functional Writing by Michael DiGiacomo
The English Grammar Workbook can help you master the English language with ease. This workbook provides clear guidance for adults looking to learn the basics of English grammar. In addition, the workbook includes clear and concise language suitable for ESL and EFL students looking to upgrade their English writing skills.
One of the key selling points of this workbook is its ease of use; with a focus on fun tests and activities, you can find answers easily to pick up new skills quickly. No matter your English grammar level, this workbook will help you learn about essential elements, including nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, tenses, and more.
“A noun is a word that represents a person, place, or thing. Proper nouns, always capitalized, name a specific person or thing, like Maria or Paris Common nouns represent things in general, like, girl or city”Michael DiGiacomo
- DiGiacomo, Michael (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 208 Pages - 06/02/2020 (Publication Date) - Rockridge Press (Publisher)
12. Basic English Grammar For Dummies – US by Geraldine Woods
If you’re looking for a reliable and straightforward guide to grammar, Basic English Grammar For Dummies is the perfect textbook for you. This book is designed for easy learning, suitable for all levels of English learners.
The concept of this book is to teach you real-world applications for English grammar at a basic level anyone can understand. Inside, you’ll find quizzes, self-tests and answer sheets, and guidance on composing letters, emails, texts, and phone calls.
“Find out how to use grammar correctly in any situation, whether you’re writing in electronic media, making bulleted lists for presentation slides, or complete letters, reports, or school assignments.”Geraldine Woods
13. Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English by Prof Douglas Biber, Edward Finegan, Stig Johansson, Dr. Susan Conrad, and Geoffrey Leech
With over 350 tables and graphs, this comprehensive guide to English grammar provides solutions to the written and conversational English language for all situations. This book also draws comparisons between British and American English to learn all variations for multiple circumstances. In addition, this textbook covers basic grammar, simple and complex sentence structure, and lists conversation and fiction used for academic purposes.
“Standard English is not a single, uniform variety, and it is not always obvious whether a form should be considered standard or not.”Prof Douglas Biber, Edward Finegan, Stig Johansson, Dr. Susan Conrad, and Geoffrey Leech
14. English Grammar: 100 Tragically Common Mistakes (and How to Correct Them) by Sean Williams
English grammar can be tricky, and we often mix up words or make mistakes. This English grammar guide will discuss the most common mistakes and how to correct them, including incomplete sentences, possessive pronouns with gerunds, and dangling modifiers. You can conquer even the most tricky sentences by following this friendly guide to English grammar.
“Get – present tense – seems fairly straightforward: I get paid, I get restless, and I get there on time.”Sean Williams
15. The English Tenses Practical Grammar Guide by Phil Williams
Written by Phil Williams – writer and English teacher, this practical guide to English grammar covers all the rules and usage patterns of all 12 aspects of the English language. This book can be used as an accompaniment to core texts or as a standalone study guide for learners. Topics covered include simple, continuous, perfect continuous forms in the past, present, and future, as well as bare infinitives, participles, and time clauses.
“These twelve tenses can be used for many different purposes. Because of these different uses, they are often called aspects rather than tenses. For the sake of simplicity, this guide will discuss these different grammatical forms (aspects) as tenses”Phil Williams
Build Your English Grammar Library
Whether you’re looking for a reference guide or need an advanced English grammar guide, stocking your bookshelf with some of the best books on grammar will help you master the written language.
Remember, even the best writers need an occasional grammar check. With these guides (or the correct grammar checker), you can hone your craft and become an influential, persuasive writer.
If you need help with learning English grammar clauses, using a grammar checker like Grammarly is a good idea. It provides context behind errors mentioned in these grammar books! If you’d like to do that, claim our Grammarly coupon.
How I Chose the Best Grammar Books
My journey started on Goodreads, where I delved into top-rated grammar books and sifted through reader feedback. From I looked at bestseller lists to pinpoint which grammar guides were favorites among students, educators, and writers. I reached out to English writers and editors and linguistic enthusiasts for their personal recommendations. I was particularly interested in books that offered a diverse approach to grammar, catering to different learning styles.
I focused on books that had a lasting impact on learners, providing tools that were timeless and relevant. While the content and teaching methods were my primary focus, I couldn’t overlook sales figures; they provided a hint about grammar books that readers learned the most from. Armed with this information, I’ve crafted a list that represents the best in grammar resources.
FAQs About the Best Grammar Books
What Is The Best Book To Improve Your Grammar?
If you’re new to learning grammar, start with The Elements of Style by Strunk & White. Eats, Shoots, and Leaves by Lynne Truss is another good choice.
How Many English Grammar Books Should I Read?
We recommend reading at least 3 English grammar books to level up your grammar skills before beginning your next writing project. Take part in the included study material, English grammar workbooks, quizzes and answer keys, and self-study references to make the most of the content. This is the best way to learn the English language fundamentals, learn about the different tenses of modern English, and be able to write with perfect English grammar.
What’s The Best Advanced English Grammar Book?
These grammar guides all hold merit if you want to understand English in grammar use. In some way, they can all earn the title of the best books in grammar.
However, if you’re looking for an English grammar self-study guide for the advanced writer, you may want to add another to the list. Advanced English Grammar with Answers by Hewings is a single-volume book with grammar lessons and practice exercises to teach an advanced look at grammar.