Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Grammar for a Full Life: How the Ways We Shape a Sentence Can Limit or Enlarge Us by Lawrence Weinstein - BOOK REVIEW


Grammar books range in style and I’m a fan of all of them. They can be straightforward handbooks on the rules of grammar like the classic The Elements of Style, or classified as grammar books but focus on punctuation like the funny Eats, Shoots & Leaves. Books about language usage often get lumped in with grammar books. My favorite of these is The King’s English by Kingsley Amis.

But Grammar for a Full Life is not like any grammar book I’ve ever read. It’s a self-help book that seeks to make you a better person as much as a better writer. Lawrence Weinstein explores big issues like agency, belonging, freedom, and mindfulness, all viewed through the lens of grammar.

Weinstein breaks the major topics into several subchapters, each reading like the musings of the college professor he is. His chapter on empathy in the context of correcting other people’s grammar is particularly good. Throughout, he offers many examples to illustrate his points but few hard and fast rules.

He looks at how grammar choices may reflect personality traits and distinct ways of understanding and dealing with life. More important, Weinstein considers how, by intentionally making certain choices about grammar, we can foster our well-being. For example, he writes convincingly that a combination of active and passive voice unleashes creativity in a way that using only active voice does not.

Grammar for a Full Life caught my eye because I like any grammar book. It captured my heart because of its unique charm.


Listen to an interview with Larry Weinstein on the Clark and Miller podcast, here.

Read a review of Grammar for a Full Life on Do Yoga for Beginners, here.

Visit to learn more about this wonderful book and its author.

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