By Allen Pierleoni
One way we're perceived is by how we speak and write. So says Mignon Fogarty, a.k.a. Grammar Girl, whose books, website and podcasts are all about advising us on how to communicate in the most effective ways.
Fogarty is a former magazine writer with a degree in English, and lives in Reno. On the subject of email, she told Publishers Weekly magazine, "Writing a high-quality email message doesn't take much more time than writing a careless message - it just takes more focus."
With more ways than ever to interface with each other - text messaging comes to mind - correct grammar is increasingly important. Just ask any teacher or parent. Helping things along will be National Grammar Day on Friday, March 4, which will put the spotlight on making the right word choices.
But grammar is hard stuff, right? Not the way Grammar Girl presents it. "The easiest way to improve (your grammar and writing) is to do a little bit every day. Short rules make up the bulk of what people need to know," she explains on her website, www.quickanddirtytips.com.
There, we found the answers to those nagging grammar questions: Who versus whom? Lay versus lie? What about ending a sentence with a preposition? We also found helpful links to experts on subjects such as money, career, lifestyle, health and pets.
Fogarty's books are "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips For Better Writing" (Holt, $14, 240 pages) and "The Grammar Devotional" (Holt, $15, 240 pages). Coming in July will be "Grammar Girl's 101 Misused Words You'll Never Confuse Again" (St. Martin's Griffin, $5.99, 144 pages) and "Grammar Girl's 101 Words Every High School Graduate Needs to Know" (St. Martin's Griffin, $5.99, 128 pages).
For more on Fogarty, visit the website set up by her publisher: www.us.macmillan.com/author/mignonfogarty.
One last thing: What's the grammar-related question Grammar Girl hears most often? That would be: "What's the difference between the words 'affect' and 'effect'?" If you don't know, consider signing up for a lesson.
Call The Bee's Allen Pierleoni at (916) 321-1128.
PHOTO CAPTION: "Grammar Girl" Mignon Fogarty knows her "P's" from her "Q's."