by Nancy Ragno

Writer’s Digest Books, $14.00, 216 pages

No longer is the simple misspelled word the monarch of errors in writing. After a couple decades of  being spell check-oholics, people have made the misused word the new champion of writing mistakes. Have you ever stared at a screen, wondering if you meant weather or whether, accept or except, every one or everyone? Not only does the book point out 76 of the most commonly confused word pairs, but has a way of training yourself not to make those mistakes again. Each pair has parts like famous quotes, standard definition, and quizzes to make yourself a stronger writer. There are also sections on misused words, 25 no-nos of speech and writing, and one how to spot these errors. There are nine chapters in all that deal with specific wrong word usage. There is even a chapter on buzzwords to place on resumes, which I found enlightening.

This book is an achievement for writers. It is true that spell check has been holding our hands in writing papers and e-mails for too long. Word Savvy’s main focus is to bring back proof-reading and find our inner editor. Like an addict, the first step is acceptance. I understand now that I have a problem with homonyms—those tricky words that sound the same but have different meanings. While using the book for the past couple of months, I’ve also noticed an improvement with my grammar. I think it works so well because Word Savvy honestly feels like it wants to help. Other books, dictionary or thesaurus, are cold and strictly informational. This book is warm and amusing. Nancy Ragno’s writing style is perfect for teaching.  English is one of the hardest languages to master, but this book is great start to understand it. I strongly recommend Word Savvy to anyone who owns a computer or anyone who wants to strengthen their ability to communicate.

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