Can I please get some recommendations on the best sources on learning
proper American English grammar and sentence structure? I have some
college composition courses that are about to start and my punctuation
and sentences are very broken. For example, I need help with clauses,
compound/complex sentences, modifiers, etc. A book that sequentially
goes from the basics to the advanced would be ideal. I would really
like a book that has quite a bit of exercises and the complete set of
answers. I'm not really looking for a formal textbook because they
leave out a lot of the necessary answers on purpose. I searched on
Amazon, but there is so much to choose from that I don't know what to
pick. I'm a whiz at computers and math, but I'm a man of very few
words. Any help would be appreciated.
Another good book is the "Oxford English Grammar" manual.
For usage matters, as opposed to actual grammar, the classic is H.W.
Fowler's "Modern English Usage"--do NOT get Burchfield's so-called 3rd
Edition of Fowler (it is a horrid travesty); get a copy of the 2nd
Wilson Follett's "Modern American Usage" is, in my opinion, the best
American usage manual there is. There is a very recent (1998) revision
by another man (I forget his name), of which I would be suspicious--get
a "real" Follett.
Used copies of most or all of those books are no doubt available from
the usual suspects--Biblifind, ABE, etc. Only the Oxford might be on
the pricey side.