I'm really struggling to write properly in English. I'm making a lot of mistakes. Thus, I'm looking for a book to enhance my skills. Unfortunately, everything I found so far explains in detail what is a noun, what is a verb, etc. (see for example this) . All I'm looking for is a quick guide that explains, for instance what is correct: both + singular or both + plural. Is there any book like this ?

I'm also looking for a class/book to help me write better, to better convey my ideas and write effectively. Do you have any recommendation ?

Thank you for your attention.


2 Answers 2


I strongly recommend Fowler's Modern English Usage. It is directed towards native speakers but would clearly be accessible to you, and is exactly the sort of book you seem to need.(I'm a native English speaker and I find it enormously helpful).

There is a fourth edition of Fowler's now available under the slightly changed title Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage (ISBN 9780199661350), but I am not familiar with it. The copy I have is the third edition (ISBN 0198602634) edited by Burchfield. A great many "purists" don't like the Burchfield edition because he is less prescriptive, and more accepting of language-change, than was H.W. Fowler, the editor of the first edition but that is also one of the things I particularly like about it. It is pretty clear when he deviates from the original Fowler prescriptions because he uses phrases such as "the esteemed first editor of this book was of the view that ..."

In addition to addressing the use and meaning of particular words (for example, there are entries for "every", "everybody", "everyone" that consider issues like plurality or singularity), there are also extensive entries on grammatical issues like split-infinitives, gerunds and prepositions. Even if it turned out that it was not exactly the book you needed, I have absolutely no doubt that it would enhance your command of English and your confidence in your ability.

Just in case there is any question about Burchfield having been competent to produce the third edition, it's worth noting that he was, for thirty years, the editor of the Oxford English Dictionary!


If you managed to write that question on your own, quickly and at one sitting, I would say you already have a proper command of English to learn and practice just by reading things that truly interest you and using occasionally a regular dictionary. I also make many mistakes in English, but I just read novels and articles of topics of my interest. I think that is way more enjoyable and equally useful, unless you are interested in grammar, linguistics and such, in which case you might find appealing to get your hands on a proper in-depth English grammar.

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