Common Sense Review
Updated February 2013

Grammar Girl: Quick and Dirty Tips

Language mechanics explained with panache
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Common Sense Rating 3
  • The site also offers several grammar-related videos, ranging from approximately 4 to 14 minutes.
  • Users frequently discuss grammar rules covered on the site.
  • Posts can be sorted by type, or users can view a list of all tips.
  • The Quick and Dirty Tips site also features advice on pets, health, and other topics.
  • Some posts also contain visual elements.
Pros
Grammar rules are clearly explained and organized, and users have the option of listening to or reading content.
Cons
There's no official source of individual feedback; users discuss and answer grammar questions in blog comment sections.
Bottom Line
The nimble tone makes solid grammar info accessible, but the site could benefit from more interactive elements.
Erin Brereton
Common Sense Reviewer
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 3

Humor and pop-culture references keep the podcasts and posts lively. An active user base posts extra questions and answers, but the site could benefit from quizzes or other ways to test know-how.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

The lively, relaxed tone and concise information is key to users grasping grammar issues and learning practical tips and tricks. However, the only direct input comes from other users.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

The active online community offers site comments and frequently updated Facebook and Twitter pages. Links to recommended grammar books and websites are also included.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

In addition to serving as a refresher or an initial resource on some of the more nitty-gritty grammar questions, the site has an animated tone that may spark an interest in grammar among high school-age teens. Comments appear immediately, but the commenters seem to be a clean bunch; they're more interested in debating language use than using bad language. Posts are made about once a week, with plenty to keep you and your students coming back. You can also opt to receive regular updates via a podcast RSS feed or other methods, and the site offers links for sharing posts through social media.

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What's It Like?

Grammar Girl is part of the Quick and Dirty Tips network. Other sites feature, for example, advice and information on science, health, finance, career, and lifestyle from in-house experts with zany names like Everyday Einstein and Mighty Mommy. Grammar Girl is similarly a pseudonym for Mignon Fogarty, a former magazine and technical writer who's also the site's founder, and she offers writing and usage tips in blog posts, podcasts, and newsletters. 

Users can view posts by date or topic -- grammar, punctuation, word choice, style, or general tip -- or view all entries. Many include references to clarify where the information came from. 

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Is It Good For Learning?

The site has just enough interactive elements to engage students on a famously boring topic: grammar. Audio files and blog posts feature in-depth yet accessible advice on issues like how to correctly use the adverb only. Users also can read topics on, for instance, whether or not to start a sentence with however. Many posts include helpful, real-world examples and source citations. Posts are written in the first person and break down topics using subheads and humorous references. Some focus on traditional grammar rules. Others touch on more modern topics, like Apple's use of unusual words such as funnest in a recent ad campaign. 

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