Review by Erin Brereton, Common Sense Education | Updated February 2013

Grammar Girl: Quick and Dirty Tips

Language mechanics explained with panache

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Character & SEL

Subjects
  • English Language Arts
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
9-12
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (9 Reviews)
3

Take a look inside

6 images

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.

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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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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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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Overall 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.


Teacher Reviews

4
(See all 9 reviews) (9 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Paige S. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Falcon Creek Middle School
Aurora, CO
4
Grammar Girl is a witty way to get the down and dirty grammar tips our students need.

Grammar Girl has many unique topics that are relevant to students' lives. For example, Grammar Girl had an article about whether or not it was OK to use abbreviations and when they are appropriate. I like how Grammar Girl's topics are relevant to what students most commonly confuse or need help distinguishing. However, since the age range is 9th-12th grade, I did try and use it with younger students (middle school), and at times, I felt that it may be a little dry for some of the kids to fully be engaged. Besides the Grammar Girl audio and articles on the site, I did not see any other resources to further a class discussion or teaching of topic (but I could be overlooking something, too).

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