"Why Should Anyone Be Tense About Tense?"

"Who climbs the Grammar tree distinctly knows
Where Noun and Verb and Participle grows." -John Dryden

I love fun grammar books.  For those of you who consider "fun grammar" to be an oxymoron, you might consider A Living Grammar by Winifred Watson and Julius Nolte.  Currently OOP, but a few copies still available at a reasonable price,  A Living Grammar is appropriate for all ages and is a delightful introduction and review of the eight parts of speech.

Originally published in 1938, my copy is a fifth revision (1969).  Way back on September 26, 1938, Time magazine wrote a complimentary review that is worth reading here. None other than Eleanor Roosevelt praised this book.  She said,

"I want to tell you of a little volume which your whole family may enjoy and find useful.  I was given a curious rather haphazard education.  My English grammar was sadly neglected.  My grandmother had a theory, I think, that you learn to talk by ear and that association with people who spoke English correctly was more important than learning out of a book.  Therefore, Living Grammar by Winifred Watson and Julius M. Nolte is a find for me and you may find it a pleasant companion...Reading this book is quite the most delightful method I have found of learning grammar or of reviving the grammar we once knew and have forgotten."

The simple drawings by Shizu Matsuda are pleasant, too.  What better way  to begin your study of grammar this school year!


  1. Nancy!!!! I have this book reprinted and spiral bound by Square Peg Products and have used it and loved it- especially the poem on parts of speech (which is not a way CM used poetry I know.) I would love to know that they were still printing this but haven't been able to find out. I am so excited that you found it. My adult children still ask to look at this book which I guard jealously!

  2. Laurie,
    This is so good to know! I think this book has staying power and I just love the fact that your grown children ask about it. I found a few used, spiral-bound editions ($11-$12) , but it doesn't seem to be in print anywhere.
    So good to see you here - it made my day!

  3. Nancy!!!
    I JUST found this beauty at an estate sale yesterday for $.25!!! It is a 1945 printing.
    I am new to CM and AO but as I was perusing through all the books, the title caught my attention. As I read through it, I couldn't contain the excitement I felt in finding this little treasure that I was unaware of previously!
    And, I couldn't believe that you posted about it the same day!!!
    Can't wait to enjoy it with my children.
    Oh, and I also picked up a pretty little 1947 A Child's Garden of Verses with illustrations by Tasha Tudor (so pretty) for $.50!

  4. Monie,
    SCORE for you - on two counts! We love Tasha Tudor, too. Our dog is even named Tasha in honor of her.

  5. I have not heard of this book. Just found it at ABE books but not for that cheap price of 25 cents.......25.oo. I thought that might not be too bad and I am not out at yard sales with my surgery. Anyways, thank you for your continuing
    wealth of books titles!

  6. Sounds lovely and fun. Thanks for the tips!

  7. This is an interesting book. I will look into trying to get my hands on a copy.

    I didn't know you had a blog until today. I look forward to reading more of your posts.