Wednesday, March 26, 2014

English for Scammers by Dorothy Zemach and Chuck Sandy

If you've ever taken a look in your spam inbox, you would have seen many many claims that promise to make you rich. And if you actually open one, well, you'll regret it because the grammar (and sometimes the font) will give you a headache. While I never ever want to give my personal details to these scammers, I am quite often tempted to reply with an email correcting their grammar and writing style.

Thankfully, English for Scammers does that, which means I can happily ignore all the spam mails, content to know that if they wanted to, they could write nicely. This book teaches you the basics of writing a business letter, from format to tone and even basic things like grammar and punctuation. Keep in mind though, for the grammar and punctuation part, it's not a comprehensive chapter, but is good enough as an introduction. Each chapter ends with a series of exercises, most of which require you to correct the English in a poorly-written scam email. Answers are included at the back of the book.

To me, this book was amusing and fairly educational. For one thing, I didn't know that esophageal cancer was so prevalent in the scammer world. Plus, I haven't had a writing class since secondary school, so it was a good refresher on how to write a professional email. Most of the book uses American English, but the book does give the British English equivalents, which I appreciated.

Difficulty level-wise, this book is probably suited for the beginner or for someone looking for a quite refresher on how to write a professional email. Using these terribly written emails was actually a good idea, because it gives you a very clear sense of what not to write, and by correcting them, you learn how to write a proper email.

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

2 comments :

  1. Nice write-up! Being able to write creatively is something not all of us are capable of. Count yourself blessed because you have a talent. Getting into the mood in writing does not have a set of rules to follow. ‘To each his own’ is what people say; however, a list of suggestions wouldn’t hurt.mood in writing

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    1. Thanks for commenting, and for the link. It was interesting(:

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