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In Grammar for the Soul Lawrence Weinstein shows that simple grammar such as syntax and punctuation can be utilized as tools for change and growth, just as yoga and the martial arts are used for self-improvement. He compares the realm of grammar to a kind of psycho-social gymnasium, where—instead of weights, a treadmill, mats, and a balance beam—one finds active verbs, passive verbs, periods, apostrophes, dashes, and a thousand other pieces of linguistic equipment, each of which, when properly deployed, can provide exercise for the spirit.
Weinstein offers scores of connections between grammar and well-being, some pronounced, others subtle. "Conceivably," he writes, "every attribute a person might desire—from decisiveness in an emergency, to trust and generosity and the ability to tolerate uncertainty—stands to benefit from changes in one’s verbal conduct.
With a nod to linguist Benjamin Lee Whorf, Weinstein demonstrates how language molds our thinking and how changing the language we use can change our lives. His prose is packed with witty anecdotes and clear examples, as well as with enlightening metaphors like this: "There are people who would just as soon colonize a foreign nation as they would ‘colon-ize’ a sentence. To them, that two-pointed mark is a double-barreled shotgun; they keep it locked away."
Audiences running the gamut—from writers, teachers, and students, to all those interested in improving their personal and professional lives—are sure to be both educated and entertained

Grammar for the Soul : Using language for Personal Change

  • Lawrence A. Weinstein
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