Sandy Anthony

Editor and writer

About Sandy Anthony

I began my career as an editor in the late 1980s with a job as Desk Editor with Macmillan Publishers in Hong Kong. It was quite an awakening. I thought I knew English, but it's one thing to know that a sentence is grammatically incorrect and quite another to be able to explain why to the author. I realised I was profoundly ignorant about grammar as a discipline, and thus began my long journey into the bowels of the beast.

I read every grammar book I could lay my hands on, but I soon discovered that I couldn't easily retain the information and, even if I could retain it, I often found it difficult to apply what I was learning to my work. There seemed to be a disconnect between how the books said the language should behave and how the language actually behaved in the real world. But I assumed it was my fault - I just wasn't clever enough to understand. I felt immensely stupid, but I nevertheless struggled doggedly on because I liked working in publishing and - though it was painful - I still loved working with the written word.

After leaving Hong Kong, I worked for six years as a freelance copy editor for major academic publishers in the UK - Cambridge University Press, Routledge, Macmillan, University College London Press and more. But even though I was a successful editor, I never felt fully confident and was constantly looking to my text books for reassurance.

It was only after I took a position as editor of a magazine and was asked to run some in-house workshops on grammar and writing for my colleagues, that I began to understand what was really going on. By trying to unravel the grammar rules sufficiently well to explain them to my students, I came to the realisation that a great deal of what the books had been telling me was either untrue or - at best - half true. So this was why I'd always struggled to understand! It was a revelation.

Once I'd abandoned the notion that the text books were unquestionably correct, I was free to challenge what they were telling me. Since then, I've subjected all the so-called 'rules' to critical analysis and dived into the realm of linguistics, where I found a lot of answers to my questions. I'm eternally grateful to linguists for shining a light on much of my confusion because - unlike grammarians, who describe the language as they think it should be - linguists try to describe the language as it is. With their aid, I've managed to pin-point the main stumbling blocks to understanding and then to correct the misdirections commonly found in so much teaching material.

It's been a long road of learning for me, but I'm thrilled to be able to share its fruits with you in an easy-to-follow and (I hope) engaging form that will take you from confused to confident in only a few short weeks. If I can help just one person overcome years of confusion and all the associated shame of not 'understanding' grammar, I'll feel satisfied.


Learn how to identify and easily correct grammatical errors and feel confident in your written communications and editing skills.


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