Grammar Girl: Quick and Dirty Tips

Common Sense Media says

Witty podcasts and posts offer language tips and tricks.

Age(i)

2
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5
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8
9
10
11
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17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The accessible format stresses that grammar rules and learning can be fun.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

One post links to an item on another site that contains an illustration of men dressed as female strippers, but generally, the Grammar Girl content isn't inappropriate.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Ads are on the site homepage and other pages and can feature products for adults such as alcohol, credit cards, and cars. Posts also mention specific sponsors, and a bookstore section sells books by Grammar Girl and others.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Teens could see an ad for alcohol.

Privacy & safety

Teens don't need to register to post comments -- they just need to enter a first name and email -- so other users won't have access to their personal information.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this tip-based site features interesting, well-written posts and podcasts on punctuation, word choice, grammar, and style. Grammar Girl often examines in-depth topics but is never boring. The entries are written in a lighthearted tone, and the site addresses minute grammar conflicts along with more common, everyday usage questions. Teens may be more interested in the content than younger kids who are still learning the basics. But you don't need to be an English major to appreciate the site.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • speaking
  • writing clearly

Skills

Self-Direction

  • academic development
  • personal growth

Communication

  • conveying messages effectively
  • speaking

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

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.

Learning Approach

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

The active online community offers site comments and frequently updated Facebook and Twitter pages. Links to recommended grammar books and websites are also included.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • speaking
  • writing clearly

Skills

Self-Direction

  • academic development
  • personal growth

Communication

  • conveying messages effectively
  • speaking

Kids can learn general language tips and examine more challenging usage issues. Posts fall into four categories: punctuation, word choice, grammar, and style. Topics include direct and indirect objects, misplaced modifiers, comma use, verb tense, pronouns, and capitalization. Some answer questions like why the plural of die is dice. Other sections address word choice and speech writing. An active user base posts extra questions and answers, but there aren't many chances to test your knowledge. The podcasts and posts provide solid grammar information, but the site could benefit from interactive elements for a more personalized experience.

This Learning Rating review was written by Erin Brereton

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

Grammar Girl writer Mignon Fogarty, who holds degrees from the University of Washington and Stanford, provides writing and usage tips in podcasts and posts. The site covers general grammar questions and more nuanced topics, like why \"explain\" has an \"i\" in it but \"explanation\" doesn't. The posts are fun to read because they're conversational and creative. The author, for example, compares certain usage rules to \"a rebellious Mohawk haircut\" and calls uncommon figures of speech \"the paprika, cardamom, and saffron of language.\"

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Grammar Girl offers language and usage instruction through the Quick and Dirty Tips network of sites. (Other sections feature science info from Everyday Einstein, health tips from House Call Doctor, and parenting advice from Mighty Mommy.) Grammar Girl -- a.k.a. Mignon Fogarty, a former magazine and technical writer who is also Quick and Dirty Tips' founder -- offers writing and usage tips through blog posts, podcasts, and newsletters. Audio podcast files feature in-depth but accessible advice on grammatical issues like correctly using the adverb "only" in sentences; users can also opt to read written descriptions of questions sent to the site. Most posts also include helpful examples and citations.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what grammar concepts your kids find interesting. Are there other school subjects that they want to learn more about? Check out our School Performance Tips guide to see how technology can help your kids be academically successful.

  • Users can post comments about each post. What kind of things are OK to post if you are confused or disagree with another comment?

  • What comments might be hurtful to say when you're posting a response to something?

Website details

Genre:Educational
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free

This review of Grammar Girl: Quick and Dirty Tips was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written byWhales 8741 September 17, 2013
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

Grammar Girl : Quick and Dirty Tricks

Okay, let's be honest about this, kids don't exactly love learning. There are faster, easier, and more awesome things to do out there. That's why if you want to make us learn it has to be entertaining. At first, this looked fun enough, and educational which is good. I clicked on an article, and thought it was funny and easy to learn. I think the author has amazing writing skills. However, I don't exactly enjoy the layout of the website. For one, the ads. I don't usually have a problem with advertisements, but on this website I do. They make noise. There's this one ad that just has someone singing, and it's bugging me when I'm trying to read. Not only that, but the flashing and bright colors of the advertisements make me lose my focus from the article. I know advertising makes you a lot of money, but it's distracting. If you still want to make some money, then you can continue to advertise but have a mute button above an advertisement, and when you press it, it disappears. I've also seen some awkward commercials on there that disturb me, so please fix the ad issue. Other than that, the website is fun, educational, and has a bad layout.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much consumerism
Safety and privacy concerns
Educator and Parent Written byStoriestoLast June 4, 2013
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Great site for writers of any age!

As a writer, I use this site frequently. It is fairly easy to search for some of the trickiest grammar rules. For those rules, it covers most conditions and a conversational, easy style. Some of the formal grammar sites require rereading to interpret the rules.

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