This book contains essays by the writer; the writer did not specifically
write a book on writing skill. To make a book out of the insufficient
material, the writer has added a glossary of grammatical terms
used in the book.
The book does offer some good advice and
some analysis, but useful for one who knows fair bit of grammar and
possesses experience of writing. If you are already into writing,
you may find some guidelines helpful.
I liked the writer’s discussion about prepositions. She makes a fine
distinction between a preposition, verb particle and adverb, and
explains it simply and clearly. The same word could be termed
a preposition, adverb or verb particle according to its function
in a sentence, says Johnston.
Let us read Johnston’s fine description of a preposition, verb particle and adverb:
“A preposition typically appears immediately before— in pre-position to— a noun phrase. The preposition connects the noun phrase to another word in the sentence. In The fox leaped into the river, the preposition into connects the river back to leaped. The prepositional phrase into the river modifies the verb leaped. (Incidentally, some linguists no longer even count prepositions among English parts of speech. For grammar lovers, this news ranks up there with the deplanetization of Pluto.
A verb particle combines with a main verb, and sometimes with other particles, to create a multiple-word verb with an idiomatic meaning, a meaning different from that of the individual words. For example, in is a verb particle— not a preposition and not an adverb— in chip in (help). Out is a verb particle in hand out (distribute). Out and of are both verb particles in drop out of (quit). From is a verb particle in know from (understand, have a clue about).
Adverbs commonly tell when or where or how something happens. In The couple strolled outside, the adverb outside tells where the couple strolled. Here, outside is neither a preposition (it has no object) nor a verb particle (it contributes to no idiomatic meaning).”
Although the book is good, even its kindle edition costs quite a bit, especially for an Indian reader like me, who earns and pays in rupees.