Grammar for a Full Life – An Unexpected View into #Language, #Mindfulness, and #Creativity


Why settle for a normal book on grammar when you could learn new things about it and become your own best self at the same time? If you’re looking for a traditional manual of rules, this much-acclaimed, groundbreaking book by a cofounder of Harvard University’s Writing Center may not be the one for you. Grammar is about much more than rules: it’s about choices, too–since a thought can always be expressed correctly in multiple ways.
In Grammar for a Full Life, author Lawrence Weinstein reveals how our grammatical choices either stifle or boost our…

  • sense of agency in life
  • creativity
  • depth of connection to others
  • and mindfulness.

Weinstein shows that certain tweaks to a person’s grammar can bring consequential changes in his or her fulfillment and well-being. In this wonderfully readable book, he describes some forty transformative moves that can be made with English punctuation and syntax. You’ll learn, for instance, why a greater use of active voice constructions builds assertive energy in us. You’ll discover how–paradoxically–cutting back on the “intensifiers” (exclamation marks and words like really, absolutely) heightens our awareness of the world.


From 1973 to 1983, Lawrence Weinstein taught writing at Harvard University, where he cofounded Harvard’s Writing Center. He then joined the English Department of Bentley University, where he became Director of Bentley’s Expository Writing Program. His books include Writing at the Threshold, a bestseller of the National Council of Teachers of English, and Money Changes Everything. Two of Weinstein’s full-length plays have received professional productions. One, The La Vidas’ Landlord, has been optioned for Broadway production. He welcomes comments on this book via email, at

My 5-Star Review

Grammar Geeks, you must read this book!
Why, you ask? I’m so glad you did.

Grammar by its very definition is the analysis and protocols for the structure of language.  It gives specific guidelines for how to use the key elements of language, such as the nouns, verbs, adjectives, and intensifiers we all love so much, but most books about grammar don’t usually go beyond the ‘how and into the ‘why’.  Why is it important to use active voice?  Why should intensifiers, such as exclamation points, be carefully utilized, but not overused?

I can honestly say I’ve never read a book about grammar that incorporates spirituality and mindfulness, the psychology behind the fear of death, and how we think about sex….until now.  Yes, you heard me correctly, Grammar for a Full Life reaches beyond the definition and soars into the possible and even the potentially improbable.  Well, if you’re devoutly one of the ‘old-guard’, that is.

The author writes:  “If you care about fostering a sense of community between us- a sense of shared presence- don’t just write to me. In your writing, be that person who you are in the flesh.”  I particularly love this, because when I’m writing, especially for my blog, I write the way I speak….or more accurately, the way I think.  Yes, I use a great deal of extraneous descriptors, prepositional phrases, multiple ellipses and parantheses; however, having read the above, I no longer spend inordinate amounts of time grappling with my verbosity.  Oh, to be sure, one should never strive to out-do Charles Dickens with word usage, but the fact that some of us take joy in writing compound-complex sentences that would make the literary mogul proud isn’t a terrible thing.

Ah, but I digress.  Lawrence’s opus on the usage, choices, and significance of all the parts of the language we use is an unexpected journey I thoroughly enjoyed.  As a lover of words, I have always felt that the words we use to form our language is very much a synergistic inception, but now I comprehend …or rather, can appreciate more fully….just how mystical and magical the words, phrases, commas, conjunctions, contractions, punctuation and syntax truly are.

If you want to learn how to diagram a sentence or learn the golden rules of grammar, borrow a text book from the library.  If, however, you already understand those basics and you’re ready to delve more deeply into the mysteries of word choice and our connection to each other and the universe, dare to open Grammar for a Full Life.  The journey it takes you on is nothing short of facilitatively propicious..

Listen to Prof. Weinstein discuss his book on :

There is not too much about personality and life that Weinstein doesn’t see benefitting from a wiser use of grammar.
In a chapter titled “Bonding,” even sex comes in for some grammatical attention. Even fear of death receives its own, almost lyrical chapter near book’s end.
The farther one gets into this remarkable book, the clearer it becomes that Weinstein’s wish–for both himself and us–is actualization of “the whole person,” through language.
No reader should be intimidated by Weinstein’s university credentials. As important a book as his is, it’s conversational throughout–and it’s packed with numerous compelling, clear examples. You will never think of commas or possessive pronouns in the same way again. Your regard for the conjunction “but” is likely to soar.
Praise for Grammar for a Full Life has been coming in from thought leaders of all kinds, ranging from well-known authors on language, such as Anne Fadiman, Lynne Truss, and Richard Lederer, to influential spiritual thinkers, like Rabbi Lawrence Kushner. Cornel West calls it “brilliant and original.” Pioneer in mind-body studies Joan Borysenko writes, “If you read just one book this year, let this be the one.” (For a sampling of endorsements, see Editorial Reviews, below.)
[PLEASE NOTE: Grammar for a Full Life is not a book intended for the person new to the English language. It assumes familiarity with many of the basics of English.]

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