Louis and Mr. Walters are back! Presented in the form of a Socratic dialogue like its predecessor, The Return of the Grammar Guru aims to both instruct and entertain its readers through give-and-take conversations between the Grammar Guru, a retired linguistics professor who runs a pub near the university campus, and Louis, an aspiring English teacher with an insatiable thirst for grammatical knowledge and beer. Through a series of weekly encounters with the Guru, Louis learns about:
- The difference between the infinitive and the gerund, as in He tried to be nice to his boss and He tried being nice to his boss.
- The use of the article in English, which can make the difference between He admired Picasso and He admired the Picasso.
- The difference between Didn’t you bring any beer? and Didn’t you bring some beer?
- The contrast between bare noun and genitive constructions, as in Someone stole our car tires and Someone stole our car’s tires.
- The use of the demonstratives in There was this guy walking down the street and There was that guy walking down the street.
- The effect of adverb position on meaning, as illustrated by the difference between She shared her experience generously and She generously shared her experience.
- The subtle difference between With no job Rob would be happy and With no job would Rob be happy.
Rather than overwhelm his listener with endless rules, the Guru makes grammar come to life by focusing on the meaning of the various grammatical forms. Also included in the book is a series of meaning-based exercises that allow readers to test their knowledge of the forms discussed in the book.