The English language is known to be confusing and challenging to navigate, no matter how long you’ve spoken it or how many English classes you’ve taken. From school papers to social media posts to news articles, grammatical errors are bound to happen. That’s why two childhood friends from Jackson, Mississippi, set out to make grammar make sense for people of all ages with their “portable secret weapon.”
J.T. Mitchell and Frances Milam created “Pocket Grammar: 24 Mistakes You’ll Never Make Again” in 2020 and have since been working avidly to get the pocket-sized book into the hands of those who already speak English or are actively learning to speak English.
“People have anxiety about grammar. ‘Pocket Grammar’ is here to help remove some of that anxiety because everyone makes mistakes,” Milam said.
Mitchell works in radio and has a strong résumé in writing and journalism. Milam is a professional copywriter who helps companies worldwide grow their brands. Like many innovative ideas and projects as of late, the two friends created “Pocket Grammar” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“J.T. visited me in L.A. with my brother right when COVID hit, so our plans to sightsee were quickly shut down,” Milam recounted. “I was currently connected with a publisher in Quebec, and we kept bouncing ideas around. When J.T. was in L.A., we started talking about this idea and creating a fun and helpful way for people to remember grammar rules. We then pitched it to the publisher, and it worked out.”
With visually based learning and vibrant, fun illustrations – all drawn by Milam – “Pocket Grammar” offers pro tips that will be remembered and fit right in your pocket!
“One of the goals of ‘Pocket Grammar’ is to get it in the hands of every student across the country and the world if they’re learning the English language,” Mitchell said. “Not only is it a goal to get ‘Pocket Grammar’ into more educational institutions but to communicate that this book is for everyone. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, you’ll need one of these books at some point, whether it’s in your backpack or briefcase, purse or pocket.”
Currently, “Pocket Grammar” is being utilized as a learning supplement at Madison-Ridgeland Academy, where some teachers have used it to teach one pairing a week, resulting in 24 weeks of lessons. The Mississippi-native authors have also worked with their publisher to prepare teaching demonstrations via video that can be used with the book.
“It’s essential for people to know that the examples we came up with in the book came from the best practices we were taught by our teachers when we were students. Teachers have one of the most important jobs, and it’s exciting to be part of this,” Mitchell shared.
As an additional nod to educators, with every donation of six dollars or more to the non-profit organization Every Town, a copy of “Pocket Grammar” will be sent to the donor’s person or school of choice. Donors can contact the authors through Instagram or Twitter.
“Pocket Grammar: 24 Mistakes You’ll Never Make Again” can be purchased through its website, or you can buy it from the authors in person at the 2023 Mississippi Book Festival on August 19. Look for J.T. Mitchell and Frances Milam and their book, “Pocket Grammar,” in the festival’s highly sought-after Author’s Alley.
“The English language is trying to sabotage us. Pocket Grammar is here to save the day, and it is for everyone.”