Saving English

SKU 747 Category

Every preacher who has ever been confused by the relation between objective pronouns and subjective pronouns—that probably is all of them—should give themselves a personal course in English, its beauty and persuasive usefulness, by buying and memorizing this book.

Thomas J. Nettles
Senior Professor of Historical Theology,
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary



Saving English

by Philip A. Craig
©2023 Philip A. Craig
Printed in the United States of America
ISBN: 978-1-943539-49-9

Additional information

Weight .8 lbs
Dimensions 9 × 6 × .5 in



Chapter 1 | Why Saving English Is Critically Important

Chapter 2 | Parts of Speech

Chapter 3 | Sentence Construction, Sentence Patterns, Diction, and Concord

Chapter 4 | Discourse Markers and the Persuasive Argument

Reference Books for Further Study


About The Author


In college I became an English major because I enjoyed reading and analyzing texts and writing about them. My professor of composition said that my writing was well organized and clear, and that encouraged me to persevere in English. As a senior in college, I was pressed into service by a professor to help grade freshman compositions. I was appalled at what I had to examine and grade. Though purportedly a higher-than-average college in rank, the students it admitted that I graded were woefully poor in English grammar and composition. I was sometimes amazed that this or that student ever graduated from high school with such poor writing abilities. Upon graduation I worked for a decade with students and was again and again disappointed at the poor quality of their spoken and written English.

Years later, in teaching Introductory Biblical Greek to college graduates, I had to have them use an elementary English grammar book written for foreign language students learning Greek in an English-speaking environment. To learn Greek, they had to relearn (or learn for the first time) basic English grammar. All my students noted how helpful the English grammar pamphlet was for their learning English!

For a half century I have remained disappointed at how weak students’ command of English grammar, composition, and speech has become. And I am daily reminded how contemporary English is deteriorating both in written and spoken forms. Clear command of the language is necessary for stable communication and powerful persuasion.

Dr. Philip Craig has written what I believe to be a profoundly helpful primer on English usage and grammar which can be of immense help to communicators, whether they are authors or public speakers. To command the language of discourse is to control the narrative. Alarmingly the American usage of English is now terribly discordant and deteriorating before our eyes. You can have the most sublime ideas in the world (the gospel of Jesus Christ or representative democracy, for example) but if you cannot communicate them with clarity, their power and authority fade. Clear writing is foundational for clear thinking. And both clear thinking and clear writing are necessary for clear speaking. For a student or adult layman to read the New Testament or the Declaration of Independence with minimal understanding is a tragedy. To write or speak about these two examples with a poor foundation in English may be a wasted exercise. Our culture and the institutions that make up this culture need the remedy Dr. Craig’s Saving English provides.

Saving English is the book I wish that I had in college to properly learn English grammar and usage, and the book to give to my students in courses on spoken and written English communications. This book is an amazing help to students and those who teach them.

Steve Martin
Retired Dean of Students
IRBS Theological Seminary in Texas


We are living in a day and age where casual attire has become the norm and the donning of suits and ties is relegated to only the most formal of affairs. This may be fine when it comes to clothing—the Bible does not mandate a particular dress code. However, speech is another matter altogether. Grammar, diction, and punctuation play critical roles in the understanding of God’s Word. We ignore the rules of language at our peril.

In Saving English, Dr. Craig challenges the reader to master basic grammar. He has done an excellent job of presenting the problem—a diminished understanding of the English language leading to an impoverished ability to communicate—and the solution: a recovery of the basics of English syntax and grammar. It’s fine to say rules are made to be broken, but we’re on the cusp of losing the rules altogether.

Whether you are a teacher preparing your students to survive in the world or a pastor preaching week in and week out, Saving English is a must-read resource, a tool that will not only improve diction but, in so doing, improve communication and understanding.

I’ve taught at the middle-school, high-school, and seminary levels. The ability of the next generation to communicate clearly is, simply put, not on the rise. Dr. Craig’s comprehensive work is the medicine we need. It is a simple, easy-to-use guide to grammar. Whether for a classroom setting or simply as a tool for personal study, Saving English will equip the next generation to communicate clearly, concisely, and with purpose. The title of the book is not melodramatic—English needs saving, and this book needs to be read.

Aaron Menikoff
Sr. Pastor, Mount Vernon Baptist Church
Sandy Springs (Atlanta), Georgia


If you want your students to not only learn English grammar and become better writers, but to also look forward to the lessons and be entertained by them, then Saving English will not disappoint. Professor Craig has decades of English-teaching experience and a track record of turning mediocre students into stellar ones who win awards. He has written down his method, and now using Saving English in your class can do the same thing for your students. Professor Craig loves teaching English to high school, college, and graduate students, and it shows. He genuinely cares that students don’t just memorize concepts, but understand them and be able to use them in their writing. Textbooks can rarely be described as warm and personable to read, but this one is.

One of the best parts of the book is the astute, wonderful, fun, and sometimes whimsical teaching examples. Teachers and their students will enjoy them alike! The examples are often quotes from classic movies or books or from famous or historical figures. Obviously great care and knowledge of keeping a student’s interest were used in selecting them. Teachers will have fun explaining where the quote originated, and students will learn a little interesting bonus lesson to help them remember the concept. One of the best ways to learn and remember is to evoke an image or to tell a story, and Professor Craig alludes to many stories from history and otherwise in his important and delightful book.

Elizabeth Christian
Instructor of Advanced Legal Writing and Research
MacMillan Law Library, Emory University,
Atlanta, Georgia


Many thanks to Phil Craig for this primer on composition. It’s sad but true: very few of even the best graduate students, let alone the members of the general population, write well anymore. This is due in part to changes in the way we teach children, but is also due, of course, to the flourishing of media that disincentivize close attention to grammar, syntax, and style. Inasmuch as good writing enables and extends good thinking and speaking, the stakes here are high. Please read this book, Saving English, and help us save the English language and the cultures of the Anglophone universe as well.

Douglas A. Sweeney
Dean, Beeson Divinity School
Samford University


After reveling in the beauty and comprehensive expressiveness of the English language, Charles Spurgeon sealed the significance of his observation with the quip, “Sadly it is seldom spoken today.” Philip Craig is out to remedy that encroaching malady. Saving English deals with all the elements of English grammar in all the charming aspects of its uniformity, irregularity, and augmentation. He gives a sound as well as entertaining discussion of the subject. His use of illustrations for each kind of word and each grammatical structure provides another attractive feature.

Theological ideas, biblical interpretation, classical literature, and modern cultural references form the pool from which he draws examples of correct and incorrect grammar, poor and clear syntax, and cloudy and clear persuasive techniques. When explaining the notoriously difficult verbs lay and lie, he points to William Faulkner’s correct use of the past tense of lie in the title, As I Lay Dying; then the obvious conclusion: “which just goes to show that you need to learn good grammar to win the Nobel Prize in literature.”

Every preacher who has ever been confused by the relation between objective pronouns and subjective pronouns—that probably is all of them—should give themselves a personal course in English, its beauty and persuasive usefulness, by buying and memorizing this book.

Thomas J. Nettles
Senior Professor of Historical Theology,
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
and former Professor of Church History and Head of
Church History Department,
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

About the Author

Philip Craig studied English at Yale College (Directed Studies) and the University of Georgia, graduating from UGA with a B.A. in English summa cum laude and J.D. in Law. After making partner in an Atlanta law firm, he sensed God’s call to Christian ministry and studied at Regent College (M.Div.) and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Ph.D.) before becoming general editor of the Banner of Truth Trust in Edinburgh, Scotland.

When he returned home to educate his children, he discovered first hand a lost generation of students who knew little about writing, much less about writing well. A sense of urgency led to his teaching the fascinating details of English grammar and composition—first at an African American Christian high school, where his students showed dramatic improvement in reading comprehension and essay writing and then in university and seminary settings.

Saving English has been written in the hope of reaching and reclaiming the much broader audience of struggling or aspiring writers, one that today includes a wide swathe of students, teachers, pastors, and professors. Dr. Craig has also authored The Bond of Grace and Duty in the Soteriology of John Owen (Founders Press, 2020), described by J. I. Packer as a “thorough, painstaking and definitive piece of work” and “an extremely valuable resource for the renewing of God’s church in these days.”

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