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Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English (1996)
by Patricia T. O'Conner
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Good book on grammar etc. Took me forever to read even though it reads very easily. I just kept putting it off because of funner books to read. I recommend it. ( )
This book is unique. It addresses grammar issues even the most illustrious writers struggle with. It helps the writer become a better editor of their own work with insight and humor. This book delivers compassion to its readers, not judging them. Instead, it gives fun examples and infuses drollery into a subject that often deflates a writer. The book speaks directly to the heart of every writer, understanding what they are going through, and shows them how to fix the most infuriating and tricky issues of grammar.
A lighthearted approach to problematic issues with grammar and usage. This is a quick, fun read and should also be handy reference, with chapters on easily confused words, cliches to let die, and common grammar snafus.
Reread in 2023: A little bit dated now. Recent acceptance of the singular "they" has been a wonderful thing for writers and copyeditors! There is also some advice I don't agree with. But overall, a nice guide for fearful beginners, with many helpful tips.
I'm certainly not a grammarphobe (quite the contrary), but I *love* this book. Yes, dorky I know.... to love a book about grammar :)
I'm the type of English nerd who enjoys reading grammar guides for fun and the title of this one struck my fancy a couple years ago. However, this grammar guide wasn't quite as fun as the title implies. The author is a little too prescriptive in her tastes (rather than descriptive) and American-centric, which occasionally clashes with my eccentric Canadian spelling. Also, because I read the second edition that was originally published in 2003, the chapter on email is hysterically outdated. Not bad for a flip-through reference guide but if you're looking for a grammar equivalent to Eats, Shoots & Leaves keep on moving.
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Wikipedia in English (2)
A revised and updated edition of the iconic grammar guide for the 21st century. In this expanded and updated edition of Woe Is I, former editor at The New York Times Book Review Patricia T. O'Conner unties the knottiest grammar tangles with the same insight and humor that have charmed and enlightened readers of previous editions for years. With fresh insights into the rights, wrongs, and maybes of English grammar and usage, O'Conner offers in Woe Is I down-to-earth explanations and plain-English solutions to the language mysteries that bedevil all of us. "Books about English grammar and usage are... never content with the status quo," O'Conner writes. "That's because English is not a stay-put language. It's always changing--expanding here, shrinking there, trying on new things, casting off old ones... Time doesn't stand still and neither does language." In this fourth edition, O'Conner explains how the usage of an array of words has evolved. For example, the once-shunned "they," "them," and "their" for an unknown somebody is now acceptable. And the battle between "who" and "whom" has just about been won, O'Conner says (hint: It wasn't by "whom"). Then there's the use of "taller than me" in simple comparisons, instead of the ramrod-stiff "taller than I." "May" and "might," "use to" and "used to," abbreviations that use periods and those that don't, and the evolving definition of "unique" are all explained here by O'Conner. The result is an engaging, up-to-date and jargon-free guide to every reader's questions about grammar, style, and usage for the 21st century.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)428.2Language English Standard English usage (Prescriptive linguistics) Grammar - Prescriptive Approach
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