Woe Is I

Woe Is I

The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English

Book - 2009
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It's been called 'possibly the most popular book on grammar ever published.' Now the witty bestseller that took the nation by storm is back in a revised, expanded edition with new dos and don'ts from top to bottom.

In this new Woe Is I, Patricia T. O'Conner displays the same fresh, irreverent humor that has charmed hundreds of thousands of readers. There are new chapters on spelling and pronunciation, and updates throughout. But you'll find the same down-to-earth explanations in clear, plain English - the same sensible solutions to the grammar mysteries that bug even the best of us. O'Conner manages to unscramble the most complicated problems in simple, easyto- swallow language. So you won't encounter the kind of intimidating terminology that made you want to skip your high school English class. This funny, wise, and indispensable guide shows readers how to-

avoid the persistent grammatical errors that tie everyone - even presidents! - in knots
watch their tongues and learn to pronounce commonly mangled words
correctly use dozens of much-abused words and phrases Whatever your problem - intimidated by possessives? puzzled over pronouns? clueless about how to say 'banal'? - the updated Woe Is I provides witty, jargon-free answers to all your questions about the basics as well as the subtleties of grammar, style, and usage. No wonder The Atlanta Journal-Constitution called O'Conner's classic 'the best primer on English usage to come along since Strunk and White's The Elements of Style .'

Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2009.
Edition: Updated and expanded 3rd ed.
ISBN: 9781594488900
Characteristics: xx, 265 p. ; 21 cm.

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htliang
Jul 30, 2015

This reference guide covers common language rules. There is a lot of useful information in the book but I found it not as enjoyable to read as "Comma Sense: A Fundamental Guide to Punctuation" by Richard Lederer or "Grammar Girl's Ultimate Writing Guide for Students" by Mignon Fogarty. "Woe is I" seemed a little convoluted in sections - but perhaps that is the nature of grammar!

Some of the topics were enlightening. For example, in the unit on plurals, there is a short section ("The ics Files") that discusses words ending in ics - such as politics, mathematics, economics, statistics, etc. Are these singular or plural? Patricia O'Conner tells us that if an ics word is being used in a general way (such as a branch of study), then it is singular. If an ics word is being used in a particular way (such as someone's beliefs), then it is plural. This means you'd say, "I think politics stink," and "Politics is not an interesting course." Well, this I already knew just from years of reading, but it is good to actually know the rule in case I am ever confused.

k
klam4535
Dec 23, 2013

I will pick up this at the Bellevue location.

bwortman Oct 22, 2013

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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