Woe Is I

Woe Is I

The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English

Book - 1996
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Baker & Taylor
A non-technical guide to English grammar and style reveals the underlying logic of the language with the help of examples organized according to specific problems

Book News
A lighthearted guide written for the grammatically challenged (that includes just about everyone) giving straight advice on the most common mistakes made by writers. O'Conner (copy editor, The New York Times Book Review considers pronouns, split infinitives, subject verb agreement, and cliches, handing over understandable, adult explanations devoid of jargon and dashed with humor e.g. "alright. No, alright is not all right it's all wrong." The volume has been selected as a Book-of-the-Month Alternate Selection. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Blackwell North Amer
Lovers of the language, unite! You have nothing to lose but your niggling worries if you're haunted by whiches, all tensed up, or baffled by whose and who's.
Woe Is I is a survival guide for people who want a clear, simple, elegant introduction to good usage. Charming, amusing, sensible, modern, this book is a gift of clarity and good humor.
Most of us don't know a gerund from a gerbil and don't care, but we like to speak and write as though we did. Grammar is mysterious to each of us in a different way. Some very smart people mess up pronouns, and there are brilliant souls who can't spell. Many people can't tell the difference between it's and its. Others go out of their way to avoid using quotation marks. Whatever your particular boo-boo, Woe Is I can help you fix it without hitting you over the head with a lot of technical jargon. No heavy lifting, no assembly required.

& Taylor

In a witty, non-technical guide to English grammar and style, a copy editor at The New York Times Book Review reveals the underlying logic of the language with help of hilarious examples organized according to specific problems. 35,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Putnam's, c1996
ISBN: 9780399141966
Characteristics: xii, 227 p. ; 22 cm


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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.

bkilfoy 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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