Woe Is I

Woe Is I

The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English

Book - 2003
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Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, c2003
ISBN: 9781573222525
1573222526
Branch Call Number: 428.2 O'C
Characteristics: xvi, 240 p. ; 21 cm

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h
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.

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 Also, because I read the second edition that was originally published in 2003, the chapter on email is hysterically outdated.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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