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Things That Make Us (Sic): The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar Takes on Madison Avenue, Hollywood, the White House, and the World Hardcover – October 14, 2008


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Things That Make Us (Sic): The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar Takes on Madison Avenue, Hollywood, the White House, and the World + I Judge You When You Use Poor Grammar: A Collection of Egregious Errors, Disconcerting Bloopers, and Other Linguistic Slip-Ups
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (October 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312378084
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312378080
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #880,679 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Martha Brockenbrough is hilarious."--June Casagrande, author of Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies

"A smart, up-to-the-minute take on the world of words that's funny and
sometimes even bawdy."-- Bill Walsh, author of Lapsing Into a Comma and The Elephants of Style"

"From her founding of the hilariously named SPOGG (Society for the Protection of Good Grammar) to her diligently penned correction letters, Martha Brockenbrough delights grammar mavens while inducing giggles. She's a tidal wave of grammar fun."--Mignon Fogarty, author of Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing

"Grammar mavens should rejoice at the appearance of this collection of nifty facts about language. I read it straight through in one sitting!"--Grant Barrett, co-host of KPBS Radio's "A Way With Words" and author of The Official Dictionary of Unofficial English

"Do you ever feel badly or get nauseous? Things That Make Us [Sic] will cure you of those maladies and make you feel properly bad and nauseated about sloppy grammar, usage, and punctuation. It will also give you a generous dose of that best medicine: laughter. With winsome humor and humility, Martha Brockenbrough shows us how to choose language that is clear, precise, and unaffected. She also reminds us, inter alia, that 'irregardless is an irregular word, just as underwear is an irregular hat.'"
-- Charles Harrington Elster, author of Verbal Advantage and What in the Word?

"'Grammar' and 'glamour' have the same derivation: an old Scottish word meaning 'sorcery.' So, good grammar is not merely a glamorous antidote to creeping meatballism, it has the power of the black arts behind it. Martha Brockenbrough is hip to these secrets."-- Tom Robbins, author of Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Villa Incongnito, and Skinny Legs and All

About the Author

Martha Brockenbrough is the founder of SPOGG, the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar, as well as a writer for Encarta.com and the former editor-in-chief of MSN.com. She is the author of It Could Happen to You and lives in Seattle with her family.


More About the Author

Martha Brockenbrough is the author of five books:
- The Dinosaur Tooth Fairy, July 2013, Arthur A. Levine Books
- Finding Bigfoot: Everything You Need to Know, August 2013, (Feiwel and Friends)
- Devine Intervention, a young adult novel about the world's most inept guardian angel and the girl he accidentally kills. Arthur A. Levine is publishing this book on June 1, 2012.
- Things That Make Us [Sic], published in 2008 by St. Martin's Press
- It Could Happen to You, published in 2002 by Andrews McMeel Universal

She writes about pop culture, parenting, and other topics for MSN.com, Women's Health, Parenting, and other publications. Corporate clients include Cozi, Cranium, Hasbro, and Digital Kitchen.

She teaches a course in writing children's literature at the University of Washington (the spring section).

She founded both National Grammar Day and SPOGG, the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar. National Grammar Day is every March 4. Mark your calendars!

Martha is on the national blog team for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

She has worked as a newspaper reporter, a high school teacher, and as editor of MSN.com.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
5 star
17
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See all 25 customer reviews
You may even improve your writing as you enjoy a fun book.
T. Richmond
Martha's Brockenbrough's "Things that Make us [sic]" is without question the funniest, hippest book on grammar you'll ever read.
Writing Demon
The author is the founder of TSPOGG (The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar - and PLEASE don't misspell that last word).
lmj

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By David M. Giltinan on November 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Like a one-woman vigilante, Martha Brockenbrough* exposes assorted crimes against the English language and offers crisp, witty advice on spelling, grammar, and usage to the offenders. Her favored tactic is the open letter, wherein she points out the mistakes in (gently) mocking fashion, then goes on to suggest remedies. All with infinitely greater wit than Lynne Truss, in this reviewer's opinion.

Her point of view is stated with admirable clarity on page 3:

"It is time for those of us who love and respect our language to take it back. Clear, grammatical communication is society's foundation. It is what helps us understand and be understood. If we let that bedrock crumble from neglect, or if we actively chip away at it in a misguided fit of anti-intellectualism, then we run the risk of watching the world around us collapse."

Ms Brockenbrough covers familiar terrain, efficiently and entertainingly, in ten chapters (250 pages):

Grammar for spammers and pop stars.
Vizzinis, Evil Twins, and Vampires.
You Put a Spell on Me.
Vulgar Latin and Latin Lovers.
$%&*#$ Punctuation
No, You Can't Has Cheezburger? The Parts of Speech and How Sentences Form.
Things that Make Us Tense.
Cliches - why Shakespeare is a Pox Upon Us.
The Enemy Within - Flab, Jargon, and the People in your Office.
Rules that Never Were, are no More, and Should be Broken.

Whether taking David Hasselhoff to task for describing his life story as 'heart-rendering' or enumerating all 21 errors in Congressman Mark Foley's now-infamous erotic text message to a congressional page ("the word is not spelled 'buldge'; 'one-eyed snake' needs a hyphen; 'hand job' has only one a"), Martha Brockenbrough is never less than entertaining.
Read more ›
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Book CraZ on October 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Most grammar reference books are dry and serious, but THINGS THAT MAKE US [sic] is both instructional and entertaining. It's a quick read and a handy reference. I recommend it to anyone who writes for a living, and to folks like me who just like good grammar.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By D. Jones on August 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an awesome way to look at grammar! I wish I had this book in high school or even jr. high. Grammar was tough - because it was so bloody boring. This book is a handy reference that I keep on my desk now. As a professional reviewer, I wish I could send it out to all the authors whose work I have to wade through. I would recommend this book to anyone; though especially the high school or jr. high student in your life that hates (and struggles through) grammar. It's never too early or too late to find a love for good grammar.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl Norman on October 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I'm a writer by profession and a grammar instructor, too. I urge all writers to keep a copy of this book at their desks. Not only is it humorous and concise, it's well organized for a grammar reference. I don't know the author personally, but I follow her SPOGG blog. Her grammar tips are worth bookmarking, too. ([...])
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Kent on October 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Martha Brockenbrough has produced a book that marries grammar with humor in a most delightful way. She addresses common language stumbling stones such as evil twins, cliches, jargon, and flab and offers all the spelling tips, hints, and rules that are fit to print. It is hugely entertaining, with letters to high-profile language abusers, including David Hasselhoff, George W. Bush, and Canada's Maple Leafs [sic], as well as a letter to -- and a reply from -- Her Majesty, the Queen of England.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By lmj on July 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
A funny yet enlightening book which deftly explains some of the confusing words, phrases, and punctuation dilemmas of the English language. The author is the founder of TSPOGG (The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar - and PLEASE don't misspell that last word). Brockenbrough writes letters to people who offend her - grammatically speaking. She includes copies of her letters in the book. She even includes the response she received after writing to Queen Elizabeth II. Whether you know grammar or only know of Kelsey Grammer, this book is enjoyable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ryan J. Dejonghe TOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I like hamburgers and I now like grammar. I have always loved hamburgers, but not so much grammar. Hamburgers, at least good ones, are juicy and delicious. Grammar, was for me, dry and boring. Now that I'm older, my hips are wider and my writing, thin. So what is an overweight reader to do? Eat less burgers and consume more grammar. (Yeah, this is bad, but dinner is coming up and it's the best I've got.)

To get to the point, I've been on a quest to consume delicious books on grammar. Hold the pompous tomato and the dry lettuce, please. What I need is something meaty and flavorful: something that tastes good going in and sustains me after I've finished. Did `Things That Make Us [sic]' achieve that? Sort of.

Martha Brockenbrough, the author of [sic], gave me a lot of meat to chew and digest. I have no doubt that I'll be coming back to her book for a repeat course. And like most good meals, I found her company enjoyable--even laughing on several occasions. But for my taste buds, the bread was too much.

Each chapter offers funny examples of poor grammar construction, followed by a fictitious multi-page letter, addressed to the grammar offender. There was some humor in these letters, but again, too much bread for my liking. The follow-up writing of the chapter is where Brockenbrough showed her grammar kitchen prowess, cooking up the perfect blend of seasoning and meat.
In my opinion, you'd be better served at the Grammar Girl café (where I found the recommendation for [sic]), but for my fellow grammar aficionado, you'll still find plenty of satisfaction with this menu.

I'll give my dining experience four stars: great meat with some references to keep on the shelf, but a bit too much of that fluffy bread.
And now, if you'll excuse me, I've got dinner to make.
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