Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen 1st Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 571 ratings
ISBN-13: 978-0393240184
ISBN-10: 0393240185
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Frequently bought together

  • Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen
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  • Greek to Me: Adventures of the Comma Queen
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  • Dreyer's English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

An Amazon Best Book of April 2015: Once upon a time, a couple or few decades ago, most American boys and girls in grade school were taught grammar and punctuation; we learned, for example, that “i” came before “e,” except after “c” (except sometimes, but never mind) and that the verb “to be” was “like an equal sign,” which meant that you used the nominative case (have I lost you yet?) on both sides of it. (“It is I,” in other words, is the correct, if dowdy, response to “Who’s there?”) Some of us were even taught to diagram sentences; some had parents who corrected us at the family dinner table. (I can still hear my father pressing the subjunctive upon me. “If I WERE,” he’d bellow, when I allowed as how there’d be later curfews if I “was” in charge.) Whether they retained the lessons or not, most people probably don't wax romantic about the grammar lessons or teachers of yore.

Which is why even those of you who don’t have the soul of a second-grade grammar teacher will love Between You and Me, the hilarious and delightful “memoir” by the longtime New Yorker copy editor, Mary Norris, who confides in the subtitle that she is a “comma queen.” (The above is not a full sentence, I know -- but I think I can get away with it by calling it "my style." Also, I put quotation marks around the word “memoir,” Mary – I know you’re wondering -- because I was trying to make the point that your book is an unusual take on the form, dealing as it does with thats and whiches as well as with your Ohio adolescence as a foot-checker at the local pool.) Who knew grammar could be so much fun -- that silly marks of punctuation could be so wickedly anthropomorphized (a question mark is like a lazy person), that dashes grow in families (there are big dashes and little dashes and they can all live peaceably within one sentence), that there was once a serious movement to solve the he-or-she problem with the catchall “heesh”? Clearly, Norris knows: her book is plenty smart, but it’s its (one’s a contraction, one’s a possessive) joyful, generous style that makes it so winning. This is a celebration of language that won’t make anyone feel dumb – but it’s also the perfect gift for the coworker you haven’t been able to tell that “between” is a preposition that never, ever, takes an object that includes the pronoun “I.” – Sara Nelson

Review

“Hilarious… [T]his book charmed my socks off.”
- Patricia O’Conner, New York Times Book Review

“Ms. Norris, who has a dirty laugh that evokes late nights and Scotch, is…like the worldly aunt who pulls you aside at Thanksgiving and whispers that it is all right to occasionally flout the rules.”
- Sarah Lyall, The New York Times

“[P]ure porn for word nerds.”
- Allan Fallow, Washington Post

“Mary Norris has an enthusiasm for the proper use of language that’s contagious. Her memoir is so engaging, in fact, that it’s easy to forget you’re learning things.”
- People

“Wonderfully confiding.”
- Miriam Krule, Slate

“[A] winningly tender, funny reckoning with labor and language.”
- Megan O'Grady, Vogue

“Very funny, lucid, and lively.”
- Julia Holmes, The New Republic

“Funny and endearing.”
- Joanna Connors, Cleveland Plain Dealer

“Laugh-out-loud funny and wise and compelling from beginning to end.”
- Steve Weinberg, Houston Chronicle

“Down-to-earth memoir interwoven with idiosyncratic, often funny ruminations on the nuts and bolts of language.”
- Linda Lowenthal, Boston Globe

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4.2 out of 5 stars
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571 customer ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on October 18, 2018
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Top international reviews

Hande Z
4.0 out of 5 stars Not always me
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 18, 2019
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Christopher Bryan
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun even when you don't agree
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 2, 2020
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C. Nicholls
5.0 out of 5 stars Such fun
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 3, 2017
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john Lawson
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 14, 2019
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HylaryK
5.0 out of 5 stars A Pedant's Dream - American style
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 6, 2015
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Caroline Heywood
5.0 out of 5 stars Written in an easy yet knowledgeable style
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 1, 2018
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 16, 2016
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 26, 2015
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great read.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 22, 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 23, 2016
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Stefano dL
5.0 out of 5 stars Regina della virgola
Reviewed in Italy on May 27, 2016
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A user
5.0 out of 5 stars A severe, but highly helpful and invigorating read
Reviewed in Germany on April 23, 2015
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Carine WF
4.0 out of 5 stars A goid read for grammar lovers and the others too because it's funny.
Reviewed in Canada on May 3, 2017
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True North
3.0 out of 5 stars Take it, leave it
Reviewed in Canada on July 15, 2017
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Ann M. Collett
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it
Reviewed in Canada on August 1, 2017
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