- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Riverhead Books; 3rd Revised & enlarged edition (July 27, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 157322331X
- ISBN-13: 978-1573223317
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 338 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Woe is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English, 3rd Edition 3rd Revised & enlarged Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Former New York Times Book Review editor and linguistic expert O'Conner (Words Fail Me, You Send Me) updates her bestselling guide to grammar, an invigorating and entertaining dissection of our ever-evolving language. In this third edition, O'Conner guides readers through conversational conundrums with aplomb, filling in not only the logic behind the appropriate choice for, say, possessives, but also explaining such oddities as the spelling of restaurateur (instead of a "restauranteur"), the proper pronunciation of prix fix ("pree feeks") and a slew of mnemonic devices to help amateur grammarians keep ifs, ands and buts in check. It's these small digressions that make the book so readable, even for those with a deep-seated hatred for grammatical do-goodery. O'Conner gleefully eviscerates poor sentence construction and dangling participles, soothes verb tension and debunks the frequently intimidating semicolon with finesse. Tempered with a heavy dose of wit (reaching its nadir in her chapter on clichés), O'Conner's lively treatise is as vital as a dictionary for those who wish to be taken seriously in speech, in print or on Facebook. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Possibly the most popular book on grammar ever published." —Writers.com
"Lighthearted and funny... It's like Strunk and White combined with S. J. Perelman—none of whom would have had the slightest objection." —The New York Times Book Review
"Extraordinary... I'm keeping this book by my keyboard." —The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Invigorating and entertaining... As vital as a dictionary for those who wish to be taken seriously in speech, in print, or on Facebook." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"A nifty guidebook to modern grammar that affectionately elbows the reader on every page." —San Francisco Chronicle
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Not only does O’Connor sometimes show her sense of humor and wit, but she is able to reach out to all readers with a simple, helpful, and easy-to-follow style. Instead of using unnecessary grammatical terms, she speaks to her entire audience in layman’s terms, breaking down some of the hard rules and providing helpful pointers to troubleshoot difficult concepts. I found her list about words written both as one word or two words as helpful and useful. (i.e., a while or awhile, all ready or already, every day or everyday).
O’Connor’s simple and direct style is not only impressive, but refreshing. In fact, much can be gleaned by all, even readers who may find standard English daunting at times. Overall, I found this book clear, concise, and easy to read and follow.
Enter "Woe is I," a first-rate grammar reference book (or read several pages at once). It provides just enough discussion and explanation for things to make sense, while omitting the tedious jargon-filled details that make your eyes cross. Other grammar books assume a level of knowledge of "grammar-speak" that I just don't possess. So if like me, you need your explanations served up in straight-forward English, this is the book for you. Bonus: as other reviews mention, her examples are amusing, making for engaging and entertaining reading as well.
What has been valuable to me (so far)? I'm well on my way to losing my apostrophe phobia, I'm beginning to look for excuses to use the "unloved" semicolon, and I have real hope that I may get my verb tenses right - consistently.
I bought the hard copy version (only because the third revision Kindle version was not offered at that time), but I now own - and use - both. Yes, it's that kind of book.
Anyone who is a proofreader, copy editor, writer or blogger could benefit from this quick read. Used as a reference it keeps you on top of changes that others might or might not know. I have it in my Kindle and breeze through it often to remind myself of great grammar usage. And Patricia O'Conner doesn't talk with a thick accent like my college grammar professor did--at times I could barely understand the words coming from his mouth, not the case with this handy reference guide.