- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Riverhead Trade; Reprint edition (August 1, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1573226254
- ISBN-13: 978-1573226257
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (324 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #828,033 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English Reprint Edition
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Written by Patricia T. O'Conner, an editor at the New York Times Book Review, Woe Is I gives lighthearted, witty instruction on the subject most of us dreaded in school--grammar. Discussion is brief and concise, and much more engaging than the grammar books you may remember. With chapter titles such as "Woe is I: Therapy for Pronoun Anxiety," "Your Truly: The Possessive and the Possessed," "Verbal Abuse: Words on the Endangered List," "Comma Sutra; The Joy of Punctuation," and "Death Sentence: Do Cliches Deserve to Die?," O'Conner proves that even grammar can make for entertaining reading. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
This grammar book has a twist?it's fun. O'Connor, a copy editor and book reviewer for the New York Times and guest columnist for William Safire, gives readers a witty and humorous look at grammar and the oddities of the English language in a way that doesn't intimidate or bore the reader. Chapter headings offer such gems as "Plurals Before Swine," "Comma Sutra," and "The Compleat Dangler." And what makes this book such a pleasure to read are whoppers of sloppy usage such as "Born at the age of forty three, the baby was a great comfort to Mrs. Wooster" and cliches like "mass exodus. As opposed to an exodus of one? In most cases, exodus alone is enough." Highly recommended.?Lisa J. Cihlar, Winfield P.L., Ill.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
"Jargon: Language used by windbags and full of largely meaningless, pseudotechnical terms that are supposed to lend the speaker an aura of expertise."
"Woe Is I" is a practical, wonderful guide to grammar ("A system of rules for arranging words into sentences").
Those of us who end their reviews with the jargonized "I would recommend this product highly" should read it.
A summer's hike on the Palisades ended near the George Washington Bridge & from there, I stopped in at a restaurant to take cover from a fast-approaching storm that opened up just as I arrived.
A businessman was standing underneath the outdoor, leaky canopy, on a cell phone (also, inexplicably, not behind the wheel of a car). He was hearing that his son was having trouble in English class & needed help with his grammar.
It was pouring. Gusts were fierce. I waited until his phone call ended because someone had to tell this guy about "Woe Is I." He listened and lit up with enthusiasm about the idea as we ran up the stairs & out of the storm.
It's an unusual memory. Exposed to the wind & the rain, we were discussing the subject of grammar.
In New Jersey.
This subject during my high school days was so poorly taught, it's still synonymous in my mind with the despair of the Chicago Cubs fans, who, starting in 2017, will have to wait an additional 108 years before winning another baseball World Series.
If you had much the same dismal experience, read "Woe" & discover what it was that you should have been taught from Day One.
Besides, this time, there aren't any exams. How can you lose?
The presentation is also great. O'Conner keeps things from getting dull with her sense of humor.
What's more, the sample sentences in the book are almost worth the price by themselves. "A gradual crescendo in the percussion section reached a climax that woke the audience." "When he's not fighting crime, Bruce dresses like a normal adult."
These days, as our entire nation has forgotten the use of the apostrophe, everyone could use at least one grammar book on their shelves, and I can't think of a clearer and friendlier one than this.
Many of my students have learned English as a second language through a series of truly awful workbooks that quite clearly were not compiled by people who know anything about how our language really works. They spend weeks on punctuation whereas Patrica O'Conner makes it all so much easier and clearer. And more fun. Come on, what's better than a chapter titled "Comma Sutra"? My students gave me a Comma Sutra tee-shirt a few semesters ago.
It is also so much fun to read. O'Conner deals with all the stupid things that grammar books and many instructors drill into students. She begins sentences with "and." Wow! And "but." Oh no! How shameful.
She is a retired editor at The New York Times and quite clearly knows a lot more about how our language works than people who churn out these overburdensome grammar books.