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Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English, Second Edition [Hardcover]

By Patricia T. O'Conner (Author)
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Item description for Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English, Second Edition by Patricia T. O'Conner...

The witty, bestselling grammar book that taught a nation better English is revised, updated, and e x p a n d e d for the new millennium, with fresh dos and don'ts in every chapter. Plus a word to the wired-a whole new chapter on language in the age of e-mail.

Unlike, say, Latin, English is a living language-and, like all living things, it grows, it changes, and it can be messy and confusing. And now Woe Is I has grown and changed too. Here's the latest and greatest on the basics and subtleties of the language from America's beloved grammar guru Patricia T. O'Conner. She's renovated her classic, using plain English to un-tangle the knottiest of problems, skipping the kind of jargon that tempted you to cut your high school English class. Run, don't walk, to your local bookstore.

Outline Review
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.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Riverhead Hardcover
Pages   256
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.35" Width: 5.46" Height: 0.9"
Weight:   0.81 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jul 31, 2003
Publisher   Riverhead Hardcover
Edition  Expanded  
ISBN  1573222526  
ISBN13  9781573222525  

Availability  0 units.

More About Patricia T. O'Conner

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Patricia T. O'Conner, a former editor at the New York Times Book Review, has written for many magazines and newspapers. She is the author of two other books on language and writing, Words Fail Me: What Everyone Who Writes Should Know About Writing and You Send Me: Getting It Right When You Write Online.

Patricia T. O'Conner currently resides in the state of Connecticut.

Patricia T. O'Conner has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Harvest Book

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Reference > General
2Books > Subjects > Reference > Words & Language > Grammar

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Reviews - What do customers think about Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English, Second Edition?

Best Grammar Book Ever  Oct 24, 2008
Where else can you find a grammar book that a 17 year old boy reads for fun? The style is engaging and fun, but the learning is real!
This book is awesome  Sep 23, 2008
This is my textbook for my college English Comp. course, and I am loving it. It's full of witty comments and jokes, but it is still very clear and informative. It's very easy to learn with this book, and I highly recommend it.
Solid book for beginning writers  Aug 30, 2008
Do you find yourself mixing up your it's and its? Do you know the difference between all ready and already? Do you ever blindly throw commas into sentences, hoping at least one will be correct?

Woe is I solves these grammar woes and more. Patricia O'Conner clears the jargon and mystery surrounding grammar. Using simple language, she reviews pronouns, numbers, possessives, verbs, punctuation, clichés, word usage, danglers, bygone rules, and e-mail etiquette. Her book is essentially a lengthy list of the dos and don'ts of grammar, covering the common mistakes almost everyone makes.

But that's also a negative of Woe is I. More experienced writers may tire of what seems blindingly obvious to them. O'Connor doesn't go over the technical details of grammar, such as the difference between gerunds and infinitives. People looking for a comprehensive grammar guide should perhaps look elsewhere. People looking for a light grammar guide are in the right spot.

I am a little dismayed, however, over one big mistake in the book. O'Conner repeatedly claims that apostrophes are used to form the plurals of years, abbreviations, and letters. The letters part is correct (as a way to distinguish between A's and the word As). But all the style guides (which set the standard in language usage) I've read state that letters are the only exception. Years and abbreviations need only an "s," not an apostrophe and an "s."

Other than that mistake, given the right audience, Woe is I is a good resource.
Woe, this is a great book!  Jun 5, 2008
PRO: A witty a book that makes learning about English grammar fun!

CONS: I wish it were longer!

CONCLUSION: In the world of SMSes, IMs, and emails, we have sacrificed grammar. As a writer, I appreciate good writing. The way you write tells a lot about you, so get this book and beef up on your grammar!
Conventional but fun - very accessible  Jun 3, 2008
Humorous, easy reading. The author falls on the slightly more conventional side of the grammatical fence (insisting, for example, that "their" is an incorrectly plural gender-neutral pronoun and should not be used as a singular) (I myself do not fall as conventionally and so found myself in disagreement upon several points--including this one). So far, I am reading it as I work out: I skim through the parts that are overly familiar (still written with humor so worth at least skimming), dwell on the points upon which I am less sure, and feel most pleased overall to have been reading it. An entertaining way to brush up on English grammar as we ought to have learned it in grade school. A most delicious "spoonful of sugar" for the "medicine" of grammatical review.

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