Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English Library Binding – Import, 1 June 2004
"Woe Is I" is great fun. (Susan Isaacs) "Woe Is I" is the best primer on English usage to come along since Strunk and White's "The Elements of Style," ("Atlanta Journal-Constitution")
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- Publisher : Perfection Learning (1 June 2004)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 0756949718
- ISBN-13 : 978-0756949716
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from other countries
The author ranges from grammar and usage concepts to exact details on words and punctuation. She mixes in some fun and cute examples, which I can understand would put off some people, whereas I found it part of the pleasure of the book because the author didn't go overboard.
I consider myself pretty solid on usage and grammar, and was happy to discover many topics confirmed my own thoughts and style, even when I didn't explicitly realize the rules she spelled out. It was good to learn exactly why some of those rules were true, and her flexibility on such items as split infinitives was refreshing.
She covered some areas I sometimes struggle with (e.g., "she dislikes my smoking", "who" vs. "whom", and "like" vs. "as") and identified relatively obscure examples I probably get wrong and now can try to do properly. Isn't that one of the reasons to read a grammar book, anyway?
Perhaps the only topic about which I disagreed was whether to use apostrophes in certain plurals, as in 1970s vs. 1970's, which she admits is no big deal and basically a coin toss anyway.
The chapter on e-mail best practices is good advice, even though it doesn't really fit with the book's emphasis on grammar.
This book is close in content to Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style". It covers the same grammatical concepts such as subject-verb agreement, pronoun use, punctuation, etc. The biggest difference is that Ms O'Conner uses humor to help maintain her reader's interest.
I wouldn't recommend buying both this and "The Elements of Style", unless you learn better through repetition. Of the two, I prefer O'Conner's not only because it is more fun to read, but because it also includes more examples of each topic. Also, O'Conner is a bit more open to modern usages.
If you prefer to learn from teachers who use humor to engage their students; choose this book. If you would rather your teachers get straight to the point; Strunk & White would probably suit you better. Personally, I enjoy both styles of teaching, and will keep both books near me while I try to learn to write well.